Chapter 20: Man Proposes, the Universe Disposes
“Seek refuge in the attitude of detachment and you will amass the wealth of spiritual awareness….there is no cause for worry.” Bhagavad Gita
I have said it in more than one yoga class: “let go of…” Chances are many of us have even advised someone else to “let go,” but when it comes making this a personal practice, we become motionless and usually tense up (both mentally and physically). What does it mean to “let go” anyway? How many times have we let go of things that now continue to consume us?
Vairagya is the practice of non-attachment, dispassion, letting go and surrender. Vai means “without” and raga “colorless”. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali say abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodaha – Through the repeated practice of non-attachment there is mastery.
There are various degrees of letting go that we have already been practicing by following the exercises in The Four Desires. Remember chapter 15, where we had to tangibly give up something to make room for our sankalpa? Chapter 19 encouraged us to listen to our inner wisdom and detach from our reactive mind. Many of us dove into these hard practices of letting go and are now starting to see and ultimately feel the results: eye-opening, encouraging and maybe even surprisingly joyful.
“Try to imagine worry and stress no longer being part of your life.” Rod asks. For most of us this would mean total separation from work or not being a slave to it. Do not get too excited, this does not necessarily mean to quit your job. This means that there are time-tested ways to find solace in the turbulent waters of our lives. In the next section of The Four Desires, we will discover various avenues to apply surrender to our lives and learn more about how the practice of vairagya is our doorway to experiencing freedom.
For next week, do not forget part 1 of the vairagya exercise. This writing activity asks us to write two paragraphs about an experience that had a negative impact on us.
~ First paragraph is a detailed description of the event.
~ In the second paragraph, you write about the aftermath; how it had a negative impact in your life.
Looking at these negative parts of our lives is crucial to our growth. It is of great importance that we feel comfortable and strong enough to take that step. Do not pick the worst thing that has ever happened to you if you fear it may take you to a dark emotional place. Pick something you can write about and use it for the second part of this exercise in the coming chapters as we move into Freedom From Fear.
Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?