Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tarot journey into yogic philosophy 5 - aparigraha

Aparigraha, the fifth and final yogic yama or restraint on behaviour, is generally translated as non-attachment or non-grasping.  This is actually a concept I've used in my yoga classes, so one I feel much more in touch with than some of the others.  However, I freely acknowledge that there are some aspects of it I find more problematic than others.

Once again, I have chosen a tarot card to represent the energy of this yogic concept.  The Four of Pentacles returns to the idea of demonstration by bad example. This card generally represents a miserly figure, closed off from emotion because of an attachment to material things. However, non-attachment is not limited to material possessions.  It is also relevant in emotional attachments to people, places, animals, things, and also to ideas.

Another thing to be aware of is that holding too tightly to what we want can actually cause its loss, and not just in the realm of relationships.  For example, the harder we try to hold a yoga pose, the more likely we are to become unbalanced.  This is the aspect that I've used in my classes, trying to bring philosophy to life, as well as to help some people with their physical practice.

Where I have difficulty with this precept is when it comes to non-attachment to particular people or things.  How can I not feel ripped apart if my son is in pain, or happy if my lover holds me close at night?  How can I not covet that beautiful new tarot deck that everyone is talking about with the amazing artwork and the deep, meaningful symbolism, nor want to attend that yoga class with the superb new teacher?

So, I looked to my beloved cards for some answers.  In asking what I need to know about non-attachment right now, the answer they gave me is XVIII - The Moon.  In this card of the Major Arcana we see a priestess calling down the energy of the moon.  In front of her are a wolf and an owl, as well as a salmon in the waters behind her.  The rock to her back depicts a primeval goddess figure.  Around her we see images of the moon waxing and waning.

The first message I take from this card is about the cycles in life.  At times it may be right to care deeply about something or someone.  However, I still have to acknowledge that this doesn't mean I can prevent change.  My lover may not love me tomorrow, and I cannot stop things from happening to my son.  While I currently adore the Gaian Tarot, from which this Moon card was drawn, in a while I will probably be working with a new favourite deck.  So, perhaps I don't have to try to grasp too strongly to the concept of non-attachment, as time will in any case loosen or change these bonds.

Related to this, I see the moon, the priestess and the goddess as recommending offering up my attachments, surrendering to the will of spirit.  I cannot perhaps force myself not to be attached, but I can ask the universe's help in being wiser about how I deal with such attachments.

Furthermore, the Moon is often interpreted as representing aspects of our unconscious (or our pre-reflective consciousness if you prefer existential terminology).  So another lesson here is that in trying to become more aware of what I cling to, I can also help myself become less dependent and allow greater freedom for myself and any others involved.  

Anyhow, enough about me.  I'd be interested to know, what are you attached to and what would you like to let go of?

Image of the Four of Pentacles is from the Radiant Rider Waite Tarot. The Moon is from the Gaian Tarot.

No comments:

Post a Comment