Walking with the Divine - The 4th Yama: Brahmacharya
The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.
-- Morihei Ueshiba
This weekend, we welcome the Spring Equinox, a time in which dark and light, winter and spring, moon and sun, are in perfect harmony. At this point of celestial equilibrium, we are reminded of balance, which is echoed by the 4th Yama, brahmacharya, or moderation.
Brahmacharya asks us how can we distribute our energy wisely? How can we provide ourselves with the right amount of what we need – physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally – so that we are satisfied rather than over-saturated or over-stimulated?
Instead of seeking more, how can we be satisfied with what is? What are we grateful for now?
Conversely, what areas of our lives need more attention? Where can we show ourselves more self-care and self-love?
How can we recognize and unify all of the different parts of ourselves – all of our lights and shadows?
How can we supply ourselves with just enough to cultivate the energy needed to see and pursue a path of greater purpose – a path towards unity consciousness, an enlightened state of wholeness and oneness in which we feel a connection to all beings.
The previous yamas prepare us for this practice, encouraging us to be kind (ahimsa) as we learn to acknowledge and accept (satya) ourselves for who we are so that we may come to a sense of self-reliance (asteya). And from that point of inner richness, how do we achieve and maintain inner stability – inner harmony – so that we can exhibit our truest selves in our relationships with others. How can we maintain our individuality within the context of the collective? What roles do we play that only we can play?
Once we find a strong sense of self, the rest, including relationships, with others and the greater collective will naturally follow.
In fact, within a space of true equilibrium, neither internal nor external forces can throw off our balance. In this space, we do not see in black and white, but rather shades of such – we live in the gray, we live in the in-between.
True, brahmacharya encourages us to not only live in harmony with our soul’s purpose, but to also embrace the inevitable dualities – the grays – of life – the beauty of the struggle, the extraordinary of the mundane, the stars that adorn the darkest of nights, and the phoenix that must first burn before it rises.
By existing in a state of balance and moderation rather than dysfunction and excess, we can cultivate the space needed to find divinity within. In fact, with brahma referring to the divine essence of being, and charya meaning to be followed, brahmacharya relates to this idea of connecting with the divine that exists both within ourselves and others.
As such, brahmacharya inspires us to work towards unity consciousness in two-fold.
First, we establish inner balance by honestly acknowledging our needs. What is the right amount of what we need and how can we provide that for ourselves so that we can care for others?
Second, we honor and fight for the equality that exists between ourselves and others but is not always recognized. How can we advocate for equity and how can we right injustices? By understanding that we are all inherently connected, we can begin to act with intention and impact greater than if we were to do so from a place of ego or separateness.
Consider how you are finding balance within your life. How does that affect your daily life? How does it ripple out and impact your relationships with others and society? In fact, by definition, unity consciousness is not a sole endeavor because it is dependent on everyone achieving a sense of inner divinity. Together, we rise. Together, we ascend.
Unity consciousness is a state of enlightenment where we pierce the mask of illusion which creates separation and fragmentation. Behind the appearance of separation is one unified field of wholeness. Here the seer and scenery are one. – Deepak Chopra
Further, there should be no reason that we separate ourselves from others just as there is no reason that we should separate our everyday lives from the divine truth of eternity. True, the idea of separateness is the Universe’s greatest cosmic joke, allowing us to think that we are separate from each other, that we are separate from the divine, when in reality, we are one.
We are but divine fractals of a beautiful, collective existence. As luminous stardust, we exist as a part of the cosmos, as part of the heavens.
And so, with stardust in our souls, we, too, then carry the wisdom of the divine Universe within us.
We, too, are divine.