With the dead leaves accumulated in front of my house, I find myself literally sweeping for a few hours just to get to the front of my door. In doing so, the well-known noun resonates in my head with a summary of thoughts as diverse and colorful as the autumn leaves themselves. Where do we do our housekeeping most often?
In yoga philosophy, we talk about maintaining a sattvic life. Life itself and all its experiences come in 3 qualities of nature, Sattva (white) which is pure, bright, clean and light – it is the divine essence, Rajas (red) which is activity, the energy that moves nature and throws any human into a passionate state and as opposition – in suffering, and Tamas (black) which limits, blinds and weighs us down.
Maintaining one’s home, cooking with pure, fresh food from mother nature, caring for one’s body, maintaining mental clarity, all those are the foundation for a sattvic life that allows us to develop a pure mind and a generous heart. This is what spiritual development is for me.
The question I ask myself is – where do we really put out this precious energy of ours? It seems to me that we spend a lot more time doing housework outside of our inner being, whether at work where we sweat from morning to night to maintain the balance and prosperity of our employer, in friendship where we spend our time giving advice, defending our point of view or even in the saddest cases, criticizing and judging each other, or in the family where we do everything to make everyone happy. How much time do we have left to go inside of ourselves and truly invest our beings in there?
Judgment has become a nation-wide sport in humans, or I should say an international one. There is, of course, the judgment of what others are doing, and who, in my humble opinion, have no other function than to reassure themselves about their own disorder and disdain. Well, yes, it’s the very pithole in our life, in our head, and it reassures us that it is just the same as elsewhere in the world.
But the worst of all judgments is the one of oneself. Because we are the only ones to inflict it upon ourselves. If someone else judges us, we always have the time to move away from it and not pay attention to what was said. On the other hand, the judgment we impose on ourselves is like a weapon, a dagger, that we plant into ourselves and in our flesh while saying “I am bad, I will never get there, why am I still fat, why am I ugly? I only get what I deserve, I’m worthless … “
Amma says, “In our modern world, people experience two types of poverty: poverty caused by lack of food, housing and clothing, and poverty caused by lack of love and compassion. Of these two, the second type must be considered first because if we have love and compassion in our hearts, then we will wholeheartedly help those who suffer from lack of food, clothing and shelter. “
To enrich one’s heart, to develop one’s empathy begins by giving oneself love. For some, it is not easy to stop criticizing themselves, because this has been how they have been operating for many years. For others, it will be a question of trying to look beyond their noses and begin to realize that the greatest and most authentic joy on earth, that is also inherent to the human being, is to give and to please.
Whether you are a part of those who hurt themselves or those who already love their own beings a lot but have difficulty realizing it in the real world, there is a cure that works for everyone. It has been, both for me and for millions of others spiritual apprentices, the practise of meditation all along. We sit down, we close our eyes, we breathe and herewith we meditate, we open our hearts to everything.
Adopting a sattvic lifestyle through physical and mental nourishment in my home, relationships with others and myself, and my personal discipline, took me slowly but surely from an agitated, if not disturbed, mental state to a much more serene mind and a much more generous heart. I still have where to improve on but today it is already much less than what I had to do yesterday.
Stop what you are doing and come meet the real you. There will be a little dust to get off that inner being of yours, but after that you will find that beautiful, bright, and pure essence (SATVIC) in yourself! Merry housekeeping!