Tapas

September 8, 2016

 

These last days of summer hang heavy, overcast, sticky and sour...

A thunderstorm brews unseen but is felt all the same. An electric energy that is both the catalyst for change and the change itself. Without a peep of blue sky in this urban enclosure the outside is on my skin and the inside of me, finds its way out. This visceral humidity reminds me of the yogic term Tapas, Sanskrit 'to heat' and at the same time 'to discipline'.

 

Just as fire is the element of transformation, turning water into vapour and matter to ash, this Tapas heat burns away the unneeded in our Selves. Though just as with every yogic rite, ritual and reason this niyama of Fire doesn't simply run ruley, it is a self-built burning - sown with a seed of intention, directed by positivity and kept by the will of purpose. 

Tapas is not just heat for heat's sake. It is committing to positive evolution and growth.

 

In a time of quick fixes, get rich quick and fast and hard, can we handle the heat?

Too dependant on motion, too indulgent in the newness of a change.

 

As we reach toward the new and sail through the honeymoon period soon we hit a resistance, a friction, the Tapas. Us humans act on habit, rely on routine and take comfort in our expectations, though as conscious beings we know that life, every second, is change. But not all change is growth. To chart new territory, to break the habit, to change our own direction takes our undivided focus (Dharana) on the vision and Tapas burns away that which distances us from it. The question is, will you let it?

 

  • How can we better understand our relationship with challenge and too our relationship with commitment (to ourselves, to our goals, to others)?

  • How can we better welcome our challenges?

  • How can we thank the people and situations that said NO to us?

 

Make a change.

Feel the heat of resistance

melt away old habits

and burn through ruinous conditioning.

Offer negative behaviour

into the fire of tapas

and chart your course toward freedom.

-Nicolai Bachman from The Path of the Yoga Sutras

 

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