- by Swami Yogatirthananda Saraswati (Switzerland), From YogaMag November 2001
Starting the month of sincerity meant putting into practice what I had seen in the preceding three months about serenity, regularity and absence of vanity. It is not enough to have insights and understanding if the ideas do not become part of everyday life. If this training in the ITIES is to have any meaning, it definitely implies the sincerity to live according to a new understanding. Sincerity comes after absence of vanity, because sincerity is the hard work after lofty ideas.
But how to live sincerely? For me, it meant harmonizing thought, word and deed. To make thinking, speaking and acting one unity. The tool, the path is sincerity but the result also is sincerity. Sincerity is a constant effort to strive for and reach this unity of thought, word and deed, but once achieved, the resulting sensation and satisfaction is one of sincerity.
The mind looking for facility often encounters conflict. If thought, word and deed coincide and constitute one harmonious entity, then there is smoothness or flow. For instance, I want to write a letter and I do not do it because it is difficult or unpleasant. The result is uneasiness, conflict or even guilt. But if thought is followed by action, no matter what, without intervening thoughts, without prevarication, then there is no conflict, no waste of energy. Sincerity makes the action follow the preceding thought or word. Sincerity implies honesty because to think one thing and to do another is dishonest.
I became aware of the monkey mind, the image so often given in books on yoga or meditation. The mind is like a monkey jumping here and there. And while the mind jumps around, the gap between thought, word and deed grows. If the monkey mind were still, the letter would be written immediately. A synonym for sincerity is artlessness. The jumping of the mind is artful and crafty, but to harmonize thought, word and deed it takes 'only' a sincere will.
In order to stop the jumping mind and to unite thought, word and deed, it is necessary to know the thought, to control the word and to adapt the action. I saw that behind the thought there was a desire, and by using the SWAN theory, by writing down Strengths, Weaknesses, Ambitions and Needs, I could tell that the ambition was the desire behind each thought.
I also looked differently at the first sloka of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras - 'Yoga anushasanam'. I quote now from a talk by Swamiji on 'Mind and Mind Management' in Aix-les-Bains, France, 1997: "The word yoga means awareness of the inner personality which is manifesting in the outer world. Anu means subtle, shasanam means to rule, to govern, to be in control of. Therefore, according to Patanjali, yoga is a form or method of governing the inner nature. It is a method of directing the inner nature harmoniously so that it can manifest externally."
I found here all the ingredients of sincerity: the will to know the desire behind each thought, the will to choose the right word and the will to act in harmony. This is of course difficult; it requires absolute honesty and no fear in the face of unpleasantness, of personal weaknesses and shortcomings, of age-old behaviour patterns. While trying to live in all sincerity I felt I was getting to the question of the attractions and repulsions underlying behaviour.
The letter that needs to be written, but still remains in the head and not on paper, is just one of many examples. Pleasant/unpleasant, good/bad, these pairs are a hindrance, an obstacle to sincerity; they come in between thought, word and deed. Yoga offers, of course, all the necessary tools to avoid the pitfall of opposites. So do the four main points for a yogic lifestyle recommended by Swamiji: practise a minimum of half an hour's sadhana every morning and evening, commune with nature, vibrate positively, and be aware of the internal as well as the external environment.
The result of the month of sincerity was to write down everyday desires, with the following aim: To become aware of desires; putting the resulting thoughts into words, in order to accept them without judging them; to check which accepted desire/thought I acted upon, which desire reappeared day after day, or which desire disappeared; if a desire persisted and there was no action following then there was conflict, either inner conflict or conflict with others.
The coming and going of desires, the fleeting nature and very often futility of desires was strengthening the sankalpa in a wonderful way.
The month of sincerity was a difficult month. The beginning was so very clear - harmonize thought, word and deed and you will live sincerely. But I was surprised to find myself among the SWAN theory and Patanjali. I felt I had missed the meaning of this month and gone astray. For the first time, I felt the need to check with what Swami Sivananda had said, and found reassuring confirmation: "Let your words agree with your thoughts. Let your actions agree with your words. Let there be harmony among your thoughts, words and actions."
To think, to speak, to act -
To know the time
To speak your thought
To act upon your word.
To know the wish
That willed the thought
Which spoken out
Will lead to action.
To find the unity of all,
To consciously create
The harmony of all - No more.
To know Thyself. Walk on, In all sincerity.
Continue reading article here: ITIES 4-6: Sincerity, Simplicity, Veracity (yogamag.net)
Living Yoga Blog
Learn to LIVE YOGA! Welcome to our collective blog with Ashram life and traditional Yoga articles, musings and recipes for living Yoga every day.