- 1.37 Vita raga vishayam va chittam
"mini-series" of Sutras 1.32-1.39:
- Sutra 1.32 introduces the idea of single pointed focus (the theme for this miniseries)
- Sutra 1.33 provides four locks and four keys to work towards peace in relationships and internal calm.
- Sutra 1.34-1.39 provides oars to help row towards the path of peace
- Sutra 1.34 the oar of breath
- Sutra 1.35 the oar of the senses
- Sutra 1.36 the oar of light
- Sutra 1.37 the oar of inspiration of another
The last sutra "oar" that we worked with (1.36) focused on our own inner light. However, sadly some of us (including me) may have trouble seeing the light in ourselves at different periods in time. Patanjali recognized this and gave us another way to see and recognize the light within. If it's difficult for us to believe in our own virtue, we can start by observing and reflecting on the goodness of others.
There are a few different ways this sutra can be interpreted. One way is to meditate on a master, sage, saint, etc. that examplifies qualities such as compassion, wisdom, or equanimity. Depending on beliefs or what you are drawn to, you could focus on God, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Patanjali, etc. Imagine the state of their mind if they were sitting in meditation, and see if you can copy this.
Another interpretation is to simply focus on someone who has the qualities you would like to emulate. Though it is no doubt beneficial to focus on a master, sage or saint, directing attention towards a person and meditating/dwelling on the good they have within can be just as powerful. At the beginning of this year, we lost my uncle. He he was kind, open and compassionate, and there were nothing but words of respect, praise and love spoken at his celebration of life. I will always remember a conversation we had that impacted my perspective of life before he died, as well as finding out after he passed about some actions he took that benefitted some of us in the family. He wasn't without flaws and made some mistakes (as we all have and do as humans), but this sutra has us look at, and focus on the goodness that we all have as humans.
By meditating on and focusing our attention on a person or figure we admire or are inspired by, sooner or later we may find that we start to embody the qualities and ways of being we most admire in the person/figure we are focusing on. Meditation can lead the observer to become the observed and whatever you observe, you may very well one day become! So, this week's meditation guides you to choose a person or figure for the focal point of your meditation. Once again grab some headphones, find a comfortable spot to sit and press play (to download a copy of this meditation, on your desktop click the arrow in the square on the right)
Your challenge for this week is to do one (or both) of the following things - practice this meditation at least once a day for the next week and/or think of a person or figure in your life who inspires you, and see if you can make decisions or take actions in your day in a way that you think your chosen person/figure would. We become like the people we surround ourselves with, even those people we hold within the concentration of our minds!
Sutra 1.37 Or concentration of the mind on a subject
without attachment (someone who is peaceful).