March 11, 2012
Tapas ~ Self-Discipline
Tapas translates into “heat” from sanskrit. We have a tendency to assume that it just means building your body temperature, or level of intensity. Like all Yamas and Niyamas, it too, is multifaceted. Tapas can also be translated as self-discipline, resilience, change, spiritual effort, transformation, tolerance, drive, and ambition.
Our practice focus this week has been heat-building, and experiencing a level of intensity by actually slowing down, instead of increasing speed. We can open our inner strength, our personal power by moving so slowly, that we are forced to see what’s deep inside and then to find a level of peace within this depth. This teaching is opening our “I can” energy center within the body.
So finely stated by Deborah Adele; “Tapas is the day to day choice to burn non-supportive habits of the body and mind, choosing to forsake momentary pleasures for future rewards.
Tapas can take us to the place where all of our resources are used up, where there is nothing left but weakness, where all of our so-called ‘props’ have been taken away. It is in this barren place, where we have exhausted all that we have and all that we are, that new strength is shaped and character is born if we choose to fearlessly open ourselves to the experience. It is perhaps the greatest gift life could offer us.
There is a bumper sticker which states, ‘A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.’
Tapas is growing our ability to stay in the unknown and the unpleasantness, rather than run in fear. It is the willingness to be both burned and blessed.”