[M]ental modifications are restrained by practice and non-attachment.”

-Sutra 12

“Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experiences.”

-Sutra 2.7

“Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences.”

-Sutra 2.8

And this “[c]linging to bodily life, [and] flowing by it own potency (due to past experience), exists even in the wise.”

-Sutra 2.9

“The consciousness of self-mastery in one who is free from craving from objects seen or heard about is non-attachment.”

-Sutra 15

In Jamaican Patois there is a word for being a greedy, grasping, and overly “worldly” attached person with no sense of self-control and/or moderation (or what can be translated into American “Urban” slang as “a depraved-a$$ b#$^#”), and that word (mostly used as an adjective to describe a quality within a person at any given point, and often temporarily, although sometimes used to describe an aspect of a given person’s personality) is “cravin” (pronounced creay-vn).

American English (due to the far reach of British colonization from which the Patois word emerged and the emigration out of which American English evolved) has a similar sounding word (which is very much related) called “craving” (noun) which is defined as “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The Sanskrit word to which the word “craving” is often related when discussing Yoga is Vitrsnasya, which means “one who is free from craving,” and the word is generally used in connection to a state-of-being known as Vairagya, meaning “free from color,” or interpreted as non-attachment, which describes one of the qualities required for self-mastery/clear knowledge. Going back to how this would be translated into Jamaican Patois, the word Vairagya can, therefore, generally be interpreted as “not being (or possessing the quality of being) a greedy, grasping, and overly “worldly” attached person with no sense of self-control and/or moderation.”

But the American Merriam-Webster dictionary, and many other dictionaries, even while acknowledging that “craving” defines something “abnormal,” also unfortunately uses some fundamentally distinct words as synonyms for “craving” as well, which seems to only confuse many as they try to figure out what to pursue and not to pursue in life when discussing desires, non-attachment, and so forth when interpreting Sanskrit and discussing Yoga in general.

The American Merriam-Webster dictionary connotes that words such as hunger, thirst, desire, appetite, etc, also mean “craving,” which, obviously, based on the fact that these are different words with different subtle and nonidentical definitions (though sometimes related), are not the same.

None Of These Things Is Exactly Like The Other…But They Sometimes Reflect One Another

Hunger, for example is a natural physical experience that is best defined as “an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food,” which, if we look at those who are depressed or those who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa (for two separate examples), may or may not come with an “appetite,” and that “appetite” (which when related to hunger means “any of the instinctive desires necessary to keep up organic life”) may or may not be acted upon even though eating is a bodily need that comes with an “instinctive” natural “desire” or drive/impulse. In other words, you need to eat, even a little bit, to keep your body alive, but you may or may not want to eat (whether or not you desire to keep your body alive or not)…and hunger is not the same as craving…or appetite.

To make this point even clearer, it is common knowledge that people can overeat for reasons that are not based on biological necessity, for example, eating based on cultural/social recommendations or due to psychological/physiological abnormalities. This is why interoception is such a valuable perceptive skill to possess. Since your body will adjust to anything and it can be forced (or pressured culturally) into overeating for competition, or due to not wanting to waste food that one has an abundance of, or, if interoception is lost and a person then loses his sense of “fullness” that can lead to things like obesity, and so forth, humans are best served with being able to clearly distinguish their needs and how to meet these needs in order to avoid problems at any given time without misinterpreting Vairagya.

Again, desire and craving are not the same thing. And it is important that you know this because attachment and aversion are how you can remain trapped and conditioned in this world, shaping your thoughts, words, and actions (Karmas), based on what you are trying to get more of, or avoid, at any given point in your life.

You are manifested, for however long you live in this form, as a biological being, and your body-mind needs some things (in certain proportions) to stay healthy and well, and it does not need other things (in certain proportions, or at all, depending on the situation/context).

Natural instinctive desires help your body-mind stay alive, avoid danger, and to thrive, so that you can Self-Realize and live Liberated as your Self while embodied in this lifetime. Attachment that leads to craving things that are not needed, due to a disconnection with oneself/one Self (ie, lack of interoception or overriding interoception to meet cultural/social pressures/”norms,” for example) and avoiding things accordingly, leads to problems.

What Is Vairagya/Non-Attachment?

Non-attachment means “free from craving from objects seen or heard about” (Sutra 15), or, free from “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing” for objects (“people,” places, things, etc) seen or heard about. Or…again in Jamaican Patois, “not being (or possessing the quality of being) a greedy, grasping, and overly “worldly” attached person with no sense of self-control and/or moderation.”

How Do You Free Yourself With Non-Attachment? You “Simply” Just Be Your Self…

When you are resting in the eternal wholeness of who you are, not overidentifying with the body-mind-ego modifications as who you are (Sutra 4), you do not become lost in the illusions of Maya and overwhelmed by abnormal desires/cravings that only bind your body-mind-ego to suffering with lost and confused “others.” You do not suffer from body-mind-ego dysmorphia that has you chasing after and/or avoiding objects in the world beyond the natural instinctive intuition to maintain a healthy thriving expression/existence.

Tips For Moving Forward

Be mindful of what you are “feeding” in the world, and be careful not to overindulge in ignorance and/or depravity that only keeps you bound to suffering.

Keep your body-mind steady and non-attached (Sutras 2 and 12), remain centered in your Self, and you will be free to thrive intuitively and effortlessly by resting in your True Nature as incorruptible existence, consciousness, bliss in and of your Self, led forward by a “higher will” and not lured down into destruction and misery by ego/worldly overidentification.

Let your Ahamkara (sense of I) remain in your Atman, pure Spirit, at the minimum. Do not fall (or at least do not get stuck) in lower self-reduction/objectification for worldly pursuits. Your body-mind will experience life in the world, as it is designed to do; you do not need to chase after, or attract, or run away from, anything more than what is needed in order to bring experience, or life, to you. You do not need to live for the sake of your body-mind-ego which only binds you to illusions and suffering: doing so is just an expression of ignorance.

Since you exist only for the sake of your Spirit’s expression (Sutra 2.21) as existence, consciousness, bliss, simply be your Self, and take inspired natural action as is necessary as you move through the world.

Don’t be a cravin (Jamaican Patois) or a craven (another useful English word) “depraved-a$$ b#$^#” (American “Urban” slang) when your essence is divine. Maintain Vairagya.

Thank you for reading.

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