In yoga there is a term called TAPAS, which refers to doing what it takes to break free of the false limitations we carry. TAPAS is a discipline, a conscious action and attitude we take on in order to break a pattern and to form one that is helpful instead.
A certain way of being has become so normalized in our culture: we are busy, distracted, overwhelmed mentally and emotionally, disconnected from our Source and dependent on the structure of ‘normalcy.’ It takes courage and often a challenging situation in life to prompt us to take the route less followed, to go against our habits and patterns, and to find out who we are at a deeper level (and there is always a deeper level!). As we do this we change, we grow, we let go of old behaviors and begin to forge a new relationship with ourselves and with life.
TAPAS is going against our resistance to what we know is right, or in other words, doing what we need to even though we have resistance to it! In my case, I have just chosen to do a 108-hour water fast because I know that stopping all food brings me to a deep introspective space and my clears my energy and channels of perception. If I have been struggling with something, taking a break like this allows me to create the necessary upleveling so that I can see and heal the situation from a different perspective.
There are two more teachings that go with TAPAS to create what we call in yoga ‘an action toward liberation’. The first is SVADYAYA, this term refers to our capacity for self-reflection and self-correction. To change a behavior, we must have the capacity to catch ourselves in the old pattern and make a conscious choice to change. This is not just at the level of thought and speech, but also at the emotional level. The latter one takes building emotional intelligence so we can discern the unhelpful emotion we are currently caught in and make the necessary steps to move through it. In my experience, when we work with emotions, we fast-track our path to freedom as energy and emotions (energy in motion) govern our frequency, and frequency is determining what we are attracting to us in any moment.
The second teaching that supports our TAPAS is ISHVARA PRANIDHANA or orientation to a higher awareness, dedication to a higher power or presence. It implies an understanding of the greater reality, that we are part of a whole, and there is an intelligence creating, organizing, and delivering everything. As we begin to break the bonds of our unhelpful behavior by applying TAPAS, we begin to harness the fluid power of the NOW, we access the intelligence of the greater/higher reality.
One last piece to this puzzle is to find ways (like water fasting, retreats, times in solitude or silence) to engage in the unknown. When I water fast, I come up against this over and over. I am in the unknown! I am taking each moment as it comes recognizing that I cannot use food to change my state. In my current fast I am also reading an educational book that is helping my SVADYAYA. I’m committing to seeing where I have been unconscious and making steps toward greater awareness and positive engagement with life. Because of the nature of our mind, we are all vulnerable to falling unconscious in certain areas of our life and finding a habitual way of living that might be OK but is not GREAT. If you are interested in living a great, even exceptional life, then it is important to take these dedicated times of upleveling yourself. The yogis understood how the mental/emotional bodies work and left us these great tools to repattern ourselves, so we step into being evolutionary beings capable of extraordinary things.
I’ll see you in the invisible field where we all connected heart to heart. Please know that every effort toward evolution is a giant step not just for yourself but for all beings. We are all in this together. As one rises, we all rise. Let’s raise the collective consciousness through our own inner investigation and commitment to living free and fulfilled lives.