ii.32 Observances that set spirit free
2.32 Elements of Right Observance.
Devotion to the Lord of Yoga
Purification: these five elements of Niyama (Right Observance) begin with both external and internal purification. Daily hygiene and being attuned to the right sustenance for proper diet and accompanied with right exercise is a given in order to assure a healthy physicality; yet the more difficult regimen entails proper purification of spirit. As stated earlier, it is spirit that animates matter and if the source is degenerated in any way, shape, or form, then there’s not much use of the outer-embodiment other than to gratify corporal satisfaction.
Spiritual Contentment: if one’s spirit is not inwardly satisfied then there’s not much hope for lasting contentment in the physical environment. Many do not realize this truth and just go merrily about their way oblivious to the spiritual landmines that are in store for them. Recollect that it is spirit that animates all of one’s actions, especially the internal ones that dictate what the outer ramifications will be. And so the rest of these observances are ways to enhance one’s Spiritual-State-of-Mind.
Ascetic Discipline: one needs to be prudent in discerning the meaning of an “ascetical” discipline. Far too often one falls into the trap that it means total neglect and/or abuse of the body—hence the exploitation of severe methods like self flagellation in the past. One must not forget that the body is the temple of the spirit, and it needs to be purified and strengthened in healthy ways. No, the asceticism has more to do with an inner-discipline that moderately attunes spirit to the Right Direction for its life. If one’s spirit is incessantly littered with excessive garbage from the material-domain, then it will merely become a product of that domain—a commodity to be used and abused and incessantly manipulated by the Lords of Materialism. Hence an Ascesis needs to develop in order to regulate what spirit will or will not be exposed to. An excellent metaphor of this is Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. What ol’ Dorian was keeping hidden in that upper-attic room was the entrapment of his “spirit” in that portrait. It was his spirit that was daily keeping record of his insidious deeds, and paying the price. It was becoming grotesque and its effect was always on Dorian’s mind, so much so that he was driven from time to time to go up and feverishly take a glance on what changes were occurring. Dorian Gray is the figure of every man/woman who neglects and abuses one’s own spirit with all those wrong addictive choices in life. And in the end, all that abused-time will one day catch up with them. Temperance is the word. A Temperate-Spirit will assure total Spiritual Contentment in the Unborn.
Spiritual Reading: today one can also include here other multi-media formats. For instance, back in the spring of 2011 Tozen asked to have videos created for YouTube that had to do with the teachings, sutras, and pertinent spiritual material revolving around Zen and the Unborn; hence the bodhichild channel was born. Work was begun fashioning the teachings into two major playlists—the Dragon Mind of Zen and the Bodhi-Pearl series, which were completed by mid-summer; also included during this time were/are two editions (my favorite is the Second Edition) of his Dharmakaya Sutra, as well as my Dhammapada in Light of the Unborn. In the following year some teachings from the Zennist were included as well. This was/is a creative enterprise, and during the process other playlists like Spiritual Healing, SoundWorlds, and Classical Muse were also created—these have broadened the appeal of the Channel for a wider, more all-inclusive audience. I mention all this because spirit needs a creative outlet, and this medium has proven to be most satisfactory. From time to time these videos are incorporated into the blogs here for a multi-media effect. Yes, Spiritual Reading, Spiritual Videos, Meditation Music, etcetera, are essential mediums that spirit hungers for in its Self-Edification and Development.
Devotion to the Lord of Yoga: as highlighted in an earlier blog from this series, the Lord of Yoga is the Primordial Unborn Spirit, whose devotion guarantees one’s spirit unequivocal cessation of unwanted advances from the Evil One and true, lasting tranquility.