I was always the one to look at spirituality and daily life as two separate things. Whenever I read anything spiritual, I always use to tell myself one day I will have the time to implement this. However, as I read more books and more and more, I stopped feeling that contentment and started feeling bored and like a void. I returned to the same void I once used to feel before my spiritual journey started. I kept asking, questioning, and waiting for answers (read thoughts) to arrive…and they did. My inner voice kept telling me “Enough reading—now get off the couch and start implementing what you read, time to move on to stage 2 of the path”.
As I currently see it, or I could say I classified my journey (so far) into 2 stages:
Stage 1 – Assimilation of knowledge (this could come from reading books/watching videos or observing someone in close quarters who is the living example of the knowledge)
Stage 2 – Application of Knowledge (Brining this knowledge into my own life by application on a day-to-day basis)
On that note, my first post is going to be on Dinacharya and how it came about and is coming about in my life—Back in 2014 or so, I read ‘Yamas and Niyamas’ by Deborah Adele and really loved the book. I even mentioned this as one of the top books in the jot forms for initiation in 2019. However, something in me told me to revisit this book in 2021 and read it again— but this time, this inner voice also asked me to make notes and see where I can apply these in my day-to-day life. So, this time around, all the pages came alive to me. The Niyama that stood out strongly for me was Tapas (3rd Niyama).
Tapas translates to Self-Discipline which in turn means doing the same thing over and over, even if one is bored and not interested in doing – because that is the right thing to do.
From close quarters, my mom is the living example of the person who is an embodiment of the application of the principles of Tapas for a householder. She is 58 years old and to this day, she still gets up by 5:30am, eats the same amount of meals (which is no more than 1 cup of rice), finishes dinner by 7:30pm, sleeps by 10pm and not to mention she does what all is required to keep the house going day-in and day-out. She does this without getting bored or looking for a variety every single day (and not to mention—she lost her husband 2.5 years back) —and STILL hasn’t fallen off track. She finished all her responsibilities, took care of her in-laws all throughout, took care of her parents all throughout, helped out/helping her kids—and still—life hasn’t bored her and she hasn’t fallen off track a single day—that Dinacharya is nothing but TAPAS for the householder.
The second person who is a living and walking embodiment of the application of TAPAS in day-to-day life is Swamiji himself.
Both these examples, have made me question my ways immensely and this deep deep longing to bring about the same application to my life is making me get off the couch. The following were my soul learnings from the application of Tapas in my day-to-day life:
1. This Dinacharya is nothing but my Tapas as a householder.
2. Having a dinacharya and following it—has been a powerful tool to break through my very thick stubborn layers of laziness, boredom and wanting variety in life.
3. Dinacharya acts as an anchorage for a householder to stay on track. Getting up at the same time- eating meals in proportion and on time—sleeping at the same time, brings about profound changes in energy levels. This energetic body in turn has lot more energy levels throughout the day.
4. Most of all it brings stability.
I am only 10% there and a long way to go. But now that my body has tasted the stability and the anchorage following a dinacharya can bring into my life, it is fighting with me immensely everytime I want to go back to my old ways. In short—TAPAS for me has translated to—Show up & Do the right thing even if it is boring and repetitive– the tool for this is – Dinacharya.
Following a Dinacharya can itself be the greatest stabilizing factor for a spiritual aspirant.
For anyone interested, do read Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele, there’s lot of information in that book that can be applied in daily life with questions for exploration at the end of each chapter. This book helped me immensely. One line that stayed with me from this chapter was – Offer yourself to the next higher version of you by willingly standing the heat of Tapas.