On Not Being One’s Self: Saucha

What happens when I’m not myself?

Last week we explored being oneself. Is it possible to purely be yourself? Is it possible to be purely in the moment? Could being purely in the moment help us to be purely ourselves? And what might it offer us?

Saucha in Sanskrit stands for “purity”.  It can also be translated as ‘orderliness, cleanliness, and clearness’.  We can attribute this to our outer environment and we can also attribute it to our inner environments.

Saucha is one of the niyamas, or ‘observances’; philosophies of yoga.  I love how my dear friend and collaborator, Patrick Heffernan, describes the niyamas as a way of ‘reprogramming and self-training’.

Saucha can be applied to how we nourish ourself, how we eat and drink, how we make sure we get enough rest, and how we bathe and clean our self. 

It’s also how we take care of our physical spaces, and the planet at large. How we are taking care and keeping clean and pure the environments that we live in. Think of it as the Marie Kondo practice of cleaning your drawers!  

Perhaps more importantly, saucha, is meant to also be applied to our inner environments. How we keep clean and orderly our energy and our mind.

Two weeks ago, Patrick and I opened up the ‘Sunday morning special’ class with the Dharma discussion on saucha.  It was quite moving and beautiful the things that came up! I’m going to do my best in sharing some of the wisdoms that came through for me and that came through from other community members. 

*I will be keeping the community members’ names anonymous for privacy.  Please know that you are all welcomed to these Sunday morning special practices that are truly something magical!  

I led the Dharma discussion talking about saucha and also bringing in the vibration of ‘abhyasa’.  Abhyasa means “practice”, and in particular, practice towards a tranquil mind.  To be organizing and pointing our thoughts always towards what we want. To get clear on what we want and what we always want our thoughts to be pointing towards.

As the Seeker(practitioner for Good) that you are in reading this blog, I know that you are always seeking to have your thoughts and actions aligned with positive intention, loving-kindness, and for the good of all. Doing your best to organize your thoughts always towards the Light. To be seeing the best in yourself and the best in others. To be striving for thoughts of abundance, forgiveness, joy, and peace, equanimity, inclusivity, and love.

So what happens when we feel we are not our Self?

One community member offered the wisdom to first ask, “why”?  

By asking why it invites compassion. It doesn’t make us right or wrong, nor bad, we just ‘Marie Kondo’ the moment and lay it all out. We see if perhaps we’ve been triggered, or if something in our circumstances is causing us heaviness. But we lay it all out, taking a sacred pause, and then we get to choose.  

Personally, I’m deeply grateful for this wisdom. In my moments of motherhood where I am least proud, this practice invites me to offer myself compassion. And it also invites me to acknowledge what I need in a moment where I don’t feel like I’m being myself and I can choose to do what is most loving in that moment. When I choose to do what’s most loving, sometimes that means telling my kids that mommy has to leave the room for a minute and take a deep breath. And I know when I come back, I’m better and I’m better for my kids!

I also love this wisdom because it means it’s upholding one of my core values that I have discovered through the pandemic; acknowledgment.  This wisdom allows us to honor and see everything that we are feeling, thinking, and doing. Without attachment nor trying to fix. This wisdom and practice invites an honoring of everything that we are witnessing, even the messy parts.

And that’s when another incredible community member offered their wisdom; that it’s part of myself to be messy!  Yes! This resonates for me! They went on to say that they ‘aspire to be human’! I love this. Because to be human is to be imperfect with our perfect Selves! Another community member said “bless the mess”! Haha. 

Saucha invites the mess because we have the power to then clear the mess.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that our underwear drawer has to be neatly folded and organized where each pair can be seen, I’ll get to that later though. However, it means on the mental level that we see ourself not as a mess, but that we honor ourselves in unconditional acceptance for all of who we are and that we then get to choose who we are. We become clear, saucha, that who we are is that unchanging Light within. 

So bring on the mess because who I am is Light and love, and I can handle it! 

Back to the drawers! …

Source downloaded in me as I was moving through the physical practice on this Sunday morning, this insight:

“We each have a place. When we are ourselves we are divinely organized within ourselves so that we can experience love.”

A community member so beautifully added to this that ‘If we are not ourselves, how will the universe recognize us and be able to guide and support us’?  That brings me to tears.

This is a call from the universe to be seen.

This is a call from the universe to be yourself!

This is a call from the universe to be here, in this moment, now!

This is a call from the universe to acknowledge everything, and everyone, including yourself!

If I am that crumpled up shirt in the back corner of the drawer, hidden, then I cannot wear it.  It won’t be seen, nor will it be able to live out its purpose. It won’t be experienced in its fullness.  

And when I can see that shirt, and I put it on, then it gets seen. It’s purpose gets fulfilled! I might even get a compliment from it and then it’s purpose spreads its energy to me! I might even then choose to share the story of how I got the shirt!  The energy then becomes this infinite expression of joy that goes beyond just the shirt.  

You have an effect in this world beyond what you think!  You have a place and a purpose here.

So, perhaps entering more purely into the moment, acknowledging everything there, both within yourself and around yourself, truly can help support you in being your pure Self!

And think of what that could do not only for you, but the world! 

All my love,

Shawna 🙏🏻