A new month! Here’s a quick overview of the fourth yama … Brahmacharya.
“The fourth jewel, Brahmacharya, literally means “walking with God” and invites us into an awareness of the sacredness of all of life. This guideline is a call to leave greed and excess behind and walk in this world with wonder and awe, practicing nonexcess and attending to each moment as holy. It is like this low entrance for us, it reminds us to enter each day and each action with a sense of holiness rather than indulgence, so that our days may be lived in the wonder of sacredness rather than the misery of excess.”
I grew up eating two of most everything when I should have only eaten one. I grew up filling my bowl rather than getting a smaller one. I am still terrible about “inhaling” my food. It is rare that I savor the moment and the flavor. I want it in my belly as quickly as possible. I’ve missed out on a lot of sensations by not being attentive to the moment (and by smothering it in Heinz ketchup, ha!).
As we go through this month, we’ll learn that excess is not just a concept that focuses on our diet and how much we consume. Until next time, let yourself have some freedom to look at life through eyes of wonder and awe rather than indulgence.
Taming Our Indulgence (Part 1)
Mantra – How much do I need?
The number of sheds and storage units, the attractive plastic storage bins that fill rows in our stores, the statistics on American obesity, and the shortage of waste facilities for our trash are all neon signs that we are a people of excess. We seem far from grasping the concept of “enough.”
If we take food for instance, we gain energy and vitality from the food we are eating – up to a point. If we continue to eat past that point, there is a downward turn into lethargy. If we eat slowly enough and pay attention, we can find this point that sits perfectly on the line of “just right.” It is this moment of “just enough” that we need to recognize. Past this point, we begin our descent into excess. This is why our favorite food tastes amazing on bite number one but doesn’t not seem to taste the same as our body realizes it cannot contain any more. This same process is true of any activity that we are engaged in. The body reacts negatively to excess.
Why do we move past the place of enough into excess? A desire that could easily be fulfilled with a glass of water somehow, in our mind’s convoluted way, gets hooked up with memories and conditioning tied to emotional satisfaction or emotional disturbance. When a certain emotional attachment is placed with a simple body need, we can find ourselves in trouble. Without realizing it, we have acquired an addiction-like need for the repetition of the feelings associated with that thing.
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele