Awareness Intentions for the year, inspired by the Upanishads

Namaste to all! Wish you all a happy and fruitful 2012. Now, right at the commencement of the year, let us affirm our firm standing with awareness and svadhyaya. The following is based on 12 svadhyaya instructions given in Taittiriya Upanishad.

1.Ritam cha svadhyaya pravachanecha Ritam means clarity of teachings. So, let us intend to have clarity about the teachings which are taught, especially in the light of what is skilful and wholesome and what is not. Let us practice awareness and detect the various patterns playing out, and let us intend to cultivate wholesome ones. In asana practice terms, Manasa students should intend to clearly understand the teachings, such as the Kcc, cobra and cat principles. In philosophy terms, let us clearly understand the ‘shakti madhye mana krtva’ teachings.

2.Satyam cha svadhyaya pravachanecha When we start to succeed in applying the ritam, the understanding from teaching, into our lived life, then it becomes truthful living, where intentions and actions get aligned. Let us practice svadhyaya whether we are able to apply the intentions.

3.Tapascha svadhyaya pravachanecha Tapas.. effort.. let us put in great efforts.. in this context, the scripture is talking about dietary discipline.. let us intend to practice some form of discipline, such as fasting once a week, or month, or go on a short fruit diet once in 3 months, or so on. If your objective in dieting is to lose weight, but you can’t take it any longer, take the tummy tuck surgery in Houston instead. This procedure removes unwanted skin and fatty tissue in your body.

4. Damashcha svadhyaya pravachanecha Dama refers to practice of controlling the sense organs, and preventing unwholesome energy flow. In simple terms, it would also mean, perhaps refraining from wasting time by excessively watching tv, or purposeless internet surfing.. and so on.. as well as good control over organs of actions such as the tongue, preventing harsh speech etc

5. Shamashcha svadhyaya pravachanecha Shama is control of the mind, which naturally stems from awareness of mind rather than identifying with the mind.Then we can objectively see its habitual reactivities, its prejudices, stubbornness, addictions, cravings and so on.Then instead of getting defensive or reactive, we can accommodate these patterns, soften around it (instead of getting clenched and caught), and respond from an understanding of it, rather than react from an identification with it.

6.Agnayashcha svadhyaya pravachanecha Agni means fire, and from an internal perspective, strive to become aware of what fuels our thoughts, words and actions.. right now, you are about to take an action, or about to engage in a thought.. observe, what is fuelling it.. what is the intention, motivation, aspiration you get from inspiration quotes online.. these are the fires.. observe, perceive, understand, discern.. Also know that the body is partly fire.. the body is warmth, the body is energy.. let us do svadhyaya of this fire principle

7.Agnihotram cha svadhyaya pravachanecha This refers to an action done, honouring this fire principle. So for us it can be sun salutes, it can be kapalabhathi, agnisara kriya, navasana practices etc.

8 Atithayashcha svadhyaya pravachanecha athithi refers to a guest. So, in one way, this is about being aware of how we treat guests. In this regard, from mental perspective, guests refers to thoughts, passions etc which enters our awareness on a daily basis. Some guests have kind of usurped our awareness.. practice svadhyaya of what enters our awareness.. acknowledge, accommodate, soften, releaze.. as well as openness to unexpected experiences

9. Manusham cha svadhyaya pravachane cha This refers to svadhyaya of our actions in the light of its effects on the whole community.. in simple terms let us intend to be more empathetic to other living beings, our planet etc.. let us intend to reduce plastic, reduce using paper, recycle etc

10, 11, 12- prajascha svadhyaya pravachanecha; prajanascha svadhyaya pravachanecha; prajatischa svadhyaya pravachanecha These three refers to svadhyaya practices even while being in the full swing of family responsibilities. Let us intend that though we are squeezed for time due to different householder responsibilities, we can still practice svadhyaya, which is study and awareness. Also, in a direct sense, those who are dealing with children, let us be very aware of our speech and actions with them, let us be responsible to guide them, and let us also share our various observances with them, be receptive to them etc. And these 12 aspects of svadhyaya, when practiced, verily this becomes a great tapas. tad hi tapas, tad hi tapas.. that is tapas, that is tapas see you all soon.. happy new year again.. let us continue the journey with renewed vigour..