I wake up early. Not by choice really. There’s not much to do at 4:30 a.m. or 5 a.m. but practice. I look serious here. But that’s the mood, the vibe, before sunrise. At least, to me. It feels like a time to consider and contemplate and journal. Life. God. Purpose. That kind of stuff.
This morning I contemplated the yoga terms abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (detachment). Abhyasa is often described as sustained, consistent commitment to practice over time. It is the effort it takes to repeatedly come back to the present moment, again and again.
Vairagya is the aspect of practice, the complement to abhyasa, and literally means ‘not getting stirred up’. Sometimes it is translated as detachment or letting go. The essence of it is the practice of not reacting to your perceptions, letting things arise in our mind and experience without a knee-jerk reaction based on our conditioning from the past. Vairagya is allowing life to unfold fresh and new in each moment without telling the same stories about it again and again.
Ok, time to walk Tommy. He’s tired of me being so serious for one morning.
Brad Wetzler is the author of the new memoir "Into the Soul of the World: My Journey to Healing" (Hachette, 2023) and "Real Mosquitoes Don't Eat Meat" (W.W. Norton, 2005). He is a memoir writing coach, podcaster, and yoga teacher. Brad began his career as an editor and adventure-travel writer. He served as a senior editor at Outside magazine and was a contributing editor at Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and George magazines. Brad has written hundreds of articles and essays on wide-ranging topics. He writes books and articles and hosts a podcast about adventure healing, emotional wellness, and faith and spirituality. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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