ella sokolosky yoga nest pic by pixabay

Insight into Renunciation

2019-10-29 | Ella Sokolosky

Hi Everyone! Greetings and welcome to my Yoga Nest on beautiful Pender Island.

I hope to shed some light into the many facets of self-care that our yoga practice encourages. I will present these topics as a way to deepen our knowledge of how we can take wise action in our daily lives, cultivating optimal health and well-being in bodymindspirit.

Desires & Happiness - Insight into Renunciation

Renunciation strengthens the habit of restraining by realizing that insatiable wanting is suffering. This practice promotes self regulation and creates a safe refuge within ourselves by turning focus inside.

I know... renunciation does not sound like the most fun activity. I assure you, the inner strength and clarity that unfolds with this practice feels so true to self, it's exciting. Letting go and trusting our basic nature.

How do we practice restraint and why?

The premise is that insatiable wanting causes us unhappiness. Strong desire for things to be different then they are can cause us pain. We often think that when certain criteria are met then happiness will also be ours to enjoy, but it turns out that lasting happiness is elusive. So, what can we do in the midst of our perpetual longing? How can we relax and feel some space from the pull of our wants and desires?

Yoga teaches that instead of our habitual outward focus on getting the things we want, without achieving the true state of happiness that we desire, practicing renunciation gives us another option. Stop going outward. Withdraw of the senses (pratyahara - Sanskrit).
Turning inward, allows the realization that everything in the outer world passes, including uncomfortable desires. And although the mind is continually challenged, peace is possible.

As humans we have the ability to choose not to do something we may desire. We can say "no, thank you" to that second piece of cake even though we might want it. Being able to see clearly those enticing desires, the mind stating "I want this now", however, can also say to ourselves, "oh, I'll pass on the second piece" .... Or " I'm going to eat this second piece of cake and enjoy it thoroughly, with no regrets." Ahhhhhh, perfect. Inner control. Wise choices. Ha!

But wait...

What about the more challenging desires? When we experience the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, a loved one dies. How can we not wish for these things to be different? How can we release what we desire? Well, it's the same principle as the piece of cake. We have a choice. If we notice thoughts that are causing us harm we can interrupt these thoughts with our awareness and say "no, thank you, not right now" (this gives permission to get back to thinking later, being gentle with our inner voice towards ourselves). Returning our attention to our breath and allowing for space between thoughts.

This small pause has power.
Feel. Breathe. Feel. Breathe.

The inner journey is not meant to change who we are but to uncover who we are. We are not our thoughts. We have the ability to change our minds, to change our thoughts. Renunciation teaches to let go of outer circumstances and experience intrinsic freedom.

It's exciting to know that desire can pull hard at us, but ultimately will have no control unless we give over our energy and attention. Renunciation can be fun! It is a powerful movement of energy, thought and intention back to true self. A steady mind ripens inner freedom. This is the skillful, mind steadying aspect of wise attention (to breath) and wise concentration (maintaining attention).

So, let's ask ourselves, is there an inner calling that seems out of reach? What if we release the negative self-talk and the voices that don't support this calling?How can we take the next step? This is renunciation. Getting down to what is important to us in this lifetime. Using the breath as a focus point keeps our attention in the present moment. Right here, right now. There is no where else to be. Everything is already here.

Renunciation manifests in our lives as patience and contentment. Steadiness of mind and emotions are a result. The more we practice the easier it becomes to turn away from negative influences and bring ourselves back home to our breath-heart-soul center. Inner joy and creativity are our birthright. Practice returning to the idea that happiness is internal and not looking for happiness outside of ourselves.

Watch the link to my video in my next post! Add it to your routine - create your own insight meditation practice!

"May we be happy. May we be peaceful. May our lives unfold with ease. May we be free from suffering."

Thank you for your kind attention.

Namaste ~ Ella

~ inner life is always there, rich and abundant.