Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)
- 2.7 Sukha anusayi ragah
- sukha = happiness / pleasure / joy
- anusayi = dwells upon / followed by / resulting in
- ragah = attachment / attraction / desire / addiction
The energy and wisdom of a full moon is the art of letting go. While new moons are about beginnings and setting intentions, full moons are about completions allowing removal and release. Maybe full moons carry so much power because in actuality, the very experience of life is a practice of letting go. Whatever you "have" now, will one day (sooner or later) be gone. This truth that life is continually changing, uncertain and impermanent is the root of this week's sutra.
Because this sutra talks about how happiness can cause attachment, it could be misconstrued that Patanjali wants us to avoid happiness as happiness leads to suffering. I tend to agree with the translation that it's not happiness that's the problem, but what sometimes results from happiness that can lead to the klesha (obstacle) of raga (attachment). Here's a concrete example . . . . . imagine one of your small guilty pleasures (let's say chocolate). If/when you allow yourself to indulge and have some chocolate, the moment you place it in your mouth there may be a burst of joy from your tastebuds, extreme satisfaction, or angels singing from the heavens! You are happy IN THE MOMENT . . . this is not a problem. However, after the sense of satisfaction and joy and after the chocolate is gone, are you craving another one? Are you thinking of what occasion you can indulge again? Are you focused on what you can do to experience that previous moment in the future? THIS is where the problem/klesha lies. This second wave of attaching to a certain feeling, situation, experience and how to get it takes you out of the present moment. Happiness doesn't cause suffering, not focusing on the present moment does and when we are trying to recreate an experience, desperately holding on to that which will eventually be gone or projecting what happiness will look like in the future, we are no longer in the present moment which is the only juncture that can ever bring peace.
Now I know this can seem like a bit of a bummer, especially if what you have or are experiencing in life at the moment is really good. But what if, instead we allow this knowledge to empower us? The Dalai Lama said "Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment." So, your challenge for the week is to use every precious moment to appreciate and simply be where you are right now while letting go of all the rest. When you're working, work. When you're lazy, be and appreciate your laziness. When you're in the middle of the hard stuff, just be with it knowing that whether or not you learn something from the experience, eventually it too shall pass. That is the (sometimes heartbreaking) beauty of yoga and of life.