By Jennie Lee • June 18th, 2012 • 4929 Views
How Passion, Will and Right Effort Create a Happy Life
This article is part of an ongoing series on the yamas and niyamas.
“Living life with zeal and sincerity, the purifying flame is ignited (Tapas), revealing the inner light.” Sutra 2.43 *
Zeal is not a commonly used word. It is one of those triple point words that you get excited to remember when you have a ‘z’ in your words with friends. But on a daily basis, how many of us LIVE with zeal? What does zeal even mean and how can it ‘reveal our inner light’?
Zeal means enthusiasm, an eager desire, intensity, passion, earnestness and devotion--all rolled into one. Can you imagine what kind of fire would be inside of you if you lived and breathed those qualities all day every day? No wonder the yoga masters have been known to levitate--ignite some zeal and it's like a hot air balloon blasting off.
Of course it is one thing to identify and feel passion, it is another thing to feed the fire and keep the mechanism moving. Consistent tending of every thought, word and action is required to cultivate the right level of heat in our inner fire, so that it becomes a purifying flame sustaining the warmth and joy of living our dreams, but not a wildfire that runs out of control or burns us out.
In thought, we need to apply will and effort to break free of habituated patterns of thinking that keep us doubtful and suffering. Eliminating negative thoughts and consciously applying positive ones is what the Yoga Sutras teach as Pratipaksha Bhavana. Tapas of thought is the practice of watching for thought saboteurs and escorting them out.
In speech, we can remember to apply these filters: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? These will undoubtedly lead us to far more silence than idle chatter.
In action, we can bring our full presence to whatever activity or person we are with. As we offer enthusiastic attention and passion filled intention to all that we do, ordinary moments become spiritual Sadhana.
All the yogic practices that discipline and cleanse the mind and body are essential: daily asana and meditation, fasting, practicing deep concentration, holding silence, and controlling the life force energy through pranayama. These are fuel for the inner fire that clears away the impurities of our ego nature--revealing instead our true nature--the inner light of the soul.