Saturday, March 25, 2017
The Power to Attain the Unattainable
Austerity is the third niyama. Austerity simply means that on all levels; physically, verbally and intellectually we should develop the power to withstand hunger, thirst, heat, cold and other earthly discomforts so as to attain the unattainable. Without hardships and challenges we never develop self-discipline and self-discipline is needed to attain contentment and thus happiness.
When you over eat, over drink, over spend, or over worry do you ever feel content and happy? Austerity means to keep our mind focused, your words meaningful and your deeds soulfully powerful. Over indulgence ultimately leads to pain. We need balance.
Austerity means to practice self-discipline. It means to stop the mind from clinging to desires. Although it may seem painful and difficult to stop the mind from running after pleasure in the end it will bring you happiness.
No one wants to experience pain, but if truly understood, when someone hurts you, you will thank them because they have given you a great opportunity to practice strength and stability. It is much easier to give pain than to receive it and remain calm. It takes tremendous strength to not react and instead learn from the experience. Austerity means a steady calm mind no matter what the circumstances.
Words are very important. They should be spoken with tranquility, be truthful, pleasant and beneficial. If something is true and unpleasant, make it pleasant. From your mind practice compassion and understanding. Then act with self-control.
The Gita a Sanskrit Hindu text points out three types of austerity; dull, passionate and calm. Those who are inflexible will become dull. Those who practice with the intent of acquiring something are passionate and those who are without desire for any result other than to be content and balanced find calmness. What is gained through dullness and passion will not endure, but that which is attained through calmness purifies and strengthens the body, the mind and the soul. It will endure through all of life’s hardships. Let’s practice.
Be moderate in all your activities. Balance your work, play and soulful pursuits so as not to exhaust you. The body and the mind cling to desires. This exhausts our energy and depletes the soul. When we practice austerity we cleanse the body and the mind and uplift the soul. It is like gold; the more you fire it the purer it gets. So accept what comes into your life with a sense of calmness and you will understand the significance of austerity. What is gained through calmness will endure no matter what the situation should bring.