<strong>October Sage Theme of the Month</strong>
“Each and every act and thought is an outflow of energy. Some thoughts and actions offer beneficial dividends, while others simply drain our resources. In the name of continence, we are asked to be wise investors.” ~ Reverend Jaganath
In the Yoga Sutras, the principle of Brahmacharya is often translated as chastity or abstinence from sex. In a modern freethinking society, this comes across as puritanical and restrictive. The application of Brahmacharya in today’s context serves us better if we associate the principle with how we exert our energy.
Traditionally, sexual abstinence was observed during monkhood as a practice to transmute carnal lust to a higher spiritual frequency. This can only work if it organically evolves into celibacy versus suppressing sexual desires, which is unfortunately what does not happen in most religious institutions. We see chastity vows taken as obstinate dogma in the name of foundation and tradition; when spiritual authority figures have simply suppressed their urges instead of allowing these desires to organically transform into authentic virtue. There have been stories of common people feeling the call to the monastic order and vice versa, monks leaving their orders to experience marriage and children. If only we could get out of the mindset of “how should we act,” and allow for fluid transitions in life to affect us deeply, no matter how surprising they are.
The point of the human experience is exactly do just that… to experience. How we navigate through those experiences is often through playing with the polar extremes until we manage to settle in the middle. We see this when babies throw temper tantrums until they learn how to express themselves in more unruffled ways. We see this when teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol in an exploration of pain or pleasure. We see this is in adults who accumulate addictive behaviors, whether it’s gambling, the internet or sex, all in search of a sense of fulfillment.
Brahmacharya is about unrepressed moderation – a very fine balance indeed. It is not about the intellect dictating what we should or should not do. Instead, it is about tuning in to assess every situation in our lives and evaluate if our choices help or hinder our growth as human beings. Does eating loads of processed sugar or hormonally altered meat make you feel at your fullest? Eventually, through enough awareness and mindful practice of yoga and meditation, we inevitably start to wean off the things we once thought we could never live without.
For instance, I blindly accepted eating meat as a way of life since I was a child until I was 19. I thought I had no choice. All my life, it was my parents feeding me choices about what I should eat, wear, do, become, etc. But when I revaluated what was actually necessary for me to feel my best, I made choices that affected my overall wellbeing, and amplified my energy levels profoundly. I was exposed to the practices of yoga and meditation in college and I become aware to the fact that I was taking in substances that did not serve my highest well being. Of course, throughout the years, it has been a constant re-modulating of what was right for me at any given time. I tried vegan for a short stint, and settled on lacto-ovo vegetarian for a solid 8 years, then to turn pescatarian for another 4 years, and now I have organically arrived back to vegan.
I often get asked, why. Some of my choices were manufactured because I thought it would be best for me from an intellectual standpoint. But where I am now, is something that organically manifested. My body has started to reject certain things because it inhibits the flow of my energy. There is no right or wrong way for anyone, but if we all actually set time aside to evaluate why we feel so stressed or lethargic during the week, we would probably be less diseased and happier as a society.
So when we talk about leaking energy, we are referring to our life choices. By all means, experience life to the fullest, but through a lens of discernment. When we abuse anything in life, like drugs or food or people through promiscuous sexual relationships, we are bound to expend more energy than we are actually maintaining to exist as a complete, unified and joyful human being.
Reverend Jaganath of the Yoga Life Society says that “each and every act and thought is an outflow of energy. Some thoughts and actions offer beneficial dividends, while others simply drain our resources. In the name of continence, we are asked to be wise investors.” So, since the Autumn Solstice recently passed, it is the perfect time to reinvent ourselves. In the coming month, I challenge you to look into your life choices, and see where you may be possibly leaking your resources. Meditate on how to arrive at an integrated solution, and through experiencing with your experimentations, make honest decisions about how you need to grow in order to embody your full awesomeness.