The importance of ‘Brahmacharya’- Non-excess
And HOW to cultivate it in our everyday life.
Conserving vital energy in order to channel it in more productive directions.
To enter each day and each actions with a sense of holiness rather than indulgence, so that our days may be lived in the wonder of sacredness rather than the misery of excess.
Non-excess: Taming our overindulgence
We overdo sex, food, work, sleep, entertainment, material possession, spirituality etc. It just seems like we can’t quite grasp the concept of ‘enough’.
But why do we move past the place of enough into excess?
Our mind connects a certain emotional state with certain foods or activities. Our convoluted mind creates emotional attachment and memories to a simple body need.
Addiction occurs when we constantly feel the need to repeat the activity in order to get the same association of feelings.
We need to learn how to separate bodily needs from the mind’s stories.
We gotta strive towards moderation and balance- where we can enjoy what life has to offer yet not being too attached or addicted to these sensations.
Non-excess is not about non-enjoyment. It is actually about enjoyment and pleasure in it’s fullest experience.
Are you eating the food or is the food eating you? Are you doing the activity or is the activity doing you?
Honoring the concept of sacredness:
When gratitude and wonder sit in the heart, there is no need for excess.
If we stop and reflect on our lives and out at the world, we can see the sacred in the ordinary and the ordinary in the sacred; and every task becomes an opportunity to wonder and be amazed.
Often we find things to become dull and ordinary when we have kept too fast at a pace for too long and we’re out of balance in our lives.
But why is it so hard for us to just take the time to stop, rest and reflect?
FOMO: The EGO likes to feel important and doesn't like the idea that life can go on without oneself, it wants to be where the action is and feels the need to be kept busy especially in this culture of constant activity and productivity.
We got to realized that we don’t need to be the center of attention and activity all the time, we wear our busyness like a badge as if it would somehow impress the world or impress ourselves, making us feel important.
Rather than go to bed feeling a sense of accomplishment over a checked list, how about with a sense of wonder because you’ve been an attentive audience to the divine play in your daily life.
We also got to recognize what is important to us and what is not, and who we see as important and not; so that we don’t waste our time and energy on unnecessary distractions and sufferings but instead putting us on the path to cherishing all people and all task.
We aren’t embodied in this form to feel dead but to feel alive. To waste our energy on excess and obsessions but to bring it to full expression.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive!
A snippet of my own life:
I struggle with the concept of moderation when it comes to food- especially desserts.
Dessert to me signifies a couple of things:
- Companionship (E.g. when I go out with friends and my potluck parties)
- Exploring and learning (E.g. various culture while traveling)
- The satisfaction of work well done (E.g when I’m baking)
I struggle with conserving my energy for the things that truly matter, so I often feel unfulfilled at the end of the day.
It's a great challenge for me to just slow down and just do ‘nothing’. I always feel the need to always have a plan, the need to be occupied with daily ‘things to do’, but end up feeling overwhelmed and scattering my energy in unnecessary places.
I want to do everything, to catch up to everyone; not realizing it is to satisfy my EGO that wants to feel important, to be the center of the stage, because I’m tired of being sidelined all the time just like past experiences that still haunts me till today.
I also find it hard to say ‘no’ to people that are stealing or draining energy from me (E.g. when they say things that make me feel bad or when they give me their negative energy etc.) Instead, I need to learn how to not let it affect me, as its not my gift, and I don’t have to take it.
The point in life is to know what’s enough. For any activity we engaged in, we have to learn how to recognize the point of ‘just right’. Know what is enough, and stop there.
If we allow ourselves to move deeper into the practice of “walking with God” and trusting nature’s way, we will find that excess and other people thoughts don’t own us quite as much as it used to.
When we get the nourishment from being a witness to the mysteries and holiness of life, the pretend nourishment from excess and a filled EGO becomes less interesting to us.
“ Place no head above my own, believe nothing no matter where you read it or who has said it unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense.” — Buddha
Questions to reflect upon:
- Give examples of when:
- Your desires overpowered and subsume your studies, work or thoughts
- You had unmanageable cravings that lead to unhealthy behavior or habits
2. What have you done in the past to deal with overpowering desires/ obsessions? What worked and what didn't?
3. How can you practice pleasure without excess?
4. What makes you come alive and what drains your energy? How does it feel? What’s stopping us from coming alive and what can we do about it?
5. What are your beliefs/ thoughts/ values around ‘God’ and ‘sacredness’?