10 yogic steps to become ruler of the self
Our quest to control every aspect of life has made us good at mastering several things in the world around us, but the same cannot be said about our mastery of the world within us.
Being dependent on situations and people for how we feel, getting addicted to substances and gadgets, giving in to unhealthy food cravings, buying things to impress others are signs that we have become slaves not just to our mind but also to our sense organs.
Raj yog makes us rulers of the self, offers Swa-Rajya, Self-Mastery – where our mind always creates the right thoughts, independent of situations and people’s behaviour. Self-discipline and will power come naturally to us, and our sense organs serve us, instead of controlling us.
Just as we need to excel in different subjects to obtain a master’s degree, we need to follow a certain discipline to achieve self-mastery through a yogic lifestyle.
The first step is brahmacharya. It entails selfless intentions, and responding to situations through our innate samskaras of purity, peace, power, wisdom, love and bliss; second, brahma-mahurat, the ideal time to wake up between 4am and 5am, also called Amritvela, is the highest-vibrational time of the day. It is best to energise oneself with meditation, yog and pranayama in this period. Third, jnana yog – engage in some form of spiritual study, since content forms our emotional diet; and aim to completely refrain from consuming negative content from any platform, because content = thoughts = personality = destiny.
Fourth, sattvic aahaar – as is the food, so is the mind. Food needs to be full of high-energy vibrations, not just nutrition. Tamasic food carries low-energy vibrations of fear, anger, violence and death. Cook sattvic food with a peaceful state and eat it mindfully to make mealtime a divine experience.
Fifth, karma yog – pay attention to our every thought, word and action, knowing that karmas create our destiny. The karmas of a yogi radiate with vibrations of acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, cooperation and self-respect. Ethical principles need to permeate every aspect of life, for instance, how we earn is more important than how much we earn.
Sixth, traffic control of the mind – pause for a minute after every hour and meditate for a minute to rest and recharge the mind. Seventh, yog nidra – sleep of a yogi also needs to be like a meditation, so that even when sleeping one radiates pure vibrations. For this, it helps if we write a daily journal and release the day’s clutter from the mind; forgive people and seek forgiveness for any wrongdoings, and meditate for 10 minutes before sleeping.
Eighth, self-restraint – gadgets provide physical comfort and not emotional comforts like happiness or respect. We need to use them only as needed and as much needed, without becoming dependent.
Ninth, minimalist living – freeing ourselves from clutter, both emotionally and materialistically. To buy things for comfort or utility is fine, but shopping to seek happiness makes it an addiction. Simple living creates simplicity in the mind.
Tenth, seva bhava – it entails rendering selfless service, charity, offering words of wisdom and the practice of mansa seva, service through thoughts, by consciously creating thoughts of healing and happiness for the whole planet.