In the yoga sutras, there are 10 inner and outer observances known as the Yamas and Niyamas that act as guides for us as we search for our True Nature. One of these guides is the principle of Bramacharia; Brama, meaning truth and Charia, meaning that which drives you, like the word chariot or car.
Often this term refers to an act of celibacy, a choice to contain vital energy to help one drive themselves toward their spiritual goals. This isn't the only meaning of Bramacharia. The yoga tradition holds a deep respect for the householder and family life. Whether you live monastically or not, the principle is the same: To find your True Self, spend your energy on those things that you know drive you toward what's most important.
First, I believe that this means understanding our passions and controlling our indulgence of our sensual delights (food, sex, shopping, you know what your sensual delights are) so we don't get bogged down along our journey toward Self by something as simple as clogged arteries or credit card debt. But more importantly, I believe that this points toward finding those things that are the most important to us and bravely organizing your life to move in that direction.
It takes courage, focus, and energy to do those things that you know are so important to you and drive you toward your best self. For me, its making time to practice yoga, to play my sax, to maintain a great relationship with Celeste (my wife), and to meditate.
These things may or may not be what we need to earn a living and provide for ourselves and family. This is where it gets tricky. I'm sure we've all fallen prey to that dilemma of sacrificing what makes us feel alive for that which simply keeps us living. That's part of our journey: to find the balance and keep enough energy moving on both sides of the isle to keep the car moving generally down the middle of the road.
I invite you to pause for a moment and think about what are the things that drive you toward your highest self. What are the things that get in the way of this journey? What can you do to organize your life in order to consistently maintain that momentum of forward movement?
I hope that part of this involves practicing yoga.
I'll see you in class.