When I joined the Geeta discourses last year, it was akin to jumping in a river without knowing where the waters would lead me to. Little did I expect that the waters would immerse in every aspect of being…and least of all, my new found passion of health and physical fitness.
But this would probably remain reticient, if my friend had not posed me the question, ”What are three fundamental things one should do, to get healthier and fitter?”
I would have short changed myself and given her a clichéd response like “eat right, move more, and sleep tight”! And while that would not have been wrong advice, it didn’t seem it would help her much…It seemed like giving her an end without the means…an effect without the cause!
And thats when the penny dropped.
I found that the real answer lay in the most fundamental of Geeta teachings…
Jitendriyam – Control (of senses)
At the root of it, all major deterrents to a healthier way of living are some way related to us giving into our sensory organs — taste, vision, touch, smell, and sound. i.e. our unmindful acts to please these organs, whether it be binge-eating, uncontrolled drinking, cravings, addictions (not just of substance but of actions and inactions), forgoing sleep for pleasure! Now the only way to rise above this is to let your intellect rule over your sense organs i.e. getting to a state of doing every action with heightened awareness – concepts deeply talked about in many shlokas of Geeta…whereby one develops the sense of forgoing (or moderating) your lower level sensual desires to achieve one’s higher purpose or goal in life-(i.e. a sustained healthy lifestyle over constant succumb to sensory pleasures).
Abhyasam – Constancy (of effort)
Well, In order to get healthier, you have to eat right, you have to exercise and you have to get the right amount of rest! – but what is missing from that statement is that you have to do this consistently. Just like the river cuts through the rocks not by its power, but by its persistance..constancy of practice is the probably the only muscle you need to exercise higher level of physical fitness. Thus, the concept of Abhyasam described in Geeta as the constancy of efforts with dispassion (i.e. without attachment to your likes/dislikes or outcome)-remains another key aspect in your goal of a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
Shraddha – Conviction (in the Coach/Ultimate Guru)!
And finally, Conviction or Faith! When you are new to any journey (be it physical fitness or a spiritual one), it is helpful to have the right guide along your side. Just like how Arjuna had Krishna during Mahabharata. And to surrender to Him with full faith. When all queries are surrendered, answers are found!
Even in the quest of a healthier lifestyle, it is important to seek out and get guidance from the right coach. Now the right coach could be a friend, a guru, a nutritionist, a yoga instructor or even a philosophy- but someone or something worthy of your trust and one you can follow with full faith. Because in every journey, you are bound to hit roadblocks. The right guru (and your Faith in Him) becomes instrumental in steering your path in the face of these roadblocks. Until the time, you can get to the state of being your own Guru and let your consciousness guide you.
And just like every journey is taken one step at a time, my Geeta Guru suggests the way to get to any destination is zhanay zhanay…a moment at a time! i.e. The way to get to a healthier state of being is also by evolving every day, moment by moment – using Control, Constancy, and Conviction!
ps. This post is dedicated to Garima ji (my Geeta Guru), and to all those Gurus in my life, who were instrumental in steering me in my personal journey of physical and spiritual health! And to Bhagwad Geeta itself, the ultimate Guru!