Self-reflection through the Study of Yamas and Niyamas: Brahmacharya
The religious study component presents some very interesting areas for self-reflection. I consider myself to be an Agnostic (one who holds the view that any ultimate reality-as God-is unknown and probably unknowable). I would probably be best served to have some real in-depth discussions concerning the agnostic and atheist (one who denies the existence of God) definitions. At any rate I have some very strong beliefs regarding the concept of God. Organized religion is a concept that I don’t believe in and do not support. I have no faith based system (belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; firm belief in something for which there is no proof). I consider myself to have a belief system (a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing; conviction of the truth or some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon, when based upon examination or evidence). Additionally, I consider myself to have a spiritual outlook (Spirit: akin to blow, breathe; an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms; supernatural being or essence). With this said, areas for further discussion and evaluation are: religion, faith, belief & spirit. With respect to God, I look at the Sun as fulfilling this ‘category’. Without the Sun (God) there is nothing else on our planet, Earth. The Sun (God) makes everything possible—without the Sun (God) there is no Prana (lifeforce/breath). This relationship (faith, religion & spirit) and associated challenge(s) was recently discussed in the Denver Post-April 4, 2011, Fitness Section, shedding additional light on a very personal and emotionally charged topic. Question: Who/what keeps the Earth, Solar System, Universe functioning? With this said, we move to another area of the religious, faith, belief & spirit discussion—Evolution, Creation and Intelligent Design. I am a firm believer of evolution. Not to be over-looked and a topic for another paper is the big-bang theory—how was the universe and our solar system created? What additional forms of life exist “out there?”
The self restraint component of Brahmacharya continues to be a very interesting personal study: Primarily my diet and lifestyle (if I remember correctly, it has been said, ‘we are what we digest’). By choice, I have a very simple lifestyle and a clean diet. By simple definition I am a vegetarian (have been strict for the past four years & hypocritical-ate fish-since 2001–then a number of years ‘on and off’ since 1976). Other areas of self restraint/abstaining from as it relates to lifestyle, includes but not limited to: alcohol of any kind (Jan. 2000), gluten (Jan. 2009), sugar/high fructose corn syrup, soda, fast food, tobacco and most forms of strict western medicine. These are several of the very important components of my lifestyle/diet that I am of aware of on a daily basis. By my own admission I am very strict, rigid and focused with regards to my diet and ingestion of nutrition. I leave room for moderation and self-evaluation based upon each individual situation. Equally relevant, in my opinion, is the concept of moderation (vs. abstaining from)—I am continually striving for more moderation (balance) as it relates to my pursuit of a ‘quality’ life.