Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
This listing may seem prolonged, to the casual reader; but for those with serious intent to make self-improvement a worthwhile project, it is very important to understand the nuances of character 'folds'. The original list of Sw. Sivananda-ji holds 38 separate items. You will have noted last week that here, several have been grouped together. This is not intended to lessen the impact of each item, but to collate concepts. The work for you is to write each out separately in the little book and think more on what each thing means to you and how it affects your life. Let us continue;
ATTACHMENT; This is a biggie. It is also, in some ways, the most contentious. Not all attachment is necessarily a negative in our transactional lives. After all, without appropriate attachment to our loved ones, we would be unmotivated to work for their upkeep, to feed them, to nurture.
The context here however, is whether attachment has held you back from spiritual fulfilment. Never mind the spiritual; misplaced attachment can impede on daily life itself. We are all aware of those who have been unable to release anything, hoarders and collectors of anything you care to name. Those are the extremes of course, but a very visual expression of how the human being can bind itself. The voyeuristic side of our natures can look and point and empathise or criticize what we see there; but now think about this. Advaita points to our bound souls. The Universal Being which we are got a taste of the material world and then became addicted to it. It lost itself in the physical world. If it is fortunate, it will reach a place where there is a window through which it sees its true home, uncluttered and pure. Enough of a glimpse to cause it to start seeking return to base.
To do this it has to let go of things into which it lost itself. This is best explained through the BMI of Gurudev and will be a major part of ongoing saadhana.
DESIRE; and here we will bundle also LUST, ENVY, JEALOUSY, UNCHASTENESS. Now these require little in way of explanation, per se, but it is worth just a little thinking. Automatically our minds have jumped to the extremes of the physical in respect to these words. It is the stuff which drives the soap opera of life.
Stop for a moment though. Each of these (as with all states of being) arise from a germ of thought. The "proto-desire", as it were. It does not have to pertain to the obvious. Any time we say "I want", we have expressed desire. When the want becomes a drive to obtain, we are expressing lust. If we find another has the want and we do not yet have it there arises envy. If we find that we can never have the want satisfied, then jealousy predominates. None of these has to be excessive but are sure to sour our natures at one point or another.
The unchaste look does not have to mean dressing in a manner which can be considered inappropriate. It can also be our general demeanour. We see it in young ones often; the snarling lip, the lifted brow; the disdainful glance. Are we aware of it in ourselves? Place a smile. Keep it there.
OVER-EATING; this includes also eating too often. We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded with reminders about food and however much we may think otherwise, all of us (in the Western world certainly) live to excess. Even when we are living comparatively simply, it is still so much more than we need for the most part. It has become a social problem in many places. Sanskrit tradition advises that food is merely a medicine for hunger. The minute hunger is 'cured' cease from the medicine.
This is one of the most difficult vices to overcome!
MISERLINESS (also SELFISHNESS, 'CROOKED-MINDEDNESS' & DOUBLE-DEALING.) Anyone else get the image of Scrooge here? We might smile at that thought but there are bound to have been times when we have felt the need to close our purses. If it has been for self preservation in lean times, this is not to be condemned. However, it is an injunction of virtually every spiritual doctrine that as much as we are able we should give. Our minds can become crooked with greed, or simply by the desperation of thinking ourselves to be in a state of lack. The miserliness pertains specifically to the monetary and material aspects; selfishness extends to the emotional and mental aspects. The double-dealing may not just be the shady marketeer, but can be the person who is given too much change in a transaction and, on realising, purses the sum knowingly.
Think on about these. Next week we will conclude the list