Our theme this month is Bramacharya.
This is often a somewhat controversial Yama as the traditional definition of “celibacy or abstinence” is quite narrow and strict, and not well-aligned with our modern lives as “house-holders”(those of us who are not monks 😉
A more modern interpretation is often defined as “restricting or modifying ones’ sensory experiences” but that can sometimes feel a bit too broad and undefined. Do we monitor or do we restrict? And how?
At the its root, Bramacharya is a practice of consciously directing our mind, and our energy, away from our external dependencies and cravings (whether they be specifically physical, or not) and towards Brahma – “divine consciousness”, one-ness, that awareness and recognition of universal connection, or whatever specific terminology resonates best for you.
For us non-monks living in today’s modern world, thinking about Bramacharya as a more intentional and conscious management of our mental and energetic resources can actually start with a fairly tangible and accessible practice.
Where are we focusing our attention ? Are we able to focus at all?
How are we directing our internal awareness or mental energy in any given moment? Do our thoughts unconsciously drift towards worry and complaint? Can we gently guide them towards gratitude and acceptance?
In what ways are we tuning into, and caring for, our bodies physical needs? Are we ignoring our innate physical wisdom? Regularly succumbing to external cravings? Operating from a place of rewarding or punishing our body for how it looks or what it has “accomplished”? Or are we listening gently and providing care and nourishment?
Seen in this way the practice of Bramacharya can be as simple as: removing our headphones and taking in our surroundings as we walk down the street, turning off our phones when meeting with a friend rather than allowing our attention to be called away, choosing food that will really nourish us rather than unconsciously succumbing to cravings, and exploring and listening to the signals provided by our bodies in an asana class, rather than looking around the room. (to name just a few)
This month perhaps pick one area of you life where you want to experiment with being more intentional with your attention, and your energy. . .Let us know how it goes!