Let Go and Let Change
By Paramahamsa Niranjanananda Saraswati, from YOGA Magazine, January 2003. Visit www.yogamag.net for more articles by Swamiji.
A time for change comes in everyone’s life. It is human nature to hold on to what we have. We are subject to the three gunas, and tamas is the most predominant quality in our life. One attribute of tamas is holding on to what we feel satisfies our needs, emotions or desires, and not letting it go. In such a situation, we need to keep wisdom in mind and let go of the hang-ups.
Change comes about spontaneously and naturally, but if you become fearful and apprehensive of the change, if you doubt the change, then there will be resistance. Why should there be resistance to change? Logically, there is no reason. It is a case of mental conflict. On the one hand, you know you will benefit from the change, physically, psychologically or spiritually, and on the other hand, you do not want to let go of anything.
However, there comes a time when it is important to let go of the excess baggage. This is a natural law. Our body doesn’t retain excess waste, it always maintains its harmony, but we are unable to do the same with our mind. We accumulate and lock away everything, thinking it useful and beneficial, and there is no elimination of the excess from the mind.
When we are not used to removing things from inside, we become fearful of the change. When we go through a process of sadhana, we realize what is waste material and what is useful, and we begin to unclutter the mind. Eighty percent of things in the mind are useless. The anger, the ill will, the hatred and jealousy, the grief and dissatisfaction that you carry inside affects no one but you, because you are the one experiencing it. So there has to be a process of elimination.
Aparigraha, the yama meaning do not accumulate, indicates this process. Some people think it means living in poverty and not accumulating the things one enjoys. That can be a social outlook, but aparigraha is also a mental attitude. Do not accumulate the unnecessary stuff which has no relevance or meaning in your life. Release it through self-awareness, sadhana and reflection.