May 08, 2021

Sutra 2.17: Doesn't Mean a Thing

Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)

    2.17 Drastr drsyayoh samyogo heya hetuh 
    • drastr = the seer / he who perceives
    • drsyayoh = the seen / that which is experienced
    • samyogo = union / bond
    • heya = suffering / prevented / to be avoided
    • hetuh = cause / reason

I am fortunate at the moment to have the guidance of a few incredible mentors. Something they have been drilling into my head is the idea "nothing has meaning except the meaning we give it." What meaning do you give to the word suffering?

Suffering was the topic for the last two sutras, and it continues to be the focus for today. Sutra 2.15 told us that life is suffering. Sutra 2.16 told us that we can overcome future suffering. Today, sutra 2.17 defines what causes suffering.

Remember that the goal of yoga is to tap into our true, authentic self. It's easy when we're babies to be naturally connected to this. We haven't yet been programmed, conditioned or had experiences that cloud over this reality. As we get older though, we start to make attachments to our relationships, our possessions, our jobs, the experiences we've gone through, etc. We start attaching meaning to things that actually have no meaning. We use them and the stories we've created around them to identify who we now believe ourselves to be. 

According to Sutra 2.17 suffering is believing that we are our circumstances. We may identify as poor if we have no money, weak if we have no energy, single if we have no partner, etc. But we aren't really these things. We're merely a human being who is experiencing these things. According to yoga anytime we fail to realize the magnificence of who we truly are and instead tie our essence and worth to externals . . . . that is suffering!

So, your challenge for this week is to merely practice the idea that things in the external world are neutral and have no meaning. YOU are the one that attaches meaning to them, and it's in this meaning making that suffering occurs. Whether you are in a yoga posture that is uncomfortable, you're annoyed with a friend, or a gorilla in a pick up truck passes you on the highway, just stop and ask yourself "What am I making this mean?" Then let go of those interpretations and remember you are not these circumstances or meanings, you are simply magnificently you. So, go be that!        

Sutra 2.17 The cause of suffering is the union of the seer with the seen.

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