In our meditation class, we moved on from ahimsa, non-violence, to satya or truthfulness. We examined the ways in which we are truthful to ourselves and to others, noticing how truth resonates in our bodies and also questioning whether the assumptions we make about others are true or not, and how our assumptions may affect the outcome of an exchange with another person. We then looked at the interesting question of truth in the spirit of non-violence, or how the truth can harm another depending on the circumstances. We talked about intention and what makes a 'white lie' acceptable.
After satya, asteya, or non-stealing. The question of what belongs to me, and what is the right of another? Giving credit where credit is due, naming creative inspiration, standing on the shoulders of giants, all of these fall into this category. And then what about the person who steals for the sake of feeding a child or caring for a sick relative? Again the question of intention and context. Food for thought.
Bramacharya, or restraint, moderation is next. In a free market, capitalist society, this concept is foreign at best. Why curb appetites if it's possible to indulge them? And then, how does the lack of moderation affect our thoughts, our words, our actions? Can bramacharya also be thought of as a form of ahimsa? In the yoga sutras, there is some indication that restraint refers to celibacy, the ultimate reason being that sexual energy can feed the spiritual development of the individual when it is not spent. But perhaps the larger meaning is that, when we are not feeding and consuming the energy of our desires, whatever they may be, we have more space in which to be present, to seek connection and to nourish spirit.
Lastly, aparigraha, non-greed. What do I need and what am I hoarding? Can I recognize that my attachment to material things, my attachment to relationships, even my attachment to spiritual growth might be the very ball and chain that keeps me stuck in one place? Why do we compare ourselves with others and why do we covet what our neighbors, friends, colleagues seem to have that we are lacking? Again, we tuned into a felt sense of greediness, and imagined how that might color our thoughts, our words, our actions.
As we summarized, we talked about the relationship between the last 3, asteya, bramacharya and aparigraha, saw resonance, similarities. In a way, they all relate to a view of the glass as half-empty. Perhaps, with practice, we can turn our vision around...