Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thanks for Sharing

At first I wasn't sure what to write about my practice of Brahmacharya this week.  As you may recall, Brahmacharya refers to abstinence from sex. For a woman who is not dating anyone and does not go out to the bar and have wild one night stands, it is pretty easy to practice Brahmacharya.

It is also pretty typical for a woman in my situation to stay home and watch a movie on Friday night, which is exactly what I did this past Friday. I happened to pick a movie called "Thanks for Sharing." It is an independent film about people struggling with sex addiction. When I picked that movie, I wasn't even thinking about Brahmacharya. I only picked it because Mark Ruffalo is in it, and he is one of my favorite actors.

But watching it did give me some insight into addictive personalities.  It made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to casually joke about not having sex for a week or even a few months because I am not dating anyone. For the people in that movie, it would be hard to go for 24 hours without sex.

The movie did a an excellent job of showing how an addiction can completely overtake your life. There were a few different characters, each in their own stage of recovery.  One of the characters was very early in the recovery process.  For him, it was a challenge to just go outside of his house.  There was a really powerful scene where he was walking the streets of New York.  It showed how our society uses sex to sell almost everything.  He was afraid to go on the subway because of all the advertisements and the close proximity to people, so he started riding a bike everywhere.

Mark Ruffalo's character had been in recovery for five years.  In order to stay in recovery, he chose to remove any potential temptations from his life.  He didn't own a laptop or a television.  When he traveled for work, he would ask them to remove the TV from his room.  And he had not been on a date in five years.  During the movie he ends up meeting a woman and he attempts to have a 'normal' relationship.  If you want to know how it turns out, you will have to watch the movie.  

For me, the movie helped to reinforce some of the philosophies of yoga and the discipline it requires. These practices are about self observation, which on the surface may seem like a simple concept.  Yet there are a lot of people who, for whatever reason, are not in a position to practice self observation let alone contemplate making a change. 

It takes a lot of courage to recognize that you want to make a change and even more courage to take action to do so.  I have some things in my life that I am trying to change.  And during that process it can be easy to fall into more comfortable and familiar habits.  Through observing myself without judgement, I can find my way back to the path that I would like to follow.

Last weekend in class, we did not have time to talk about our practice of Asteya (non-stealing) and the teacher forgot to officially assign us to practice Brahmacharya for this past week.  Some of us decided to go ahead and practice it anyway, but a lot of the other girls in my class skipped it.

Since there was a misinterpretation of our assignment last week, we get to practice Brahmacharya again this week.  This time our instructor suggested that we read more about it and find some broader interpretations that might apply to our everyday life.

I found a nice article on Brahmacharya that focused on energy.  In yoga, we often refer to our Prana which means energy or life force.  This article suggested a broader interpretation of Brahmacharya, which is to conserve our energy and avoid wasting it where it is not needed.  By doing so, it will give us more energy to direct to our higher purpose, whatever that may be.

This week I will be looking for areas in my life where my energy is depleted and trying to find ways to harness my energy to move my life forward.  

I invite you to join me and find one thing this week that saps your valuable energy.  Then do something to change it.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section and I will be back next week for Brahmacharya - The Sequel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saw "Thanks for Sharing" a while back. It was a very powerful depiction of a the pain and anguish in trying to identify and work toward overcoming an addiction. As with many things we try to overcome or change, it is a slippery slope of ups and downs until we fail or prevail. One never knows because there are so many variables with addictions. I understand that is one reason alcoholics who attend AA never say they're cured.