This truly is one of my favorite topics. I first became enchanted with it when I began thinking of mantras and how to make them more meaningful to others. Of course there were the mantras from the Vedas that I learned during my studies in the ashram, but to the very many who haven’t experienced that, they meant very little. I came across a book while in Rishikesh, India called “How to Cultivate Virtues and Eradicate Vices” by Swami Sivananda. A very distinct and intellectual approach on how to live a more virtuous life and shun engaging with vices. I thought, we can use the virtues as the mantras! If our thoughts become our words which become our character and destiny, then how vital it is to have our inner conversation be virtuous! I agreed with Swami Sivananda that every step toward virtues is a step toward the Divine and every step toward vices is a step away from the Divine. I began looking deeply into all the reasons why I loved to dance between these two things.
I did not agree with shunning our vices. In fact, I have loved my vices. I have enjoyed each and every one of them until I didn’t enjoy them any more. They have made me who I am. The fun to my serious, the shake to my milk, the skip to my march. When they no longer served me, I learned to integrate them into my Being. This took a lot of time and a lot of patience, which by the way is a virtue. I am in no means finished, which is the fun part. I really get to pay attention to each one and invite them in.
A lot of people try to deflect their vices with shame, suppression, and regret. I’m suggesting to celebrate them, they are what make us up and woke us up. Hopefully, we can all learn to be playful around them and allow humor in, because if we fight them, they will win.
I believe that living a more virtuous life connects us to our divine nature, that which is outside of and inside of us. As long as we balance the dance between vices and virtues with the energetic flow and attention going towards living a more virtuous life, we are moving towards our True Nature, which is to be Self Realized.
So smoke that cigarette, have an extra martini, and know that one day, hopefully soon, you can sit with each and really listen to what they want to say. Then lovingly let them know, its time for you now to drive them home.