Toward Perfection

Yoga teachers often discuss subjects such as self-realization and transformation in great depth, but where does the average yoga student start this journey? How can we take control of our lives? How can we design a life plan, which gives us direction, purpose, and meaning every day? Where to begin?

Designing a list of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly activities seems daunting, to say the least! Yet, in Buddhist philosophy we find the answers. The clear place (and the ONLY place) from which to begin is from where we now are. There is no waiting until..... Start NOW. In this now moment.

How to begin? Well, if you are practicing yoga, you are said to be a boddhisattva... (a being who shines his or her light on others....) or at least, on the way to becoming one! In the Buddhist tradition we are encouraged to practice The Six Perfections. The first three, listed below, are for lay people like you and I, and the next two refer mainly to meditation practices. 

All of the Perfections from 1 – 5 are to be practiced along with the 6th Perfection, which is Wisdom. Knowing when, and how, and to whom, and under what circumstances to practice the previous 5.

The 6 Perfections are as follows:

Giving

Giving one's possessions, virtues, talents and gifts. (We all have been given a set of unique and special talents.) 
Giving of fearlessness, or protection to others. (Needs no explanation!)
Practicing mentally giving to others. (This is the practice of TonGlen.)
Giving of the teachings. (Sharing what you know to be true for you.)

Ethics

Keeping one's vows. (Doing what you say you will do.)
Working for sentient beings. (A sentient being is a being that is alive. So... Everyone!)
Restraining from negative actions. (Even thoughts, and speech – especially gossip.)

Patience

Having patience in understanding Dharma and gaining faith. (Strive to understand. Have faith that all will be well. If all is not well, then you are not at the end yet!)
Being undisturbed by anguish from suffering. (Re-direct the energy into DOING something to alleviate the suffering.)
Practice patience before getting angry. (Oh boy. This is one we can all practice more!)
Having patience in accepting problems. (These are part of the ups and downs of life.)
Being undisturbed by inflicted harm. (My own yoga teacher says that those that inflict harm are not awake....they do not KNOW.) 

Joyous effort / perserverance

Collecting merit (with the motivation of helping others.)
Delighting in virtue and every beneficial action.
Avoiding putting off; postponement. 
Avoiding craving for worldly pleasures.

Concentration 

Developing quiescence; single pointedness, stability & firmness (meditation.)
Cultivating inner needs: to have few wants. (I could write a book on this one.)
Generating contentment, abandoning demands of the world, and have pure ethics.
Creating outer needs: Having a conducive place for quiet. Simple food & water.

Wisdom

Generating ultimate wisdom (emptiness) to achieve liberation and Buddhahood.

Generating relative wisdom in practicing the first five perfections and understanding karma.

Thank you for your patience.