I've been thinking about Brahmacharya this week. It's the fourth yama or yogic observance. For monks it means celibacy, and for the rest of us it means being faithful to one's spouse (in thought, word, deed), and being vigilant about other types of lust, too (eatin', drinkin', etc.).
It's probably the yama that causes the most shuddering among novices, or those folks who have already fled the Catholic church and are disappointed to think that being a yogi means bein' all hung about sex.
But it's not that simple. Brahmacharya is not a finger-wagging moral imperative from some higher church authority, it's a self-preserving measure. So much of our every day energy gets used up by lust: "I want that, I need that, I want him, I want her, I want a beer, I want a new book about meditation..." It doesn't seem to matter if we're single or married or straight or gay or on a diet or eating everything in sight: lust is there in the mind, causing us to mentally swerve away from the source of all our satisfaction.
So the observance of Brahmacharya is primarily a mental phenomenon: keeping the mind on one's inner peace rather than on the things ya want.
So that's been my challenge this week. Cuz I want a lot.
I took a beginner hatha class today and I was unbelievably inflexible. The last time I was this inelastic, Clinton was in the White House. It's the last 9 days I've spent at the gym w/o proper stretching. Not good.
But I followed my class with the noon-time open meditation at IYI, and that was neat. I haven't been to one in ages.
As if being rewarded, I got home and found a Yoga Hari CD in the mail--all the chants we did at the ranch. I'm listening to it as I type.
I belong to a monkey-oriented news group, and today's post was interesting. I can't find a link to the news story it references, but in brief, I'll quote:The Daily Yomiuri
Tuesday, December 18, 2001
Jun Sugimori, Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
Walking upright stimulates brain of monkey
Monkeys walking on two feet have long been an integral part of circus
acts. The way they waddle from side to side appeals to our sense of comedy.
Now, however, Prof. Shigemi Mori and other researchers at the National
Institute for Physiological Sciences have succeeded in training monkeys to
walk erect smoothly, as humans do, by working with them from the age of 2
Through this research, the scientists have learned that there is a
considerable difference in brain function when an animal walks bipedally and
when it walks on all fours.
The researchers expect their findings to provide clues as to the
influence of bipedalism on the evolution of the human brain.
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