“In fact, our lives change so radically that we forget why it was that we were unhappy in the first place.”
-Rolf Gates, Katrina Kenison: Meditations from the Mat
Just what is it that can so radically change my life as to forget my unhappiness?
In Yogic terms it is sauca, the practice of purity.
So now, my question becomes: what is the definition AND the practice of purity, sauca?
As Gates and Kenison go on to explain, the first step in the definition of purity is an examination of my philosophy of life. They pose a few questions:
What is the source of my philosophy of life? (Garbage in, garbage out!)
Am I defined by my gender, race, and accomplishments?
Are there always people whose lives are better than mine?
Am I deeply ashamed of who I am and must conceal my real self from you?
Will you like me if I am impressive?
Yoga is about the unification of mind, body and Spirit. Christianity is the mystery of being fully human and fully divine. Aboriginal Spirituality is about being part of the whole. Each is about relationship, to self, Creator, and Creation. Clean up self and I begin to clean up (purify) the whole.
Now the tough part: Gates and Kenison suggest a simple step, like making my bed and cleaning my room. UGH! However, I can brag just a bit as I am married to a woman who equates household cleanliness with a sense of order. Today, in our 47th year of marriage, I make the bed and clean the room, even when she is not around.
In my quest for purity, I have observed a growing ability to focus. This began with a challenge to exercise and ‘ardent effort’ to focus. I had to practice setting an intention to focus. This practice is becoming a focal point (pun intended) of daily time with my Higher Power, God. The act of stating an intention becomes the mystery of acting on the intention. I notice these actions happening more than intentionally doing them. (Yes, it’s confusing to me also. Thus, the mystery.)
So………What does this have to do with purity?
I am coming to accept that purity is a state of focus. Where do I direct my attention? What is my source of input, garbage or grace?
I notice that, regardless of the source of my Higher Power, the substance of this Power is love. Love has always inspired fulfillment, peace and service. Love has always taken me beyond myself. Love has made me wonder where it came from. Love has made me wonder why I was unhappy in the first place. Love has always been an act toward you. Once the act has been completed, there is an emotion of accomplishment of a purpose beyond me. Surprise!
Purity? Where do I find it?
It is in the practice of focus beyond self. It is the practice of surrender of the garbage to make space for God’s purpose. It always leads me to restful waters, with you.