How to Live Without Excess to Clear Your Energy
So far we have looked at non-harming, truthfulness, and non-stealing in our study of the ten guidelines for relating with the world and loving yourself. This post looks at the fourth guideline— non-excess (brahmacharya). Although I frame the discussion for moms raising small children, the overall lesson applies to everyone. I hope you can find the carryover for your life as you further your study of yourself.
We are currently in a craze with clearing out our homes from clutter, thanks to Marie Kondo. I personally find her approach to freeing up home space liberating. How freeing is it to examine the items in your home and let go of the ones that no longer serve your life as it is today? If an object does not spark joy in your heart, then you thank it for what it once gave to your life and either discard it or donate it. We will look at how to find a yogic approach to clearing out your home in the same light as Marie Kondo. Next, we will look at how to use this type of approach for our inner life as we examine our behaviors and thoughts.
The lesson on non-excess teaches us to send our energy in positive directions rather than focus on an excess of substances, sex, shopping, or other vices. It teaches us to cherish the material possessions we believe are essential and let go of the rest. Why buy lots of plastic storage bins to stash away objects if we only forget what is in the bins over time? What would happen if we cleared them out, donated what was usable for others, and freed up our living and energetic spaces? How would that feel?
This does not mean we live with only the dishes we use in a day. It means getting real about what’s truly important to us. For example, because I strongly dislike dusting, I no longer have small decorative items and small picture frames lining shelves. I find it tedious to dust all of them! Moreover, freeing up this clutter opens my space and allows me to feel more relaxed in my home so I can tend to what’s important to me.
We might also take more than we actually need, especially with food. In the most extreme example, consider the all-you-can-eat buffets. I noticed myself being excessive at East Indian lunch buffets, eating two (sometimes three) full plates of food! I had to ask myself, “When I do ever eat two or three plates of food in my normal life? I don’t! Then why do I need more, just because I’m at this buffet?” I’d walk away feeling stuffed, bloated, and riddled with indigestion that lasted the rest of the day. But I’ve learned to manage my plate appropriately and only use a second plate for cold items such as green salad or chutneys.
In your life, do you eat when you feel you’ve been satisfied by what was on your plate? Or do you keep eating because it tastes good or you believe you must clean your plate? The next time you overeat, notice how the food tastes and ask if it tastes as good as the first hungry bite you tasted. Chances are, you’d say the food isn’t as flavorful. Your body has an intelligent way of preserving optimal digestion by dulling the taste buds once satiation occurs. Do honor this body wisdom.
Indeed, we tend to also fall into addictions of many types. From coffee to TV shows to controlled substances to sex and physical affection, our addictions tend to manage us and rob us of energy to do the Divine work we are meant to do in our lifetime. What would happen if, after wanting one more cup of coffee, for example, we instead drank a small glass of water, sat still, and just breathed, eyes closed? Do this and notice the sensation of what you really need, and then tend to that. If you are tired, rest for five minutes or so. If you are thirsty, drink more water. If you notice you are lonely and feeding an emptiness inside, call someone you care about to say hello.
Examine the information you bring into yourself through social media, magazines, television shows, books, and movies. Does it uplift you or clutter your inner life? I tend to look at online gossip magazines or reality TV shows as “brain candy.” Every now and again when my work was very intellectual, I used to turn on reality programs. More and more, though, I found the material so offensive— it is all focused on gossip and vapid matters. I no longer consume this media. Instead, I turn on a cooking show when I want to zone out. I appreciate the chef’s skill and learn something new as I zone out. Similarly, the thoughts you share with other people feeds into this. Eliminate gossip from your exchanges with people to free yourself from harmful energy.
The more real we get with what we truly need to live dynamically in our lives, the more we can tend to our inner selves and to the Divine around us. As mothers, how can we conserve our vital energy so we can best do our Divine work? Once we distill our vital resources to what is truly important, we can have a freer exchange of energy with others while taking care of ourselves.
Comment below how you incorporate non-excess in your daily life. You can opt-in for my email list here to receive your Get Clear + Feel Dynamic toolkit for practices that set you up for practices that invest in your wellness as you better manage your energy.