Today has been a wonderful day. 2014 has been a wonderful year. As I have been contemplating and reading various takes on the notion of New year’s resolutions, I have decided to focus on the Yoga of action (Kriya yoga) as I step into 2015. I invite you to join me if what I am sharing resonates for you.
Kriya yoga is the yoga of action and it is comprised of three ingredients: Tapas (to heat, austerity, self-discipline, standing in the crossfire, being willing to keep focused and intentional despite desires to give up); Svadhyaya (self-study, self-reflection); and Isvara-pranidhanani (Surrender, devotion, trusting in the qualities of God, opening to all that is possible beyond oneself).
When setting an intention for something (i.e. New year’s resolution), the three ingredients described above become a part of creating the change needed to put your intention into practice. For example, if one of your resolutions involves getting out of bed without pressing snooze, know that your mind will show up and there will be mornings when your old patterns will dominate. The tapas is the discipline you need to overcome the challenges presented by the mind and to stay focused on your intention. Tapas may mean not picking up the phone to call someone you know isn’t healthy for you, or having the courage to call the person who is. Tapas may involve staying in the crossfire of the sensations of anger without doing anything – simply being with it and letting it pass. It may involve practicing meditation every day, or getting to the gym, or being intentionally happy… all requiring times of austerity. As you stick to your intention (or don’t), you will notice where you experience resistance, where you experience clarity, and the various states of mind that produce various results. This is Svadhyaya (self-reflection, self-study). Svadhyaya involves awareness of what is, moment-to-moment-to-moment and making any adjustments to the means by which you are trying to achieve your goal as you deepen your understanding of what is. And finally, devotion or surrender comes into play to acknowledge that you can only perform actions that are within your control. For all other factors that may have an influence on the outcome of your intention or resolution, there is a surrendering process that allows you to trust that what will be will be. Without attachment to the fruits of your actions, perform all actions with discipline and self-study, and leave the rest to the inexplicable Creator that some call God. Leave it to faith, or mother nature, or whatever greater source resonates for you. At the end of the day, none of it really matters 🙂
Whether you believe in a God or not, simply act, reflect, and trust. Be happy and content and bring the Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Isvara-pranidhanani to whatever it is that will facilitate that a peaceful, happy life.
Happy 2015. My resolution is daily meditation – practice, practice, practice, and live my life with fun, joy, and receptive to love.