A Tidy Mind

May 18, 2010 | Health, Wisdom, Yoga practices, Yoga teaching  | 1 comment

One of Patanjali’s niyama – precepts – is Saucha (which translates as purity or cleanliness). When I was training yoga teachers in Sydney, I would test the trainees to see if they could recall all 10 of the yama and niyama. Saucha often would be the one left out. I thought maybe, as precepts go,  it was not so cool as Satya (honesty) or Ishvarapranidhana (devotion to a higher power).
How many these days would want to be considered pure? I like Donna Fahri’s interpretation of Saucha as wholesome. It evokes sunny complexions instead of milky white, multigrain instead of gluten-free and natural instead of abstemious.
I’ve been listening to an audiobook of Solar, Ian McEwan’s new book, featuring a character who is a total slob. He is a very bright physicist who takes no responsibility for his body, eating gluttonously and carousing unabashedly. His home is a smelly pigsty collapsing under years of neglect. He may have a brilliant mind but he is completely at the mercy of citta vrtti (mind chatter) because he’s always thinking and wishing his life were different and doing nothing to change it.
I’m travelling to Bali in a couple of days, and in anticipation, I’ve invoked a habit I took up years ago: cleaning the house, doing the laundry and tidying my desk before I go. It’s a bit of a game that I engage in for 2 reasons.
1. I want to come home to a welcoming ambience, as though someone else had thoughtfully prepared the environment for a special guest.
2. If anything happened to me when travelling, god forbid, “all my affairs would be in order”.
If that last one sounds a little morbid, well, at least I’m not going to worry about anything while I’m gone, am I? And that’s going to mean I’ve nirodhaha-ed all those pesky citta vrtta.

1 Comment

  1. Have a lovely time in Bali Eve and Daniel – detachment needed from a lot of mess there.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

The Archives