We come into this world with the need to survive and the need to be loved, and yet we are completely helpless to make either of these things happen for ourselves. We learn early on that some outside source has to fulfill these needs for us. And we learn to shape ourselves into beings that please that outside source. It is this learned behavior that becomes the source of possessiveness.
With the fifth yama, non-possessiveness, Patanjali is speaking to the demands we place on those we love. Whenever we need someone to satisfy our needs, we create suffering for that person as well as for ourselves. We are misplacing the responsibility for our wellbeing onto someone else. We spend our time clinging instead of living.
Week One. This week notice when you are attempting to possess someone. What does the attempt to possess feel like? What is the process? Do you notice any sense of dependency, ownership, demand, greed, expectation, neediness, or clinging on your end? What compels you to believe that the other person’s job is to make you happy?
Week Two. For this entire week, move through the relationships of each day without the need for anything to be different than it is. It might be helpful to repeat the thought, “Today, I don’t need anything or anyone to be a certain way.” What do you notice from this experiment?