Good evening, or late night, or whatever time of day you get around to reading this week’s Meditation Monday post. It may not even be Monday any more as I’m kind of behind on my day overall today. My kids have snotty heads and that means that no one is sleeping well at our house and when there are no naps, Mom doesn’t get a whole lot accomplished. However, I am making a little time in my night for you because you deserve it and I needed a pause from the manual I’m working on.
I want to post a little tiny bit here about the fourth yama, brahmacarya, because it’s probably the most misunderstood of all of the yamas and niyamas combined. Gates does a nice job of taking a chunk of time on this one and I’ll cover more of that next week and my thoughts on/responses to/meditations with this yama. But for today, a brief introduction to the yama that sounds like a dinosaur.
The yamas are the five moral restraints that must be practiced first in our actions, then in our words, and finally in our thoughts. Thus far we’ve been working with non-violence, truthfulness, and non-stealing, but now we get to brahmacarya which some yoga scholars have translated to mean “celibacy”.
Okay, so wait before you decide that yoga is not for you anymore. Other scholars translate it to mean merging with the one, but most often it is interpreted as a practice of moderation. Most specifically it is a moderation of how to use your energy and even more specifically, your sexual energy. Yeah, that’s why celibacy falls in there.
Think about it this way:
If you don’t use your energy and wall it up inside of you, it will build pressure until it eventually comes crashing forward in an uncontrollable outpouring.
But, if you use it moderately to connect to others around us in a loving way, then it can be a positive and spiritual experience which revitalizes and nourishes the body, mind, and soul.
And, if you use that same energy in a negative way, say to manipulate and use others then you create more bad energy and that can lead to feelings of hatred and jealousy, resentment and pain.
So, in remembering that moderation means not too much in either direction and before we get deeper into our study of brahmacarya, ask yourself:
Am I aware of my sexual energy?
How am I using it or am I at all?
Have I ever used my sexual energy to get something I wanted?
Have I ever used it to hurt another person?
Do I use my sexual energy to hurt myself?
Have I been holding back from truly experiencing an openness with another person?