The third of Patanjali's Niyamas is ‘Tapas’, translating to ‘austerity’ or ‘discipline’. The word Tapas is derived from the root Sanskrit verb ‘tap’ which means ‘to burn’.
The New Year is a milestone, a time to reflect, a time of renewal. As we reflect upon the year gone by we can notice without judgment what situations, people and circumstances have not served us. We may notice how we have consciously or subconsciously invited these things into our lives.
We can just notice. Observing what situations have not served us. Observing how we may have been drawn to, or drawn into people, places and things. With loving kindness, we can ask ourselves: What is it that wants my attention? What do I want to move toward? What am I passionate about? What am I willing to let go of? To throw into the fire?
It is from this place we begin to develop clarity. We can ask for guidance. For strength and courage to cultivate our good and true path. To let go of fear and to meet the obstacles as part of the path, embracing the whole thing.
Tapas calls us to a passionate discipline, which is both an invitation and willingness to let go. In Tapas, we find another expression of effort and ease, with a kind hand, with a gentle voice, but with a powerful burning zeal in our practice. Removing the obscurations, that we might find true union with the universe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be safe.
May you be strong.
Tapas is calling you to your true self. All you have to do is accept.
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