Soucha is Purity – You are what your eat, you know…

“What we do each day, based upon on our minds, is truly our spiritual practice. It’s not what we preach, study, read or espouse. This practice is not some ritual in which we participate for an hour or two one day a week. It is what we think and what we do each and every day of our lives.” Bhava Ram

Everyone is familiar with the old adage, “you are what you eat”. What a sobering thought. Everything, and I mean everything, you put into your mouth becomes a part of you. Each delectable morsel becomes the building blocks for the cells in our body.

Once upon a time when we were farmers, hunters and gatherers, we were acutely aware of where the food that fed our bodies came from. Today, the opposite is true. We typically have no idea where the ingredients come from that make up the majority of the food we eat. I highly doubt that Wonder Bread builds healthy bodies in 12 ways or that Wheaties is the “Breakfast of Champions” even if Husain Bolt is on the box.

Soucha, or purity, tells us that we need to pay particular attention to what goes into our bodies so that we have a healthy temple in which our spirit can live.

This brings me to the other half of soucha, purity of mind, and another common adage, “As a man thinketh, so shall he be.” This one is a little trickier.

What we think tends to be a compilation of all the information that our hungry little minds absorb. So every book we read, the music we listen to, beliefs we are told by our parents and lessons taught by our teachers, all the conversations we engage in, every television show, commercial and movie we watch, EVERYTHING we can take in mentally becomes part of how we think.

I once had a journalism teacher who taught us to doubt the content of everything we read. We were required to read the headlines from a dozen different sources and only feel confident in the information that was consistent throughout all the sources. It was exercise in detecting bias and learning how to use a healthy dose of suspicion about information available to us.

Krishnamurti would take this a step further and encourage us to doubt all our teachers, preachers, and parents. The only truth we should trust is the one we find within our souls.

Soucha tells us to become intimate with our thoughts. You must take the time to discover if your beliefs are your truth or simply something your hungry mind grabbed onto along the way.

The bottom line is that we live in an age where we must slow down and take the time to consider the source. Whether it’s the source of our food or the source of our information, we must make mindful choices of how we nourish our body and mind.

This, as much as the asana and pranayama we practice today is Yoga. Without a sound body and sharp mind, we will never ascend to a higher state of consciousness.

When I think of Soucha, I tend to remember another old adage about Quality over Quantity.

We can become very intimate with our beliefs about the physical essence of yoga. We can also become acutely aware of how the effects of our choices around food have an effect on our practice. And maybe today becomes the day that you decide to add a touch of SOUCHA to your daily choices about what you allow to nourish your body and mind.

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