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Aparigraha
Page 2: The Many Faces of Greed

But if you can't afford the HDTV, the SUV or a financial advisor, don't think you're off the hook, either. Did you cut in front of somebody else while driving today? Did you bring more than ten items to the Express Check Out line? While you were talking with someone, did you dominate the conversation? How many times did you interrupt him or her? Did you even listen to the other person, or were you just waiting for your turn to speak? If you shared a bag of French fries with a friend, did you take more than your fair share? Did you think about taking more than your fair share? Greediness begins in the mind. Maybe you can't afford to have nice things, but you're jealous of those who can - envy has its origins in greed. And greed has its origins in desire. And desire is what keeps you stuck in a self-involved mindset. It's a cramped, tiny prison that keeps you separate - not only from others, but from the higher aspects of your consciousness.

(Article continued below.)

The answer to the dilemma - the key to unlock the prison - is to simplify and let go. That doesn't mean you have to give everything up and live like an ascetic, although that's exactly what certain monks do. Jainism, a small branch of Hinduism, places such a high importance on Aparigraha that some of their monks are "sky clad," meaning they don't even own robes. That's right - they go about their meditation and duties completely naked. That's an extreme you don't even have to think about. But do look at the way you live and your behavior. Stop spending so much of your income on useless things. Don't waste so much food. Get rid of the clutter in your home. Instead of grasping for things, give - and this doesn't mean just donating to your favorite charity (although that's certainly a wonderful gesture). Give of your time and knowledge. When somebody talks to you, really listen. Be gracious. Let the other person through the door first. Small acts of Aparigraha can make life so much more pleasant. On a larger scale, Aparigraha reminds you that if you are rich, whether it be in material goods, wisdom or joy, you should let go of it, spread it around. Be happy for those who are more fortunate than you. You are surrounded by abundance. Without greed, there would be enough in the world to nourish every last person living. If Aparigraha were to be distilled into a bumper sticker, it might read: "Whoever gives away the most realizes that winning isn't the point."

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