Self Care Series #3

Via | Sid Jordan | April 8th 2020

Many of us may not have yet fully embraced a program of self-care.  Our busy culture and current demands of the crisis may not support taking care of ourselves and we may view self care as selfishly motivated.  Where is the balance between care of self and care of others? The analogies of balancing care of self and others need a more expansive metaphor.   Perhaps first “know thy self”. 

The golden rule,  “treat others as we would have them treat us”, presumes we know what we and others need.  Henry David Thoreau once said that, “If people are coming to help me, let me know in advance so that I can hide behind my wood shed.”  Thoreau’s caution is particularly true now with our mandate for social distancing. If we are first clearer about our own needs, then we might be better able to discern what others need.  

As with the principles of Yama the Niyamas of self care also reflects serving others.  The principal of “tapah”, that involves making some personal sacrifice to serve others, reflects that self-integration requires taking care of others physically, mentally and spiritually. 

The principle of “shaoca” stands for the cultivation of cleanliness, both physically and mentally.  Our physical cleaning rituals during the coronavirus pandemic require great care to protect everyone.  The mental practice of shaoca involves combating tendencies towards selfish and greedy thoughts.  

“Santosa” or contentment is achieved by developing “a state of mental ease”.   To develop this state of mind we can remind ourselves when feeling overwhelmed and stressed that behind our anxieties and tensions we have a vast reservoir of creativity to solve problems individually and collectively.   Meditation and other contemplative practices can help us access this contentment and creativity. With a calmer and focused mind the obstacles we face can be seen as opportunities for positive personal and collective transformation. 

The next principle, “Svadhyaya” calls upon us to integrate our intuitive and rational minds through a deeper study of spiritual literature and keeping good company.   We become like the news, literature and company we imbibe.  

The last principle of niyama, “Iishvara Pranidhana”, means meditation, the key to the integration of all the yamas and niyamas.  The focus on the mantra in meditation unites us with our universal benevolent Spirit.  Meditation is a “science of intuition” that guides our discriminating choices that serve the general welfare.

The principles shared in this article can help inoculate us against the internal and external stresses we face and result in a balanced care of self and others.

Sid Jordan 

Prama Institute Staff


About The Author

Dr. Sid Jordan (Acarya Vishvamitra) has combined a career as a licensed clinical psychologist and meditation teacher since 1971.  As a clinical psychologist, he taught individual, group and family psychotherapy, meditation, yoga and community psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of S. C. from 1969-93.  During this period he also served for five years as director of the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Services at the Franklin C. Fetter  Neighborhood Health Care Center in Charleston S. C.

In 1994 he moved to Asheville NC to develop an eco-village to support the service community of Ananda Girisuta (Blissful Daughter of the Mountain) on the French Broad River near Marshall, NC.  In 1997 he trained to be an Ananda Marga Family Acarya (Yoga Teacher) in India committed to giving personal instructions in meditation and yoga.  He currently serves as president of the Ananda Marga Gurukula Inc. Board in the US, supporting Neohumanist Education k-colleges worldwide. He is Director of the Prama Institute on the Ananda Girisuta property where he helps direct programing and teaches yoga psychology and spiritual practices.  At the Prama Wellness Center he teaches yoga therapy and stress management to individuals and groups.   He continues to offer his 40 years of experience and teaching of yoga psychology, philosophy and practices to audiences worldwide.

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