February 15, 2020

Sutra 1.4: Ask Away

Samadhi Pada: Yoga of Being in the Now

    1.4 Vrtti sarupyam itaratra
    • vrtti = activities of the mind such as thoughts, emotions, images, expectations, beliefs, perceptions, etc.
    • sarupyam = identify with/assumes the forms of
    • itaratra = in other states

Last week's sutra asked us to recognize that we are divine consciousness. This week's sutra is asking us to recognize what we're not. We are not our thoughts, our emotions, our labels, what we do, etc. But, if we don't have a practice in place, it is easy for us to mistakenly identify with what we aren't. I feel tired today, I felt happy a couple days ago, but neither of these feelings is who I am. I've had a job as a federal government employee, an elementary school teacher, an immigrant aid worker, a yoga teacher, etc. But whether I enjoyed the particular job or disliked going to work, I was still embodied by my same internal essence. I can be labeled as a wife, but there was a time I was labeled as single, yet when I appeared to change from one to the other I still continued to be divine consciousness. We know that many of these things are constructs created by the mind, yet it is easy for us to identify with them and believe them to be who we are. Don't believe me? Take a look at our wording. We often say I AM sad instead of I FEEL sad. We're more likely to hear I AM a teacher instead of my job is teaching. I AM married is more common than my status is married. 

So why does this all matter? The ultimate goal of yoga is to identify and experience our true nature in the present, but the fluctuations of the mind are taking us away from this by moving us away from the present and clouding our ability to see the radiance that we are now. This sutra is warning us that the path isn't easy, and there is a great probability that our mind (and ego) will trick us along the way. A great analogy I found while learning more about this sutra is to think about filters for photos. The original photo is the truth. You can chose different filters to enhance different areas of the photo. Some of the filters will appear to make the photo more beautiful, others could make it seem ugly, but ALL of the filters are hiding the original photo. They are all making it more difficult to see the truth of that particular moment. 

I feel like this sutra is simply asking us to observe and question. Observe what the mind is saying and creating. Question what you believe. Then ask yourself . . . . . is this even true?  

Sutra 1.4 The mind tends to identify with the fluctuations that it creates

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