by Valerie King •
When the Creator set out to make this creation, divine Mother and Father filled it with beautiful sustaining law, the law of love and virtue. This virtue, or Life itself, has twelve universal facets. One of those virtues, continence, has many meanings, but one of them can be described as self-control. Paramahansa Yogananda once said, “Self-control is the key to a happy life.”
Sometimes self-control can bring to mind holding tight, but that’s not really what it means. Meditating more deeply upon it, I found that it means growing a finer and finer awareness of the energies that we exist in.
We each come forth from the one Pure Self, pure consciousness, existence, and pure joy. In venturing into this creation, we have been given a soul with an ego, a mind, a body, and a personality. Norm Paulsen, founder of Sunburst, used to liken these aspects of ourselves to having a horse that we need to learn how to ride, and hopefully not have it riding us.
There’s a word in Sanskrit, pranayama, that means life force control; or caring for life force. Our life force constantly flows outward through the five senses. Continence is our ability to become aware of that outward flow of our precious natural energy and then begin to conserve it. We begin by offering it up to the Divine for the purpose of our soul illumination, and awakening into divine consciousness.
Pranayama, in yoga, is often referred to as working with our breath. There is a simple exercise of paying attention to your breath without trying to change it in any way, to just notice what it’s doing for a moment. The magic of paying attention to it, of putting our consciousness on it, is that it changes.
Scientists of quantum physics discovered several decades ago that subatomic particles change if someone is looking at them. The same thing occurs when we observe our breath. We notice that the quality of it also changes. So conscious awareness is the key to awakening, to transformation. Consciousness is the Divine within us.
We can apply consciousness to our actions, our speech, emotions, our thoughts. Simply by becoming aware, we begin taking care of our energy. This is continence, true self-control. The more we apply it, the greater the space we find in between stimulus and our response. If some energy comes at us that’s hard, we can take a moment and observe it. And by that very observation, we transform the energy.
Norm Paulsen, in his book “Life, Love, God,” said that eventually we come to realize that continence is the caretaker of all the other virtues in creation. Continence, the simple act of paying attention, is the gift of life force riding upon the breath. From this practice, we gain great treasures which we can then bring out into our daily life—great treasures of love and peace, unutterable joy, and happiness.
O Great Spirit, You who shines forth from the very center of every particle of creation,
You who shines forth from the endless sea of eternity,
Filled with thy light, pouring into creation,
Pouring into our bodies, minds and souls at this very moment,
We offer our life force, our love, our desire, back to you, back to the source of all life.
Touching you, we find the power of love; we find the power of virtue.
We find the power of joy unending, and we bring it back to spread it across the Earth,
To transform the Earth in the way that you created it to be in this very moment.