October 03, 2020

Sutra 1.41: Crystal Clear

Samadhi Pada: Yoga of Being in the Now

    1.41 Ksina vritti abhijatasyeva maner grahitr grahana grahyesu tatstha tadanjanata samapattih
    • ksina = reduced / under control / minimized
    • vritti = activity of the mind / modifications of the mind
    • abhijatasy = pure / clear / transparent
    • eva = reflect / like
    • maner = crystal / diamond
    • grahitr = perceiver / subject
    • grahana = perception / the process of knowing
    • grahyesu = the perceived / object
    • tatstha = without distortion / becomes like / assuming the colour of a near object
    • tadanjanata = equally / taking on the colouring
    • samapattih = complete absorption / comes together
"Will you shut up, man?" is an exasperated statement said to a world leader this past week, but it's also a comment that could easily be said to our minds. Maybe it's too much for me to presume that your mind is like mine with many, many, many unproductive thoughts swirling around it in any given day. However, this sutra seems to make the same presumption I have and gives a possibility of what may happen to the mind if it would just get quiet, listen and be still.

According to sutra 1.41, when we practice yoga (specifiacally one-pointed focused meditation) we will eventually get to a state where the monkey mind chatter fades away and the mind is quiet. It's at this point that the mind becomes like a clear crystal that we can see through. The crystal reflects the qualities and colours that are on the other side of it to show things exactly as they are. So why does this matter for us? If we can get to this state, who and what we really are will be reflected back to us. THIS is the point of yoga.

An example for this sutra that I resonated with involves a gently flowing river or stream. If you simply allow this water to move, the debris is swept away, and you can clearly see what is on the bottom and what is reflected on top. But when you start to tromp in the water, the junk on the ground is stirred up, ripples are created on the top and the visibility and clarity through the water is gone. When the river is murky, or the mind clouded, it's difficult to see the beauty and possibility. 

So based on sutra 1.41, I challenge you this week to use this image of a river to help you get quiet, calm and clear. Start by sitting or lying down, and in your mind picture a river running through your body that is clouded with dirt and debris. While taking deep breaths, see this river flowing and carrying the junk along with it. As the river continues to flow, see if you can start to see it become more and more clear with every breath until eventually it is a steady stream of crystal clear water that you can see right to the bottom. This may happen relatively quickly, or it may take a little bit of time. Once you've had the experience of visualizing both types of water, make some mental notes. How did you feel in your body and mind when you pictured a murky river? How did you feel in your body and mind when your river was clear? Feel free to touch base during the week if you have any questions or to let me know how this experience went for you. 

Good luck and wishing you a week of crystal clear waters!      

Sutra 1.41 With complete absorption, when the activity of the mind is reduced, the mind becomes like 
pure crystal reflecting equally without distortion, the perceiver, the perception and the perceived.  .  

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