I'm reading Meditations from the Matthis year—a wonderful book about yoga recommended by my teacher, Dolly Stavros. Day 10's topic is vairagya, or renunciation. In this passage, Rolf Gates writes,
"The soil of our life is ready for vairagya...Long before we actually die to an old behavior, the way has been paved for a new one. By the time we actually arrive at the decision to let go of something, we shall 'be glad of another death.' When we are ready to let go, we will do so with relief. We will experience renunciation not as a death but as a birth." (p. 14-15 )
Renunciation is a powerful concept, and since I am currently in the early stages of vairagya myself, I can wholly appreciate Gates' insight. While I do not care to share the details of exactly what I am divorcing myself from, all I know is that yoga has primed me for this path, this mindset, and that this renunciation will truly make me "glad of another death." Change can be difficult and chaotic, but without it, we stagnate. How can we transform if we don't go outside our comfort zones? I'm especially bad about that. But I have found that releasing myself from my ego just long enough to try something I'd never normally do hasn't just been good, it's been cathartic in ways I never expected.
A new year is a wonderful time to consider vairagya. This time of year, when we bundle ourselves up for physical warmth is the perfect time to bundle ourselves mentally just long enough to take stock, evaluate, and move forward. I think sometimes we don't sit with our real selves long enough to really consider our thoughts and actions, and how they've affected our lives to this point. It's not easy to look at yourself and admit your shortcomings. But to do so is to banish your failings to death. Every day is a new day. Renounce the addictions, the overindulgences, the negative self-talk and you often find yourself in a new, more comfortable place. Clear headed and with good intent. I'm sure a little vairagya never hurt anyone.