How to Express Yoga with the 18 ITIES (part 2)
The second part of the article on expressive yoga and Swami Sivananda's 18 ITIES explores the cultivation of veracity, equanimity, fixity, non-irritability, adaptability, humility, tenacity, integrity, nobility, magnanimity, charity, generosity and purity.
Veracity mean truthfulness; it is the observance of truth, starting with oneself. To remain truthful and always stick to our promises makes us veracious. A veracious person does not exaggerate or twist stories, experiences and events. We must think before we speak, and when we do, speak sweetly and precisely. The practice of veracity, also includes diplomatic communication with those around us. We must speak the pleasant truth; the unpleasant truth must not be conveyed unless necessary. It creates anger, sadness and displeasure in the other person’s mind.
The practice of equanimity requires one to stay calm, even when insulted. Injury, failure and disrespect must be faced with calmness and tranquility. In the same way we must remain unmoved in the experience of praise, success and pleasure. Failure and success, respect and disrespect, pleasure and pain must be perceived equally. Our attitude must be alike with friends and foes and we must never let anything disturb our inner peace. Equanimity is about being able to handle the pairs of opposites in life with grace and tranquility. In profit or loss, success or failure, praise or criticism. It is about knowing about when to follow and when to lead, when to learn and when to teach, when to listen and when to speak. When we are able to remain stable and at peace in extreme situations, we develop clarity. It is at this level of clarity that we become an Equanimeous person.
We must choose our goals and ideals and remain fixed on them, without ever letting them leave our mind. Not even for a moment. Our determination must stay intact, ensuring we stay focused on our goals; ignoring everything else if necessary. When we develop fixity we are able to fulfill our goals. Without fixity, we begin to procrastinate and delay our tasks, sometimes to the point that we never even start them.
9. NON IRRITABILITY
Irritability leads to anger, which in turn leads to aggression of thought and speech. In the worst cases it can lead to aggression of action. Observing our outbursts of anger the moment they occur, and never allowing them to extend to greater proportions with the help of contemplation is the key to peace. By practicing non-irritability, we develop patience and tolerance. We learn how to let things go, and how to not make an issue of things.
Adaptability helps us live joyfully; remember, “The wind does not break the tree that bends.” To develop adaptability, we should recognize the nature of the people we meet. Our approach to them must be flexible, adjusting ourselves so we can be pleasing to them. We should develop the ability to bear with their eccentricities with joy, and always react with peace and harmony. The practice of non-irritability helps us develop patience and tolerance, allowing us to adapt to people and circumstances.
Humility requires us to remain humble, despite our achievements. We must never consider ourselves to be superior to another being. When we cultivate humility, we realise and understand that nobody is superior or inferior to us. The practice of gratitude; always being grateful for all the good things that happen to us makes us humble.
Tenacity is closely related to fixity; once we are fixed on our aim, we stick to it without wavering. To be tenacious means to never compromise our vital principles; to stick to what we believe and to never give up until we have reached our goal.
To become an integrated person, we must observe our personality and identify all our loose ends. This means becoming righteous, and choosing a lifestyle of principles, ethics and morality. To become integrated and righteous, it will be important to integrate our thoughts, emotions and actions together.
To be noble, is a great quality in an adult. Nobility is related to innocence, something we often lose as we grow up. But we must once again become noble, and the first step towards becoming noble is to never look into the defects of others. Identifying the good qualities of others and learning to appreciate them, despite the existence of bad qualities is the first step. Nobility means to be loyal, dedicated and committed; to ourselves, to others and to life itself.
A magnanimous person is greatly benevolent and virtuous. For this, we must ignore other people’s fault, and be virtuous in all of our actions. We should avoid gossip and silly talk, and never let the mind dwell on small and insignificant matters.
We must be broad minded, open hearted and always ready to identify the positive qualities in people. A magnanimous person always focuses on the bigger picture; they are highly generous and always ready to forgive.
To be charitable is to help others overcome their needs. Giving and sharing are the secret to abundance. We must share thoughts of kindness, peace and love and always forgive those who have wronged. A charitable person shares wealth, knowledge and spiritual wisdom with all.
The cultivation of charity comes from understanding that all wealth, whether material or spiritual is not ours to possess. We are only temporary benefactors and we must spread what we have around the world.
Generosity goes hand in hand with Charity. To become generous, we should become givers and take delight in the joy of others. Generosity is the fulfilment of charity, magnanimity and nobility. Generosity makes us liberal in our giving; we give without expectation. A truly generous person expects no gratitude from a receiver. In the same way charity is about helping others with their needs, generosity is about sharing with others just to make them happy.
To become pure, we must try to remove thoughts of lust, anger and greed. Remaining pure in our thoughts, we should think of the wellbeing of all. Often before attaining purity of thought, we must first practice purity of our speech and our body – by keeping our body clean and healthy. Our surroundings must also remain tidy and clean. Our hygiene must start with our body and home, and slowly extend into our morality.
Purity is the expression of the true self, in thoughts, speech and action. It is the expression of innocence and truth. It comes from the absence of negative emotions and the combined existence of all the other ITIES.