Brahmacharya is the fourth Yama, the fourth of ten principles for living happy. It’s a good one! It calls for moderation in order to channel your energy in the right direction.
Translated from Sanskrit, Brahmacharya means ‘activity or conduct that leads toward the Divine’. Whether you believe in the Divine, in God, or not doesn’t matter here. For me this is all about a way of living that leads toward a higher Self that is rooted in peace and contentment. It’s a happy You!
This principle relates to how we use our essential life energy or ‘ojas’. Our essential life energy is what drives us forward in life. It can be considered our instinctive, basic or sexual energy. For this reason, the principle is sometimes interpreted as calling for chastity or celibacy, though this is a bit too extreme and even unhealthy for most people.
Extremes of any kind tend to provoke imbalance. Eating too much, or too little. Working or training too hard. Being overly self-critical. Sleeping around or abusing sexual power. Imposing extreme religious or political views. Becoming fanatical about yoga and health food.
We know when we are off balance. The body tends to give us signs of exhaustion, pain or illness, we feel confused or like we’re doing battle against the world. Manipulation and abuse of sexual power can lead to pain, attachment, depression, jealousy, resentment and even hatred.
What is it that drives you to extremes? Do you sometimes feel impulsive in following quick-fix desires?
Brahmacharya is about connecting to that driving, often instinctive, energy and channeling it to reach your highest potential.
Moderation is the key to balance
Balance is necessary for happiness and health
Here is a process for finding more balance and positive energy in your life, breaking negative patterns and channeling your energy where you want and need it most.
BREAKING BAD HABITS – BOOSTING THE POSITIVE
This requires self-awareness first of all to become conscious of what habits or patterns are not good for you. Then it requires discipline, courage and ultimately action to bring about change.
- Identify the negative: Take a moment to reflect and write down a list of activities, people, places and food/consumables that sap away your energy and make you (and maybe others) feel bad. They lead to a negative cycle of energy.
- Focus on what makes you feel great: Write down a list of what makes you feel really good (and I don’t mean for just a short-lived moment). When you do these things your energy is even boosted. It is a positive cycle of energy.
- Take Action: Make a decision each day or each week to stop doing one thing from the List 1 and to spend more time doing something from List 2.
- Awareness and Courage: If you find yourself drifting into old habits and patterns that don’t make you feel good, STOP, take a few deep breaths into your belly and have the courage to take a different course of action. Focus on List 2 and what makes you feel GOOD!
- Celebrate: Celebrate and congratulate yourself for every little success, and renew your commitment to channeling your energy in the positive direction each day. If you slip up sometimes and fall back into negative patterns, remember to offer yourself plenty of compassion, to reconnect to your truth and then go ahead and do something straight away from List 2.
Brahmacharya is about finding the middle ground. Remember, you are the Master of your energy. Its up to you to decide where you want to put it and you must take responsibility for the consequences. The consequences of doing what feels great for you might just be a sense of ecstatic happiness!! Watch out!