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  • Writer's pictureChristina V. Mills

The 7 Deadly Sins & The 7 Virtues


If you find yourself in a state of sin, simply cultivate the opposite.


Photo by Julio Rionaldo



The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Virtues

1. Pride

2. Greed

3. Lust

4. Envy



Information


The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as cardinal sins were first outlined by Pope Gregory I in the 6th century. These are considered to be cardinal sins, like the cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) because they are the primary vices that separate us from God and lead us on the path of destruction of self and others.


Sin is simply defined as thoughts, words, and actions that separate us from grace, peace, love, harmony, and abundance.



Pride


Pride is listed as the first sin because it is the sin through which all others stem. Pride is simply identification with the ego, belief in the self over belief in God, and refusal to submit to the will of God in order to follow our carnal desires of the flesh and mind. This is often related to narcissism, and self-worship.


In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, asmita or identification with the ego, is one of the kleshas, the roots of all pain and suffering. Once we adopt the belief that God is not important or does not exist at all and begin to worship our own ego, then we have opened ourselves up to all of the other sins.


The opposite of pride is humility, ego-death. One can cultivate humility by focusing on the needs of others over the needs of yourself or by surrendering your will to God. Ego death allows the "self" identity to fall away completely and leads to higher levels of spiritual development.



Greed


Greed comes from the belief in lack, that there is not enough, and from a lack of trust in the total abundance of God. When we stop trusting in God, we take it upon ourselves to hoard money and resources, believing that it is scarce and hard to come by. Greed comes from a lack of love and generosity for others and a spirit of competition, believing we must compete against others for these limited resources, and only the best or the strongest will win. In reality, there is enough for everyone, if we would turn to God, making greed unnecessary.


The opposite of greed is charity, giving selflessly to others out of love and a belief in God's abundance. In the Yoga Sutras, aparigraha, or non-greed/non-attachment is the last of the yamas, the 1st limb of yoga, which outlines personal ethics.



Lust


Lust is simply following the flesh and our sexual desires without restriction. While God created us to have sex drives and to be sexual beings, God also offers us guidelines to enjoy our sexuality in a way that is most fruitful for everyone. Lust is rooted in a lack of self-control and can be related to many different vices including multiple sex partners, risky sexual practices, and pornography.


Lust comes from energy stuck in lower energy centers of the body, particularly the muladhara (root chakra), and the svadhisthana (sacral chakra). One of the purposes of the path of yoga is to grow up and out of the lower vibrational energy centers into higher energy centers. When sexual energy is constantly flowing out, this rising of the kundalini energy to higher vibrational centers is impossible. Lust, especially when looking at sexual images and pornography can also lead to the objectification and dehumanization of others and lack of love for others from the heart center.


Many people don't realize that even when using condoms, sex is an exchange of energy and can create energetic soul ties that can last a lifetime. Engaging in multiple sexual partners is like is following the wind, being drawn in this direction and that. When people do this, over time, they may experience a high level of mental confusion and difficulty finding the clarity of mind to make good decisions because they have created ties to the energetic signature and the consciousness of so many different people, pulling them in different directions.


Lack of sexual self-control is an easy way to create holes in the aura, allow impurities and disharmony into the body (one's holy temple), and lose one's sacred energy, or life force.


The opposite of lust is chastity. One can cultivate chastity by focusing on self-control, practicing modesty in clothing and behavior, and by practicing celibacy and semen retention. In the Yoga Sutras, this sexual restraint is called brahmacharya, another of the yamas. Through brahmacharya, one is said to gain and retain clear and bright energy, physical vigor, and mental fortitude.


Envy


Envy is the desire for what others have and is related to greed in that it comes from a belief of lack. Envy has a fundamental belief that we don't have what we need and that someone else has it. Rather than trusting God and being self-reflective to what we may have done to cause our situation, we look externally to what others are doing, and blame others. This is never the way, as we can never tell how someone's inner experience is from the outside. Envy is a highly destructive emotion that can lead to putting other people down, gossip, and even aggressive action against the target of envy. The most sinister part of envy is that when people are deluded by this spirit, they find ways to justify their actions of tearing others down in order to help bring themselves up. This is a sign of low self-esteem.


The opposite of envy is gratitude. One can cultivate gratitude by identifying things for which to be thankful within one's current life. In the Yoga Sutras, raga, another of the kleshas, is attachment to things in the physical world. Remember, this life is all an illusion, which the yoga tradition would call maya. Nothing is what it seems on the outside. Envy is simply being fooled by superficial and false appearances. Look deeper than the surface. Limit your vision, even if only temporarily, by eliminating social media and other things that cause you to look at the illusions portrayed by other people. Focus on making the best out of your own life.



Gluttony


Gluttony, similar to lust, is a lack of self-control. While we often consider gluttony to be related to overeating, one can be a glutton of any substance. Overuse of drugs and alcohol are in this category, as well as things like playing excessive video games, and even gambling. Interestingly, gluttony is also related to greed in that it comes from a place of lack. We overconsume to compensate for our perception of not having enough in some area. When related to drugs and alcohol, gluttony literally takes us out of our clear mind, out of our self-control. It is impossible to be mindful while intoxicated. This opens the door to engaging in actions we may otherwise avoid when thinking clearly. While escapism through being high, drunk, or overfull may "feel good" in the moment, it separates us from engaging in the fullness of life and can lead our life to spiral out of control.


The opposite of gluttony is temperance. One can cultivate temperance by practicing self-control and fasting. On a deeper level, trusting that all is well and trusting in the abundance of God can remove the desire to hoard food or escape from reality into drugs.



Wrath


Wrath, or the expression of anger and the belief that we have the right to punish those around us is a highly destructive emotion. In the Yoga Sutras, dvesha or hatred is another of the kleshas that lead to pain and suffering.

Anger is a highly detrimental emotion to ourselves. We hold onto anger and unforgiveness with the belief that it protects us like a shield, but all it does is poison us from the inside. When we hold onto anger and unforgiveness for long periods of time, years or even decades, it can even manifest within our bodies as physical illness. Vengeance belongs to God alone, and anyone who understands karma should know that the law of cause and effect is real. If someone has done something to us, rest assured that even if they don't show it, the action is on their spirit and the consequences will come to them at the appropriate time in God's love to teach and heal them.


The opposite of wrath is patience. One can cultivate patience through forgiveness. Forgive as you would like to be forgiven. Let go of the past and focus on the future. The answer for wrath is simply to accept that we are forgiven and accepted by God even when we did not deserve it. When this happens, it becomes much easier to let go of our anger toward others as we see that they, like us, were lost and are actually in need of our prayers and well wishes.



Sloth


Sloth is laziness or inaction. It is sitting when there is work to be done. It is expecting others to serve us while not serving them. It is avoidance of those things that need to be done. While we often think of sloth as physical, sloth can also be refusal to do the spiritual work of self-reflection, healing, growth, and change. Quite literally, sloth is sitting in your own filth and being ok with it.


The opposite of sloth is diligence. If you find yourself in a state of sloth, cultivate conscious action, diligence, and precision. Pay close attention to each task. Ask God for direction and to teach you about how you can improve yourself. Each day take small but meaningful action. God will add in the x-factor to multiply your effort.







If you find yourself in a state of sin, never fear. Simply cultivate the opposite.

God is all forgiving, most-merciful to all who have a repentant spirit.






 

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