"Explore daily the will of God?"
C. G. Jung, from Meditations from the Mat
So! This little phrase introduced us to a personal study of tapas, the third Niyama of our Yoga tradition. When studied in texts and teachings, tapas is referred to as self- discipline. Personally, my experience with self-discipline has been a chore, taken on with a negative outlook. It seems that no matter how hard I try to discipline myself, I fail. My efforts work for periods of time, like a day, or week, or even a few months. However, I always end up in failure. OK! I hear my Yogi mind yelling at me: There is no failure, there is learning. Many have also heard these words from my mouth. Yet when it comes to the term “discipline”, I think of success or failure. I am sure there is some childhood trauma that lurks under this mind set but as of today, I haven’t brought it to mind. So, I struggle with living a disciplined life.
Mr. Gates, who authors these daily meditations, has offered me a totally new perspective on tapas, or self-discipline. His definition is this: tapas is simply enthusiasm for health. He has challenged me to identify the underpinnings of my practice of tapas, and for my life practice. This has brought me in to an exploration of the underpinnings of my practice. In taking on this challenge, I have come to a greater respect for the concept of practicing life from a variety of perspectives. Caution! I am not good at multi -tasking so I can easily become overwhelmed and fragmented. That being said, my current focus in on the practice tapas as an exploration. This allows my childhood days of outdoor adventure to temper my expectations. I am cultivating an attitude of discovery rather than an anticipation of the work of discipline. As a young boy, I spent hours and hours exploring the woodlands around my Upper Michigan home. It was a great life, filled with adventure and fantasy.
Today, this childhood mindset is serving me well, but with caution. The addict in me used to thrive on fantasy as an escape from reality. Discover and adventure in pursuit of God’s will gives me a whole new and refreshing outlook. Growth is becoming invigorating, generating enthusiasm. This is rippling through all aspects of my life. Soon, I expect that this new outlook will make it easier to drag myself out of bed in the morning, but I’ll leave that task for another day.
For the moment, I will rest with the excitement that living in sobriety doesn’t have to be a disciplined chore. Sobriety will continue to open new connections of mind, body and Spirit. Yoga will continue to enhance the discoveries of my 12 step efforts. Each day will be a new exploration of God’s will and I will grow out of the mindset that my outlook on tapas, self-discipline, is a pass-fail expectation. Rather, I will explore each day with varying levels of enthusiasm. The journey will continue to offer ample opportunity to enjoy the times beside restful waters and the excitement of new discoveries.
Namaste’. Keep coming back.