Atma-vinigraha = Self restraint

I live my life immersed in the Self, the divine joy, within. Then, self restraint comes of its own accord. Atma-vinigraha creates its own sublime joy with each act of self control.

Oh boy! This is a tough one, especially during an age that is so fraught with stimulation toward the practice of its opposite.

Not only that, but these are rough times for everyone. Truly, we are living through an extraordinarily difficult period of human history. In some way or another each of us is being stressed and challenged and stretched beyond our limits. It is in times like these that it is very easy to fall back compulsively on what gives us comfort, pleasure and gratification. This especially becomes problematic when such pursuits of the pleasurable are done in excess, or to the detriment of one’s body, mind or soul.

I practice self restraint – atma-vinigraha – with focus, and especially with ease and playfulness. I draw my senses back to the source, consciously conserving this precious divine energy. I direct my attention within, and in so doing protect my Self from needless distractions and energy drains.

The body does always follow the mind, so that if we sufficiently control the vrittis – the thought waves – we are able to more easily restrain the impulses of the body.

As we do live on a plane of existence defined by polar opposites, it is very easy to become captured by the duality of pain and pleasure. Particularly in a world that has become replete with painful events, experiences and eventualities. Now more than ever, we are susceptible to falling back into patterns which earlier in life served as an escape from pain and suffering. In many cases, we thought we beat it, and yet now, in these tumultuous times, it rears its ugly head once again.

Not to worry, as this is the very nature and purpose of these times. Our deepest and most debilitating samskaras* are emerging in this moment to be released and cleared, once and for all. Therefore, we can allow this process to happen in a manner that is non-judgmental and free from anxiety. It is the human condition you know, so everyone is wrestling with similar types of challenges around self restraint.
Remember, if you’re a baby boomer, then you’re born under the same stars as millions of other baby boomers. If you’ve studied your astrology, you know what that means! (i.e., It’s no accident that the hippies and flower children of the 60’s and 70’s so fully embraced a counter-culture that was known for sex, drugs and rock & roll.)

*Samsakra – The imprints left on the subconscious mind by experience (from this or previous lives), which then color all of life, one’s nature, responses, states of mind, etc. Per Global Oneness website

“Her intention to delve deeper was almost thwarted
by the intriguing things at the surface.”

So, where do we go from here in an age when every computer, TV, radio and iPhone/Blackberry/Android is blaring stuff that is so in your face with all things pleasurable and pain-mitigating? How on earth does one skillfully navigate around the many and diverse shoals (read objects) of alluring attractions and attractive allurements?
At every turn we are coaxed and cajoled, captivated and charmed by sounds, smells and sights full of temptation. We are bewitched and beguiled by every form of seductive enticement and entrapment. Challenging for even the greatest yogis among us. The practice of detachment and dispassion has probably never been so difficult.

At this very moment I put my hands together and pray for blessings and right understanding. Right intention will always open a protective umbrella of grace around my being, even if I am not always successful at following through in a manner that meets my goals and expectations. As “God does help those who help themselves”, I remember to stay out of the candy store when I am the most vulnerable. Of course, if I am a sugarholic, I bar myself from entry for at least the rest of this lifetime, especially if I am prone to ailments or dis-ease which feed off sugar. Of course, each of us will have to discern just what exactly is our sugar.


We do live in quite interesting times and therefore we are empowered to formulate interesting responses to life regardless of how it comes rushing at us. Whereas stress is almost always the trigger that is pulled, which then pulls us to our nearest and dearest negative samskaras, much of what we can do easily and in the moment to ward off our favorite temptations falls into the realm of simple stress reduction techniques. Meditation, deep breathing, power walking, aqua therapy, sungazing, hatha yoga, reading holy books and sacred poetry, singing & chanting, mantra repetition and gardening are just some of the ways in which we can quickly short circuit the process of acting out on our biggest piece of chocolate cake.

Prayer for Self Control
Heavenly Father,

I pray Dear God that you will plant self control in me that will help me grow up like a tree of strength. I pray that you will help me rein in my passions, desires and emotions and make them subject to your Spirit. Please give me the self-discipline I need.

– A Gracious Word Blogspot

Contemplation for the Week
Sreyas versus Preyas
Sreyas are beneficial; preyas are pleasurable.
Which do we want now, knowing what we will experience later?

There Is Much Joy In Self Restraint

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I live my life totally absorbed in forbearance – and cultivate peace and joy wherever I go.

Life on planet Earth is really heating up, isn’t it?! Here it is very hot; there it is very cold. In some places it is very rainy or completely under water, while other regions suffer from unending drought and years without rainfall. One never knows what is just around the corner that will test one’s mettle and forbearance.

This evolving fact of life is especially true in the more “civilized” nations of the West where many have lived a relatively pampered existence. All of the taken-for-granted luxuries are now under threat of loss due to the economic downturn. Unlike the third world countries, which have always suffered from lack, many of us are now experiencing deprivations for the very first time. This emerging context demonstrates the need for me to be truly detached from the vicissitudes of life. Planetary transitions, with such profound and fundamental change, are never easy or without major challenges.

However, by practicing forbearance, I can much more easily go with the flow. As a raging river might carry a payload of debris downstream with indeterable determination, so may I move with the ever-changing circumstances of life. While I may have no control whatsoever about what happens in my life, I can determine my attitude at every moment in time.

As I practice forbearance – the bearing of the polar opposites with both equanimity and equipoise – I empty the vessel of my being of all that holds me back, and create space for the virtues and values which will impel me forward.

In reality, life in 2011 will be challenging for each and every one of us. What will separate those who will soar in these times of karmic adversity from everyone else is the daily practice of forbearance. Forbearance is not often talked about in the modern age because society has systematically pushed its inestimable worth to the fringes of our consciousness. Now is the time for me to immerse myself in this great and noble way of being.

Forbearance is the distinguishing hallmark of every great being who has ever walked the earth!

I live each day with an abiding forbearance in my heart and mind, body and soul.

In the final analysis, dharma, righteousness, always wins,
never unrighteousness.
Truth is always victorious; untruth always fails in the end.
Patience, forbearance, always wins out, not anger.
One who is patient becomes established in the Absolute, in Brahman.

– the Mahabharata

Job is tested by one plague after another, by one misfortune after another.

Essay on Titiksha – Forbearance

A Prayer for Forbearance
Whatsoever is brought upon you
take cheerfully and be patient;
For gold is tried in the fire,
and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity

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I am full of Shradda – faith – and place all my trust in the Divine – the Guru.

It is very easy to lose faith these days; however, I know that everything is happening for the best.  I know that everything is proceeding for the highest good of every living thing in Creation.  When the inherent perfection of Creation is truly apprehended, then our lives can be understood as an outworking of this perfect order.

Although I may lose heart in moments of  great adversity, I know that it is always in these moments that the greatest spiritual growth and inner transformation will occur.

Think about your life.  Do a quick retrospective and see how much you have grown through the toughest and roughest experiences.  This IS the way the game is set up, so why not use it to your full advantage.  Then, like Arjuna on the battlefield,  you may courageously translate the most challenging occasion into the most profoundly transformative of all.

Remember, that it is only because of shraddha – faith – that you take your first step each and every morning of your life.  Shraddha is the very lifeblood of existence, especially in this Earth realm, where so much occurs in the crucible of earthly polarities which incessantly tests the state of your faith.

Perhaps it’s time to “Let Go and Let God.”

That’s it:  I let go and let Guru!


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