I began this sutra journey at the beginning of the year simply because I was curious. It was a text that was required reading in my teacher training but barely discussed. Like many philosophy books/concepts, it can be difficult to grasp. Even now, having gone through the first chapter (pada) sutra by sutra, it would be foolish to believe I have anything close to a complete understanding of it. Yet, what this book and the individual sutras did give me over this year was some comfort.
"It's ok not to be optimistic. Buddhist teachings say, feeling that you have to maintain hope all the time can wear you out. So, just be present. The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present"
The main gist of the first pada is to focus on one thing, and as I navigated my way through the world this year, I came to realize that the one thing I needed to focus on is this biggest gift . . . here and now!
Below, I've compiled a summary of the sutras that I moved through this year put into categories. Maybe there's a sutra you'd like to look back at, maybe there is a category or title that is calling to you, maybe you want to choose one randomly to see if you can draw out some kind of message or inspiration. May these "simple" aphorisms give you comfort at a time when you may need them as they did for me.
Samadhi Pada: Yoga of Being in the Now
- Sutras 1-4 = definition of yoga
- Sutras 5-11 = different kinds of thoughts/obstacles
- Sutras 12-16 = balance of doing (abhyasa) and being (vairagya)
- 12: Do Be Do Be Do
- 13: Just Do It
- 14: Here for a Good Time AND a Long Time
- 15: Let It Be
- 16: Balance Baby
- Sutras 17-18 = types of concentration
- Sutras 19-20 = different types of yogis
- Sutras 21-22 = ways to practice (sincerity and intensity)
- 21-22:You Choose
- Sutras 23-29 = relinquish illusion of control
- Sutras 30-31 = lessons come from obstacles
- Sutras 32-39 = one pointed focus
- 32: One Thing
- 33: You Hold the Keys
- 34: Oar of the Breath
- 35: Oar of the Senses
- 36: This Little Light of Mine
- 37: You've Got That Thang
- 38: Sleep Class
- 39: You Choose
- Sutra 40-45 = why one pointed focus matters
- Sutra 46-49 = repeating important concepts
- Sutra 50-51 = you know who you are, now relax