Connect with us
cookieFlags="samesite=none;secure"

Spirituality

Svadhyaya: The Path Of Understanding Your True Self

Published

on

Svadhyaya Image

Svadhyaya is one of the five niyamas (yoga principles) that focuses on the study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches, and actions. In the process of practicing this niyama, we get engaged in the realization of our own essence. Svadhyaya serves as a ‘prism’ through which can we see the Divine within us. In this article, I will dive deeper into what svadhyaya is, why it is so important to practice it and what you can do today to step on the path of understanding your true self.

What Is Svadhyaya?

Svadhyaya is a compound Sanskrit word composed of ‘sva’ (स्वा) and ‘adhyaya’ (अध्याय). ‘Adhyaya’ means “a lesson, lecture, chapter; reading”. ‘Sva’ means “own, one’s own, self, the human soul”. Therefore, Svadhyaya literally means “one’s own reading, lesson”.

According to the Yoga sutras (Sutra 2.44), one who practices Svadhyaya acquires the ability of deep concentration, approaches the higher consciousness and becomes able to comprehend the higher truths.

There are several interpretations of this principle. Its first meaning is self-analysis, self-realization, self-education, awareness of oneself as a whole structure in various aspects: mental, emotional and spiritual. The second meaning of this principle is the study of the Scriptures, spiritual literature, Vedic sources of spiritual knowledge. And the third meaning is chanting mantras aloud (performing Japa).

It is necessary to practice Svadhyaya daily. For most of us, it is difficult to break away from our daily routine, but it is necessary to find an hour or two and devote them to spiritual self-improvement or reading spiritual literature. Compare how much energy you spend on questions of the material world, and how much time you devote to the spiritual world? When embarking on the path of spiritual self-improvement, you need to set your priorities correctly.

Understanding The True Essence Of SELF

Svadhyaya definition Image

Stop for a moment and think: what is life? The pursuit of ephemeral happiness? The endless bustle of everyday life? Or just boring aimless vegetating, when you don’t have the ability to see the true meaning of life and just go with the flow?

In most cases, people’s idea of life is misleading.

Many of us wake up every morning and force ourselves to go to work that we hate. After work, we come home and fall on the couch in front of the TV. We have our dinner and go to bed. And this is how most of us live. We live the same day again and again and call it “life”.

We are like robots, performing our functions, without thinking about the true meaning of what we do and for what reasons. This kind of life does not bring joy and does not give a sense of satisfaction.

Yoga is designed to help us become better, get rid of the obscurations that fill our lives. When we realize all the frailty and meaninglessness of our existence aimed at satisfying material needs, we begin to understand that the main goal of life is to cultivate our spirit. Therefore, eventually, everyone who follows a true spiritual path begins his journey of spiritual self-improvement, to break the shackles of the material world and free himself from the illusion of earthly values, unleash his inner light and illuminate not only his path but also to share it with those who are still in the darkness.

Gradually, as we practice moral principles, we begin to notice how we are moving forward. So, we should not miss any opportunity for self-development and self-improvement. And Svadhyaya serves us as a wonderful tool for gaining self-knowledge.

Our eternal Spirit experiences difficulties when it is imprisoned in a body that is affected by the material nature that binds it to the cycle of rebirth in the material world. It is necessary to learn how to limit the manifestations of the ego that forces us to focus on the material needs.

When we are involved in a process of constant self-development we gain control over our ego.

We need to always remember that all the knowledge we need is already within us. All we need to do is just reveal it. Every time we study the spiritual scriptures we are not learning something new but reminding ourselves of what we already know and always knew deep inside. The knowledge that we need for our development is hidden from us behind the limitations of our materialistic minds and opens gradually as the level of our spiritual awareness increases.

Jnana Yoga And Svadhyaya

yoga teachings image

The teaching of yoga is divided into several branches. Each of the branches leads a person to the knowledge of his true Self, to the flowering and growth of his soul.

Hatha yoga, for example, helps us learn to control our physical body since it is a temple of the spirit.

Raja yoga helps us unlock our inner potential, develop our mental abilities, learn to control our mind, and strengthen our willpower.

Bhakti yoga is designed to awaken unconditional love and unselfishness, which leads to the realization of the unity of being.

Jnana yoga is a way of knowing and studying, which allows us to plunge into the amazing world of truths that lie at the heart of being. Yoga of wisdom, as it can also be called, will allow you to find answers to such questions as: “Who am I and why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? What exists outside of visible reality? What will happen to me after I leave this life?”

Svadhyaya is the basis for practicing Jnana yoga because it is the beginning of the path of knowledge and understanding of one’s own nature. When we learn about ourselves with the help of Svadhyaya, we also come to the realization that the opportunity to be happy is hidden in each of us. And the knowledge of self will lead us to liberation from the false ideas and illusions of the material world, change our worldview and we will gradually come to an understanding that each of us is a part of the whole.

Svadhyaya And Mantra Chanting

Mantra chanting daily practice image

As mentioned above, Svadhyaya leads to the opportunity to attain deep concentration. Mantra chanting is one of the tools we can use for this.

When we are involved in mantra chanting, it is important not just to repeat the text of the mantra, but also to understand its meaning.

By chanting mantras, we can purify the surrounding space. Even just listening to mantra chants can clear your mind. When you listen to their sounds with reverence, they can lift your consciousness to a higher level.

It is believed that the sacred Sanskrit sounds tune us in harmony with the vibrations of the cosmos. Thus even if you just listen or read mantras, it can have a beneficial effect on your aura and contribute to your spiritual development.

Studying The Vedas

The Vedas are considered the most ancient Scriptures. The Sanskrit word “Veda” means ‘knowledge’, ‘wisdom’, ‘intelligence’. Therefore, the Vedas teach us to understand what we read, to comprehend the deep meaning.

The Vedas are written in early Sanskrit and contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for the priests of Vedic religion. They have been directly revealed to seers among the early Aryans in India and preserved by oral tradition. The four chief collections are the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

Reading and studying the Vedas allow us to touch the sacred wisdom of spiritual truths. This is not just a repository of mantras, hymns, and mandalas. The sages of the past shared their spiritual knowledge and experience in the Vedas, and now we have the opportunity to touch these divine truths that can help us start a meaningful and conscious life.

Initially, the knowledge that the Vedas contain was passed orally from teachers to students, who, in turn, memorized mantras by constant repetition. Because the Vedas have been preserved through constant self-study, they also belong to the practice of Svadhyaya.

Later the Vedas were recorded in writing. The Vedas are compiled by the sage Veda Vyasa, who divided them into four parts: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

Veda Vyasa Image
Veda Vyasa

Rig Veda is considered one of the oldest religious sources of knowledge in the world, a sacred collection of mystical hymns written in Sanskrit.

Sama Veda is the Veda of chants.

Yajur Veda is a collection of mantras used for worship rituals.

Atharva Veda is a collection of mantras and magical incantations and healing spells.

The final part of the Vedas is the Upanishad (Vedanta). The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas and originally referred to the Upanishads. It describes how the four Purusarthas (objects of human pursuit) can be achieved. These four Purusarthas are Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

Studying Sacred Scriptures And Spiritual Literature

Svadhyaya also implies the study of other spiritual Scriptures. By reading sacred texts and Vedic literature, we discover a treasure trove of spiritual knowledge that was left to us by the Great teachers of the past.

When we practice Svadhyaya we constantly study from sacred sources of spiritual wisdom with reverence and respect. In doing so, we establish a connection with the spiritual masters. As we dive into the sources of spiritual wisdom, we come into contact with the exalted spirit of those who left us this treasure. In this way, we rise in spirit to their level while reading their creations.

It should also be borne in mind that just reading spiritual literature is not enough. It is important to understand the inner meaning hidden in every thought of the author, manifested in his work.

After reading spiritual texts it is important to take time for analyzing, reasoning, learning and thinking about the ways you can apply this wisdom to your life.

Veda studies image

Most religions are based on faith and they ask you to take sacred texts on faith. However, when we talk about svadhyaya practice, we mean the deep understanding and analysis of everything we learn. Only by understanding the essence of the Scriptures, can this knowledge penetrate into our subconscious mind.

Analyzing what you read, applying it in your life, comparing it with the experience you have already received on your spiritual path, you get precious experience and spiritually grow.

Thus, the books of Great spiritual masters provide us with support in difficult moments of life and are a motivation for spiritual self-improvement.

Other than the ancient Vedic Scriptures it is also very important to read spiritual books of modern authors, communicate with spiritual Teachers, spiritual mentors, visit lectures on spiritual topics and attend seminars. Any “immersion” in the spiritual atmosphere somehow affects our consciousness, increases the vibration of our consciousness and allows us to reach a higher level of awareness.

The Bottom Line

We should always remember that when we start our spiritual journey we grow, and our worldview constantly changes. Therefore reading spiritual literature after a while, we can comprehend more or perceive it differently than we previously learned and understand. The mind perceives only what it reads that resonates with the level of spiritual development of the reader. So don’t be lazy to read a book you have already read before again and again. You may discover something new that you missed or misunderstood.


Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Exploring Saucha: The Purity Of Mind, Speech, and Body

Published

on

Saucha image

Saucha is the first Niyama of yoga, mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It can be translated as ‘purity’, ‘cleanliness’, and ‘clearness’. Saucha focuses on the purity of mind, speech, and body.

In this article, I will share with you how you can keep your mind, speech, and body pure, and how you can apply this Niyama to your daily life.

Saucha on Physical Level

When we talk about cleanliness at the body level, we mean not only the physical body but also everything that surrounds us physically: clothing, premises, personal belongings, work desk, etc.

The matter is to a certain extent a reflection of our inner state. For example, people who are not able to get rid of old things tend to live in the past.

If you look closely at the living space of any person, you can quite accurately determine what he is interested in, what his preferences are, what he lives by.

It often happens that a person’s worldview has changed but the external component – the house he lives in – still has the style, interior design objects, etc. that has a strong reflection of his old views. This contradiction of the internal and external can slow down his personal evolution and spiritual development. Therefore, it is important to monitor the correspondence of the external to the internal.

This can also happen in a reverse way. If you start changing the external component in correspondence to your future goal, your internal world will adjust to it. This is one of the main benefits of Feng Shui and Vastu – to help us create harmony and peace through external space.

Therefore, it’s good to start Saucha practice by decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your house. The cleanliness of your home will help you to develop the purity of your body and mind.

Purity of the Physical Body

detox woman image

According to Bhagavad Gita (Book 17), the purity of the body comes from the cleanliness of the body as well as from what one eats and drinks. 

Thus, the purity of the physical body includes not only external purity but also the purity of internal organs and tissues. The yogic texts pay a lot of attention to this aspect. In order to get acquainted with this topic in more detail, we need to refer to the Shatkarmas.

The Shatkarmas are a set of Hatha yoga purification techniques that are used for the preparation of the physical body for the main work of yoga towards moksha. These practices, outlined by Svatmarama in the Haṭha Yoga Pradipiks as kriya, are:

  • Neti – a nasal wash;
  • Dhauti – the cleansing of the whole digestive tract;
  • Nauli –  a self-administered abdominal massage, using only the muscles of the abdominal wall;
  • Basti – colonic irrigation;
  • Kapalabhati – also called the breath of fire – is a steady repetition of forceful exhalations followed by slightly slower inhalations.
  • Trataka – gazing at a fixed point such as a black spot or a candle flame.[.

In addition, asanas and pranayamas are also excellent tools in keeping the body clean. And, of course, the food should be healthy and sattvic.

Saucha on Speech Level

Satya Yama Image

According to Bhagavad Gita, purity of speech comes from being truthful and through the use of words that are not injurious, hurtful, or distressing to others or self. 

The purity of speech also includes the absence of profanity, abstinence from meaningless words, having a pleasant intonation, and the absence of excessive emotionality.

Pure speech is calm, full of meaning, pleasant, and understandable to anyone.

Oddly enough, but the practice of long silence (one day or more) is actually a very good tool for improving your speech. It’s due to the fact that when we are silent for a long time, we see that most situations do not require our comments, much is clear without words. Reading spiritual books and sacred texts aloud also contributes to the purification of speech.

Also, it’s very important to learn to recognize the cascade of negative emotions that prompt you to twist reality. Once you have understood and processed those emotions, your thoughts, speech, and actions can be realigned with the truth and inner wisdom. Outwardly, refrain from telling lies and speak with kindness, compassion, and clarity.

There is a beautiful Sufi saying:

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself ‘Is it true?
At the second gate ask, ‘Is it necessary?
At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?”

Saucha on Mind Level

mindful meditation image

According to Bhagavad Gita (Book 17), purity of thoughts comes from reflection, peace of mind, silence, calmness, gentleness, and purity of being.

Through the practice of mental purity, one attains the ability to be cheerful, to be one-pointed, to control the senses, and to see the self. Hence, it is clear that mental purity means refraining from negative, low-vibrational thoughts associated with toxic emotions such as anger, lust, condemnation, greed, etc. In addition, mental purity includes mindfulness.

You may well be familiar with the phrase ‘where attention goes, energy flows’, and this is one of the keys to unlocking the sometimes seemingly big door that stands between us and realization.

Thus, to practice mental purity, we need to occupy our own mind before it is diverted in an undesirable direction. Mantras are a great tool for this purpose. By focusing on the mantra, you’re directing your mind towards the Divine. No matter what kind of negativity is around, you can repeat the mantra to yourself in any place and at any time. Also, meditation with concentration is an excellent way to become more mindful.

Asana, Mantra, Mudra

Each Niyama has asana, mudra, and mantra that help you to accept and practice a niyama more effectively. Try practicing this asana, mudra, or mantra while thinking about Saucha.

saucha niyama image

Asana

The asana associated with Saucha is Legs Up the Wall or Viparita Karani:

  1. Sit on the floor and wiggle your seat as close as possible to the base of the wall.
  2. From there lie on your back and swing your legs up onto the wall with your feet toward the ceiling. The knees should be soft with zero tension in your hamstrings. 
  3. Your legs will align directly above your hips. Your legs should feel weightless, your back relaxed, and maintaining the natural curves of the spine.

Stay here for 5-8 breaths or as long as necessary to relax, restore and cleanse the mind from distracting thoughts and toxic emotions.

This asana facilitates the drainage of the lymphatic system and helps purify the body while boosting your immune system.

Mantra

The mantra associated with Saucha is Om Aim Hridayam Namaha.

Chant this beautiful mantra 108 times to focus on bringing awareness to, and then building heat to burn through, whatever blocks you from recognizing your true, unchanging, authentic, whole, Self.

Mudra

The mudra associated with Saucha is Tattva mudra

To perform this mudra, spin your palms open toward the ceiling and place your thumbs against your palms resting your thumb pads on the knuckle pad of your ring finger. Let your four fingers rest softly together.

This mudra symbolizes the true nature of our Self and helps us to realize that our authentic essence is unchanging, that we are, in our fundamental selves, pure and whole. 

The Bottom Line

It is through purification that a person is transformed, both on the gross and subtle levels. Saucha practice makes the aura lighter and brighter. When your energy body starts vibrating on a higher level, the world around you starts vibrating in resonance with you.

Following Saucha, makes it easier to follow the rest of the vows, accelerates progress on the yoga path, and generally has a positive effect on the life of not only the practitioner himself but also his environment.


Continue Reading

Spirituality

Brahmacharya: How Abstaining From Sex Benefits Your Spiritual Evolution

Published

on

What Is Brahmacharya Image

The word Brahmacharya has several meanings. It literally means “conduct consistent with Brahman” or “on the path of Brahman”. This is the way of life through which you understand Brahman (God) when you cultivate the purity of thoughts, words, and actions.

In Yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism it often refers to a lifestyle characterized by sexual continence or abstinence. However, Brahmacharya is somewhat different from the English term “celibacy,” which means non-indulgence in sexual activity. Brahmacharya has a deeper meaning where you do not only control your instincts but more importantly – your mind throughout ascetic means. By practicing Brahmacharya, you increase your life span, strength, radiance, vigor, wisdom, virtue, and devotion to the Truth. Moreover, Brahmacharya is the basis for acquiring immortality.

In this article, I will share with you what Brahmacharya is, why it’s so important for your spiritual practice, what its benefits are, and how to practice it.

What Is Brahmacharya?

The word Brahmacharya consists of two Sanskrit roots:

  • Brahman, which means “ultimate unchanging reality”, “absolute consciousness”.
  • Charya, which means “occupation with, engaging, proceeding, behavior, conduct, to follow, moving in, going after”.

Hence, Brahmacharya can be translated as “conduct consistent with Brahman” or “on the path of Brahman”.

This concept usually includes cleanliness, ahimsa, studies, simple living, meditation, and restraints on certain foods (eating only Sattvic food), intoxicants, and sexual behavior which is no sex and no masturbation.

Brahmacarya is one of the five yamas. It is a form of self-restraint. For a married practitioner, it means marital fidelity, and for a single practitioner, it means celibacy. As stated in Shandilya Upanishad (chapter 1), Brahmacharya is “refraining from sexual intercourse in all places and in all states in mind, speech or body”.

Yogic Celibacy

Yogic Celibacy Image

Now let’s take a closer look at Brahmacharya from the yogic celibacy perspective.

The term celibacy comes from the Latin word “cælibatus” meaning “unmarried”.

Many spiritual traditions see celibacy as the foundation of morality, the gate of liberation, and the path to eternal bliss. Absolute celibacy is an essential condition of the divine life, or higher spiritual life. Many believe that celibacy is the path that leads to Nirvana.

Celibacy means controlling not only your sexual instincts, but also controlling all your feelings, thoughts, words, and actions. This is the key to all the realms of divine bliss. The path to eternal peace begins with celibacy.

Celibacy has two aspects: physical and mental. Physical celibacy is about controlling your body, whereas mental celibacy is about controlling your mind (lustful thoughts do not arise in the mind or even in your dreams when you’re sleeping).

8 Traps Of Lust

life without sex Image

It’s not just sex that prevents you from following the celibacy path but also other actions, thoughts, and desires that keep you trapped in lust. Different spiritual traditions warn about many different mental traps your consciousness can fall into. Here are the 8 most common traps of lust that anyone following a spiritual path should be wary of:

  1. Sexual objectification – seeing a person solely as an object of sexual desire;
  2. Flirting or coquetry;
  3. Lustful thoughts;
  4. A strong desire to perform sexual intercourse;
  5. Sexual fantasies or dreams;
  6. Sexual suggestiveness – visual, verbal, written, or behavioral material or action with sexual undertones implying sexual intent in order to provoke sexual arousal;
  7. Sexual acts based on lower instincts.

It is believed that only those who completely free themselves from all these traps can consider that they observe true celibacy.

The Importance Of Saving Sexual Fluids

Whereas western research on sexual healing doesn’t emphasize the importance of retaining and recirculating sexual fluids, the Eastern systems make a vital distinction. According to Vedic science, one drop of semen is equal to sixty drops of blood in the energy it bestows on the body.

Semen is rich in easily absorbable nutrients and energy that can revitalise mind and body. It’s a treasure house of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, hormones, proteins, irons, enzymes and other vital nutritional substances including calcium, albumin, lecithin, phosphorus and nucleoproteins. It’s been scientifically proven that a weak nervous system, depleted energy and brain function were connected to excessive seed loss.

A New York Times report reiterated “creating sperm is far more difficult than scientists imagined, demanding a diversion of resources that otherwise might go into assuring a male’s long-term health.”

Taoist works claim excessive semen loss causes premature aging, loss of eyesight, damage to the nervous system, poor digestion, muscular weakness, and loss of energy.

It’s not just humans but all species tend to deplete their energy after expelling reproductive fluids. Even plants have greater longevity if they are kept from going to seed. This energy loss explains why many athletes including Mohammed Ali abstained from intercourse before competing, so they’d have reserve strength and energy to compete.

Women are more fortunate than men as they naturally tend to retain their vital fluids since their reproductive organs are internal and they have a yin receptive nature whereas men loose it easily. The fact that women live an average six years longer than men can be explained by their receptive nature and the ability not to waste their vitality as easy as men do.

Benefits Of Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya benefits Image
  1. Alchemical transmutation of base sexual energies into spiritual vigor. According to Ayurveda, semen was considered to be a vital elixir that housed important subtle energies. Ejaculation was said to lead to loss of power, energy, concentration, and even spiritual merit. And conserving it through Brahmacharya was said to help develop rich stores of Ojas, thereby building vitality, character, and health.
  2. Developing control over mind, body, and speech.
  3. Developing the ability to remain stable no matter what life challenges are faced and deal with the situation at hand.
  4. Concentration and grasping power increase.
  5. Will power increase.
  6. Gaining the ability to follow through on vows and commitments.
  7. Immunity increase. Since the energy reserves of your body are much higher now so your body will find it easier to deal with illnesses.
  8. The increase of physical, mental, and intellectual strength.
  9. Gaining the ability to understand the bliss of the Self completely.
  10. The decrease in anger, pride, deceit, and greed.
  11. Eyesight improvement.
  12. It’ll become hard for you to get scared. In a dangerous situation, you’ll be aware of the risk but you will also be able to deal with it calmly instead of panicking and worsening the situation.
  13. Memory increase – you will find it easier to remember things and even dreams that you had a long time ago.
  14. Your mind will become much sharper.
  15. Intuition boost.
  16. Vigor and confidence increase.
  17. Your body will naturally become more supple and flexible.
  18. Gaining freedom from earthly distractions so you can devote yourself more fully to spiritual transcendence.
  19. Overcoming duality and gaining a profound sense of relationship and intimacy with all beings, not just a select few.
  20. Transformation of our most primitive instinctual energies into a deeper, brighter vitality that promises good health, great courage, incredible stamina, and very long life.

Brahmacharya practice renovates the system or constitution, rebuilds the cells and tissues, energizes digestion, and gives the power to face the difficulties in the daily battle of life. A true celibate possesses tremendous energy, a clear brain, gigantic will-power, bold understanding, and retentive memory.

How To Practice Brahmacharya?

Here are some tips on how you can start practicing Brahmacharya.

#1: Perceive people as divine beings

Adi Shakti Mantra Image

The key philosophy that will help you to take your lower desires under control is perceiving all people as divine beings.

If women are the object of your lust then learn to see the Divine mother in each of them. When you start seeing the Divine mother in a woman, you won’t be able to project lower instinctive desires on her. All you will feel is pure divine love.

If men are the object of your sexual desires, then, similarly, learn to see God in each of them. The interaction with a man should be based on the expression of pure love, not seduction.

#2: Check your social media

Analyze your behavior and the signals you’re sending to people. Check your social media profile. Maybe you will notice that some of the pictures on your Instagram are sending a double message. What is it for? Attention for masking low self-esteem? Be honest with yourself. You see, sexual energy is sacred and when it gets expressed in a form of sexy photos or videos, it loses its divinity. This goes against the main brahmacharya principle.

#3: Wake up during Brahma Muhurta

how to practice brahmacharya image

The literal translation of Brahma Muhurta is ‘the hour of Brahma‘ or ‘Creator’s Hour‘.

Brahma Muhurta is a 48-minute period that begins 1 hour 36 minutes before sunrise and ends 48 minutes before sunrise.

The interaction of our planet’s energy with the energies of the Sun and the Moon creates certain physiological changes in the human system at this time. Medical science has even found that the waste material in your body, such as urine, for example, has certain qualities at that time which it does not have at any other time of the day.

Your entire body is immersed in a certain conducive atmosphere. The melatonin level is increased, which boosts the pineal gland’s activity. Therefore it is so beneficial to use this time consciously.

Brahma Muhurta time is ideal for spiritual practices, such as yoga, meditation, spiritual studies, etc. Serious spiritual practitioners all over the world, get up at this time to devote themselves to prayer and meditation.

Performing spiritual practices during Brahma Muhurta time alone will solve more than 90% of the difficulties you may face in the Brahmacharya practice.

Most people find Brahmacharya so hard because they sleep during Brahma Muhurta while all of nature is supporting the awakening of Sushumna, raising up of kundalini and hence, a natural, fast-paced evolution of our awareness.

#4: Practice brahmacharya on mental level

Whenever lustful thoughts manifest, perform some thoughtless awareness technique or 5-10 rounds of Maha Bandha or 3-5 min of Sarvangasana. This will transform the excess energy of lust into intellectual energy by pulling up the nerve currents up the spine towards brain centers, thus giving you more mental powers of thinking, concentration, and memory.

#5: Give you energy creative expression

Sexual energy is a powerful creative power. If not used for procreation, it can be used for creative expression. It doesn’t mean you should express the lower vibrational lustful desires in your art. Just do what you love but let it pass the “divinity” filter first. For doing this, follow tip #1.

#6: Fasting

As you may already know, fasting is an excellent tool to cleanse your body, physically and energetically. Fasting helps to raise your vibration on a level where lust cannot reach. It will help you to see your desires more clearly and realize that their satisfaction doesn’t serve your highest good.

#7: “Detox” your mind

How to practice celibacy image

Think about how lustful thoughts and seductive behavior were implanted into human minds. TV, social media, magazines, etc. made people believe that seduction and sexual objectification lead to success and power. Mass media wants us to sell our sexual energy in any possible form (sexy pictures, erotic videos, flirting, seductive dances, sexual music, etc.) in exchange for success and fame. And we obediently do it without question: “Why?”.

Sexual energy is our most sacred part – the gate to bliss and immortality. And whoever is governing our planet is aware of it. To keep us away from bliss and true freedom, they make us do whatever is most self-destructive for us. When we get so destructed by external reality, we can’t even see what we’re doing and for what. Of course, we get something in exchange – attention, fame, success, promotion, career, etc. But isn’t it too big of a price?

Therefore, it’s so important to start seeing things for what they are. Wherever your sexual energy is used in a demonstrative way – watch out – you could be used as an energy source for some purpose that doesn’t serve you! Don’t let them fool you. You don’t need to publicly demonstrate your sexuality just to prove that you are not ashamed of your body and you are free. This is the most common tool that is used to keep a human mind in the trap of sexual slavery.

Once you let go of these toxic beliefs, you will never waste your sexual energy on meaningless acts of seduction, flirting, or random hookups.

#8: Immerse yourself into spirituality

This will inspire you and intensify your motivation. Only a fully motivated person succeeds in maintaining Brahmacharya.

Try to spend 20 min every day in the morning on spiritual reading. For example, 10 min on brahmacharya and 10 min on meditation and self-realization topics. You can use sacred scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Patanjali Yoga-Sutra, and life-stories of great sages. Sacred texts are a perfect source of “spiritual food” for our minds that provide daily soul-elevating thoughts as much as our bodies need daily the material food for its nutrition needs.

#9: Daily meditations

brahmacharya in yoga image

Meditation and brahmacharya are two wings of spiritual growth. With more growth of brahmacharya practice, meditative experiences become deeper. With deeper meditative experiences, the mind starts remaining in the state of brahmacharya more naturally and much longer.

Conclusion

When contemplating the idea of taking up the practice of brahmacharya, it’s important to remember to avoid any extremes in hopes of progressing more quickly in your development.

The Middle Path, as described in Buddhism, is a good philosophy to practice such that you do not fall into the trap of escaping one’s life journey by polarizing too deeply into sensual pleasures or entering too quickly into extreme asceticism.

The path of spiritual development and ascension is a journey of raising one’s consciousness or awareness up the vibrational scale of reality until one reaches nirvana. Your actions, thoughts, ideas, and behaviors all determine the center of gravity in which your consciousness holds, anchoring you to your current level of reality that exists within that vibrational scale.

Try to truthfully assess your current state of consciousness and what negative thoughts and behaviors you have that might be adversely holding your consciousness back from ascending higher up along the vibrational scale. Ask yourself, “Is this thought or action in alignment with the highest expression and divine will of God?” If not, what changes must be made in your personality such that you are more aligned?

Instead of trying to do everything at once, select one or two initial negative behaviors or thought patterns, you would like to transmute into a positive. By applying the principles of brahmacharya you will be surprised how quickly you are able to change your thoughts, behaviors, and life!

Main picture credit: https://www.instagram.com/hitesh_desai_11/


Continue Reading

Spirituality

8 Warning Signs You’re Falling Into Spiritual Materialism

Published

on

Spiritual materialism image

Walking the spiritual path is a tricky adventure. We are often deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This kind of self-deception is called “spiritual materialism” which is a “toxic” form of spirituality.

In this article, I want to share with you what spiritual materialism is and 8 warning signs you could be practicing it.

What Is Spiritual Materialism?

Spiritual materialism is a term coined by Chögyam Trungpa in his book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. 

This term is used to describe mistakes spiritual seekers commit which turn the pursuit of spirituality into an ego-building and confusion creating endeavor, based on the idea that ego development is counter to spiritual progress.

Spiritual materialism means making use of spirituality to gratify the desires of the ego.

No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain.

– Chögyam Trungpa

According to Chögyam Trungpa, spiritual materialism can fall into three categories:

#1: Physical materialism

This form of materialism is based on the belief that possessions can bring release from suffering. However, in fact, they may bring temporary happiness but then more suffering will follow. Or on another level, physical materialism can manifest itself as a belief, “I am rich because I have this or that” or “I am a teacher because I have a diploma.”

#2: Psychological materialism

This category is based on the belief that a particular philosophy, spiritual tradition, belief system, or point of view will bring release from suffering. Therefore, seeking refuge by strongly identifying with a particular religion, tradition, philosophy, political party, or viewpoint, for example, would be a manifestation of psychological materialism. The goal of psychological materialism is to use external concepts, pretexts, and ideas to prove that the ego-driven self exists, which manifests in a particular competitive attitude.

#3: Spiritual materialism

It is based on the belief that a certain temporary state of mind is a refuge from suffering. For example, when you’re using meditation practices to create a peaceful state of mind or using drugs or alcohol to remain in a numbed out or a euphoric state, you are merely heightening the suffering when these states cease. Therefore, attempting to maintain a particular emotional state of mind as an escape from suffering, or constantly pursuing particular emotional states of mind, will actually lead to more long term suffering.

Spiritual materialism is an attachment to the spiritual path as a solid accomplishment or possession. It is said that spiritual materialism is the hardest to overcome. The imagery that is used is that of golden chains; you’re not just in chains, you’re in golden chains. And you love your chains because they’re so beautiful and shiny. But you’re not free. You’re just trapped in a bigger and better trap. The point of spiritual practice is to become free, not to build a trap that may have the appearance of a mansion but is still a prison.

– M. Caplan

Spiritual Ego

spiritual materialism examples image

We all need to realize that nobody is immune to spiritual materialism. As long as we have the ego, we are living on the edge. And no matter how spiritually developed you think you are, there is a tricky ego trap for each “level” of development.

Most of us have a delusional idea that the spiritual path is always steady and secure. It is only later that we begin to realize that the spiritual path is very slippery and you have to maintain balance and constant awareness not to fall into old “traps”. The thing is that the more we learn theoretically about spirituality without applying it to our everyday lives, the more likely we develop the spiritual ego in our beliefs.

Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the spiritual ego can hide behind judgment, spiritual dogma, or even a false sense of moral superiority over others. And this could be very dangerous for our spiritual development since it can blind us and prevent us from doing the necessary deeper spiritual work we need for inner growth and self-healing.

It’s hard to see our ego and therefore it’s hard to control it. Buddhist say that in the war of ego the loser always wins. Which makes complete sense to me. The second you realized you overcame your ego, you have fallen into its trap. Therefore, the best way you can deal with your ego is by observing it. It is by observing that you can learn how to take control of your ego.

8 Signs You Could Be Practicing Spiritual Materialism

The most important part of shadow work is taking an honest look at ourselves no matter how hard and painful it could be. Let’s take a look at 8 signs of spiritual materialism and determine which ones could be describing us.

Sign #1: Spiritual Superficiality

Spiritual Superficiality Image

Modern forms of spirituality and therapy are often accused of selling superficial and sunny answers to life’s complexity and pain. Spirituality isn’t about protecting ourselves from real-life challenges. Any philosophy that is based on the belief that thinking positively always protects us from suffering and emotional pain, or that there is something wrong with you if you suffer or fail, is offering superficial promises.

Sign #2: Spiritual Elitism

Spiritual elitism is based on using spiritual ‘achievements’ or ‘gifts’ to disconnect from and feel superior to others. If you find yourself becoming unbearably profound, feeling that you are somehow different from others and destined for sainthood, perhaps you are suffering from grandiosity.

Our desire to be special can be manifested in many different self-aggrandizement ways, like:

  • Claiming to have “special access” to spirit guides, Ascended Masters, angels, spirits, etc.;
  • Claiming to be the reincarnation of a guru, superior being, a famous spiritual historical figure, etc.;
  • Claiming to figure out all the world mysteries, conspiracy theories, governments’ secrets, etc.;
  • Claiming access to special and exclusive spiritual knowledge that others can’t access.

In order to overcome this trap, ask yourself: “Do I really need to prove my specialness by using different titles (like lightworker, Starseed, etc.), the memories (or fantasies) about my past incarnations, etc.?”

Sign #3: Spiritual Shopping Obsession

Do you find yourself habitually buying spiritual trinkets/tools/items or accumulating the blessings and initiations from sages, shamans, saints, etc.? Does having spiritual items make you feel more “special,” “awakened,” “aligned” or spiritually worthy. If so, you could be practicing spiritual materialism!

The truth is all those endless workshops, tools, trinkets, and techniques which all promise to make you a wiser, more intuitive, more blissful, more “spiritual” person, are designed for distracting your attention from profound spiritual practice. You see, in order to follow your spiritual path you don’t need to “look” or “feel” spiritual. All you need is already inside you.

Sign #4: Entertaining Spirituality

This is a common trap many seekers get into. Instead of enjoying the blessings of everyday life, you seek after entertaining spirituality and supernatural experiences like angelic visitations, seeing visions, meeting UFOs, spirit guides, Ascended Masters, beings from other planets and dimensions, etc. All these supernatural experiences can be a part of your spiritual journey. However, if they are your main focus, you could be practicing entertaining spirituality.

Sign #5: Ripping Off the Traditions

what is spiritual materialism image

Many modern seekers skim off the ritual trappings of a tradition with little respect for the depth behind it. This attitude trivializes powerful spiritual systems that often demand years of study. It is so important to be committed to your spiritual practice and realize the difference between carefully creating a spiritual path that includes genuine practices from a variety of traditions, rather than flitting from flower to flower like a drunken honey bee.

Sign #6: Power Abuse

Another sign of spiritual materialism is the disparity between spiritual teachings and the behavior of teachers. These are the things to be wary of:

  • extravagant claims of enlightenment or healing;
  • minimizing the hard work that accompanies any true spiritual or healing path;
  • excessive commercialism that betrays the deeper spiritual message;
  • blind adherence of followers.

With their deceitful double standards, some gurus, healers, and spiritual teachers have given mentorship a bad name and tarnished the image of humbling oneself to wiser and more experienced spiritual guides.

Sign #7: Spiritual Narcissism

The spiritual narcissist unconsciously believes he/she is more “awakened” than others and will do anything to reinforce that “specialness” including harming others through arrogance and forcing his/her beliefs on them. They also use spiritual jargon that you can relate to when recruiting their victims. A spiritual narcissist will make you think that you have a special gift or that you are their soul mate when in a real sense they are grooming you for the abuse

Do you always back your desires with only those spiritual facts that suit you? Then, you could be developing spiritual narcissism. Be mindful when you purposely omit those facts that don’t advance your course.

There is a thin line between narcissism and “following your bliss.” Be aware of your tendency toward excessive self-centeredness even as you work to heal and love your own tender self.

Sign #8: Future Obsession

Do you believe that if you do certain spiritual practices or chant certain mantra you will get to a special elevated state of consciousness in the future? Well, there is nothing wrong with this belief unless you become so possessed with your future achievements that you stop living in the present moment. If you become too obsessed with your future and stop recognizing the fundamental ego-centricity of this obsession, you could be stuck in another spiritual materialism trap!

The Bottom Line

The spiritual path can be a truly joyous and satisfying journey of self-realization. It quickly becomes very clear to anyone who has spent significant time on their journey that the path is riddled with many obstacles and traps designed specifically for the ego.

Have you found yourself saying “They are Asleep”, “I am Awake” or any other self-proclaimed statements of spiritual achievement in comparison to others? This type of comparison can be the first of many dangerous behaviors that can lead a hopeful spiritual student down a path of despair, spiritual degradation, and unfortunate suffering.

True spiritual development is almost always a long and arduous journey that spans many years and lifetimes. Maintaining a high level of compassion and humility along with a strong desire to serve can be a very helpful tool to ensure one keeps their ego in check.


Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Health

healing affirmations image healing affirmations image
Healing4 weeks ago

60 Powerful Healing Affirmations For Befriending Your Body

The thoughts that arise in our heads have an impact not only on our mood but also on our health....

Saucha image Saucha image
Spirituality4 weeks ago

Exploring Saucha: The Purity Of Mind, Speech, and Body

Saucha is the first Niyama of yoga, mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It can be translated as ‘purity’, ‘cleanliness’, and...

Hakini mudra Image Hakini mudra Image
Yoga1 month ago

Boost Your Intuition, Mental Power, And Creativity With Hakini Mudra

Hakini mudra is a sacred hand gesture named after the goddess Hakini and is associated with the third eye chakra....

Satya Yama Image Satya Yama Image
Yoga2 months ago

Satya Yama: The Power Of Truthfulness

Satya, or truthfulness, is the second of the five yamas and one of the highest callings of yoga. In this...

Prana Mudra Benefits Image Prana Mudra Benefits Image
Yoga2 months ago

Prana Mudra: Powerful Tool For Rejuvenating Your Life Force

Prana mudra is often called the mudra of life. This powerful mudra has many benefits, such as rejuvenation, vitality increase,...

Feng Shui For Health And Longevity Image Feng Shui For Health And Longevity Image
Health3 months ago

Feng Shui For Health And Longevity: Protect Yourself Against Premature Death!

The Chinese believe that there is no good luck without good health and long life. Though most people who are...

What Is Bhakti Yoga Image What Is Bhakti Yoga Image
Yoga3 months ago

Bhakti Yoga: 9 Principles To Heart-Centered Life

Bhakti yoga is one of the main yoga paths that can lead you to full awareness of your true nature. It...

types of pranayama Image types of pranayama Image
Yoga3 months ago

8 Essential Types Of Pranayama To Calm Your Mind

Living in uncertainty in the midst of the worldwide pandemic, most of us experience stress and an increase in anxiety....

Emotional eating Image Emotional eating Image
Health3 months ago

Emotional Eating: What Do Your Emotions Taste Like?

Have you ever thought about how your cravings are connected to your emotional state? The fact is that we don’t...

10 Ayurvedic Quarantine Tips Image 10 Ayurvedic Quarantine Tips Image
Food3 months ago

Ayurvedic Quarantine Tips On Healthy Eating

When there’s a pandemic raging outside your front door, it’s natural to turn to sources of comfort, many people turn...

Advertisement

Awareness

Energy In 2021 Image Energy In 2021 Image
Astrology2 days ago

Make Sure You Protect Yourself From These 3 Types Of Energy In 2021

Like any other year, the year 2021 carries both positive and negative energies. These energies do not stand still, they...

Horoscope 2021 Image Horoscope 2021 Image
Astrology4 days ago

Most Accurate Horoscope 2021: Predictions And Recommendations

According to the Chinese calendar, the new year starts on February 12th, 2021, and will last until January 31st, 2022....

Patanjali Quotes Image Patanjali Quotes Image
Inspirational quotes1 week ago

Patanjali Quotes: 33 Lessons Of Spiritual Wisdom

Patanjali was a sage in ancient India who was considered the author of a number of Sanskrit works. He compiled a collection...

Predictions For 2021 Image Predictions For 2021 Image
Astrology1 week ago

Predictions For 2021: What To Expect In the Year of the Metal Ox

According to the Chinese calendar, the new year starts on February 12th, 2021, and will last until January 31th, 2022....

55 Be Yourself Quotes Image 55 Be Yourself Quotes Image
Inspirational quotes1 week ago

55 Be Yourself Quotes To Encourage You To Reveal Your Inner Magic

In a world where conformity is the norm, it can be difficult to truly be yourself. It’s easy to give...

Lucky Feng Shui Colors In 2021 Image Lucky Feng Shui Colors In 2021 Image
Abundant Living2 weeks ago

What Are Your Lucky Feng Shui Colors In 2021?

Feng Shui astrology believes that each year has its unique energy and character. Therefore, each year’s energy is expressed through...

Horoscope for January 2021 Image Horoscope for January 2021 Image
Astrology2 weeks ago

The Most Accurate Horoscope for January 2021

In this article, I will share with you the most accurate horoscope for January 2021 based on the Feng Shui flying stars chart. This horoscope includes...

Abundance Haircuts In January 2021 Image Abundance Haircuts In January 2021 Image
Abundant Living3 weeks ago

Abundance Haircuts In January 2021: Good And Bad Days To Cut Your Hair

Abundance Haircuts is a little-known sutra that reveals the negative consequences of cutting your hair on the bad days and the incredible benefits of cutting it...

Feng Shui Astrology for January 2021 Ox Image Feng Shui Astrology for January 2021 Ox Image
Astrology3 weeks ago

Feng Shui Astrology For January 2021: The Month of the Earth Ox

Feng Shui astrology is based on the Chinese calendar. The dates of the beginning and the end of the months are...

How to manifest image How to manifest image
Abundant Living3 weeks ago

How To Manifest With The Power Of the Five Elements

Everything in the Universe (including human bodies) consists of the energy of the five elements. They are the original source...

Advertisement

Daily Inspiration