yoga philosophy

Thoughts on Saucha (Purity)

Please note that this was previously published at http://www.wendykeslick.com and at elephantjournal. I am going to post some of my older posts as get this page set up and soon fresh thoughts and ideas will be forthcoming. Enjoy!

“When many little people, in many little places, do many little things, then the whole world changes—but sometimes, not fast enough for me.” ~ Micheal Franti, Gloria

Recently I had two articles published at elephant on the exact same day, just a few hours apart. One was a simple green smoothie recipe and the other was a reflection on the documentary 5 Broken Cameras that included a short video that highlights how the film is currently being used as a catalyst in creating a movement toward peace and understanding between Palestinians and Israelis.

The first article was simply put together by relaying to the world—my daily breakfast. However, the second article, although not very lengthy, contained carefully chosen words, came from my heart and dealt with subject matter that in my opinion is deserving of our time, attention and above all else–our compassion.

Much to my dismay within the first 24 hours of publication there were several hundred of hits on the green smoothie recipe, yet the article about an experimental pathway towards peace did not even reach 75.

Since I was a child it has been my nature to transmute any feelings of dissatisfaction into something positive, usually via humor as a starting place. So I sent a simple text to my friend explaining my confusion in understanding why the green smoothing article seemed to resonate with people more so than the other article, which I personally viewed as more enlightening. Then, with a grin, I shot off another text joking that “Well, maybe people will be moved to higher states of consciousness after consuming green smoothies, and then they will be more interested in topics dealing with creating a more evolved and enlightened society.”

After sending that text, I realized my comment was much more than simple humor—it was the truth.

Because it is through purifying the body that we can alter our state of mind. When we cleanse our bodies we are allowing for the creation of an optimal foundation that enables us to embark on the spiritual work that leads us down the path of working towards peace between all people and honoring the oneness that unites all of us.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, this niyama, or observance, is referred to as saucha—cleanliness and purity at both the physical and also of the mind. When practicing saucha we aim to keep our bodies clean, maintain good hygiene and are mindful of the quality of food that we are consuming. We also keep our surrounding environment in check. We keep our car clean, our office clean and our home clean.

Once we have make saucha part of our daily life on the physical level we can also be mindful of observing saucha at the level of the mind. To do this we work to free ourselves disturbing emotions that can create disharmony. In addition, we avoid manipulation, hidden agendas and deceit in our relationships. Instead, we live dedicated to selfless service, generosity, compassion and empathy.

The world religions and spiritual paths all speak of the importance of the purification of the body that must take place prior to the greater work that involves the mind and higher levels of consciousness. This process of purification that serves to ritualistically prepare the seeker, is deeply symbolic and shows reverence for that which is sacred.

As we deepen our understanding and observance of saucha, we can be inspired to work toward a more pure body, pure mind and pure heart. With that, we can see the divine in all and honor the interconnectedness of all of humanity.

So let’s drink our green smoothies—the world is waiting for us to make a difference!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s