The practicality of the first five start to come more apparent as the days move on. We feel honest, integrous, compassionate, and relieved. Adopting a set of moral and ethical guidelines for oneself is more liberating than binding because we are not creating constraints, rather defining our borders. There are rules and natural laws that operate within each and every system. Computer code, DNA, physics, linguistics, nutrition, etc...all have some sort of process of occurrence to exist. Nature Herself follows these laws and rules, from which we can see the success of all other creatures and things. When we begin to recognize and intuit the natural rhythms of life, we allow ourselves to open up to our natural state of being, less stressed and happy.
The first 5 of Patanjali's guidelines are called 'Yamas' and refer to how someone would act if they wanted to avoid creating any situations that would cause stress. They would be kind, honest, reserved, modest and noble.
The final 5 of Pantanjali's guidelines are more introspective. Turning the mind within and creating boundaries here, too, helps to reduce the creation of new stress within conflicting mental / emotional juxtapositions and helps to resolve embedded memories. They are as follows:
Similarly, we should focus on our body and mind. The physical space and environment should be clean. Cleanliness keep you organized, keeps potential hazards from happening. While we work to keep our personal space clean, we also think about our bodies and keeping them pure and clean. Cleanliness of the body reduces the chances of illness. Mentally, focus should remain on the task at hand. Extraneous thoughts and fantasies should be avoided so that the mind stays sharp and firm, not soft and dull.
2) Equanimity/ Even-mindedness: When someone needs help or to talk something out, they usually ask a friend or seek professional guidance. Why? We go outside of ourselves to get an unbiased opinion (we hope). Even-mindedness/ Equanimity is a mental stance we take to be as unbiased as we can to our perceptions. Sometimes this might seem difficult, especially if the situation is emotionally intense. For this, we practice simple mindfulness meditation. Twice a day, once in the morning, once in the evening, start by sitting comfortably a observing the breath and your breathing. Make no judgements, simply watch and wait. Set a timer for a few minutes and practice until you can feel calm. Then, increase the duration.
This exercise will allow you to remain mentally and emotionally removed from the external, giving you better judgement and a clearer sense of perception.
3) Devotion: Simple. Love what you do. Do what you love. Find something that interests you and see where it leads. When we are feeling passionate about something, we are more effective. If your heart isn't in it, your actions will more than likely lack and fall short of excellence.
4) Self-study/ Learning: Cultivating the desire to know "who am I" and thoroughly investigating the question leads to profound insight and discovery. We've all heard of Cause and Effect, or Karma. Who we think we are is really the result of many causes and effects over the course of our lives and into the past. Our families, friends and societies influence who we claim to be. Our interpretation of the past influences who we think we are. Knowing why do you things a certain way or have particular likes and dislikes open us up to seeing our own programming, allowing and affording us the ability to make changes that have positive impact.
5) Surrender: Quite possibly the hardest thing to do; Just let go. It doesn't help when we have almost instant communication globally now, or multitudes of external distractions. Let go....
A farmer can do all that he might to ripen and harvest his crops, however, there is a process to life that even he cannot change. So, he must perform his essential farm duties, have faith and wait things out. Likewise, when we practice releasing and surrendering, life is allowed to ripen around the situation. Slowly loosen any fear of losing control and allow life to work itself out.
2014 Vibrant Life. Quiet Mind.