“See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.”
This phrase is often associated with the image of three monkeys covering their eyes, ears, and mouth. Confucius, who is credited as the message’s originator, defined it as a warning to avoid all things evil or distracting that can hinder a person’s development.
Similarly, The Yoga Sutras, as organized by Patanjali, describe the fifth limb of its eight-limb system that is yoga. Through the sutras, we learn that pratyahara means to withdraw your senses. Like a turtle that retracts inside of its shell, pratyahara will teach you to go inside yourself and retreat from the external “noises” that exist around you: the opinions, the interruptions, the distractions, the associations, the influences. Once you detach from this commotion, you can be free to choose the sensations that you wish to introduce into your field of awareness.
Your challenge this week is to practice these techniques of pratyahara or sense withdrawal:
Go on a Media Fast. Spend some time each day away from sensory input. Turn off the t.v, the computer, the phone, put aside music and books. Sit quietly and allow your mind to rest for 30 minutes or so.
Zip It. Consider your speech and how much you talk. Curtail your urge to speak a bit this week to bring more reflection and centeredness into your life.
Take a Real Savasana. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Wrap a blanket around your head to form a nest so that the ends of the blanket cover your ears. Use a washcloth or an eyebag to cover your eyes.
After either technique, find one thing to focus on: the blue sky, the hills or distant mountains, a field or a vase of flowers if you have them. These simple and positive images will be a refreshing change for your mind.
Removing obstacles will awaken you to your true nature and provide a clear channel for your joy and sense of purpose. When you see things as they truly are, only then can you live in the present moment.
“Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety.” – Confucius – 500 BC