January 16, 2021

Sutra 2.2: You Won't Always Be OK


Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)

    2.2 Samadhi bhavanarthah klesa tanukaranarthas ca
    • samadhi = goal of yoga / being in the now / enlightenment
    • bhavanarthah = attain / bring about / orient towards / cultivate
    • klesa = afflictions / obstacles / burdens 
    • tanukarana = weaken / minimize
    • arhtas = purpose / goal
    • ca = and

The poet Hafiz said: 

"You don't have to act crazy anymore -
We all know you were good at that,

Now retire, my dear,
From all that hard work you do

Of bringing pain to your sweet eyes and heart. . . . 

On the day that this post was written and picture taken, I was (as Hafiz says) "crazy." I wish I could say that within a short amount of time I noticed it, I did my practices, it blew over and I was ok. I wish I could say that at least my crazy only lasted a day. I wish I could say that I am living proof that yoga works miracles. Instead, the best I can say is I am human, I know I won't always be ok, but I do know yoga will eventually bring comfort and often guidance (though usually not in the "crazy" moments) to lead me back to being ok. That is the point of sutra 2.2.

Last week's sutra (2.1) described the triad of yoga in action - effort, awareness and surrender. It identified the "what" of the practice or the things we need to do to reach the ultimate goal of samadhi (presence, peace, equanimity, etc.) Today, sutra 2.2 identifies the "why." Patanjali wants us to acknowledge that we are human. There WILL be obstacles and afflictions (klesas) on our path. It will be painful, but there is a way to work towards and practice lessening the suffering we inflict upon ourselves. We engage in yoga in action (effort (breathe), awareness (receive), surrender (give thanks)) to minimize the obstacles that stand in our way and cloud our understanding of the fact that within us we ARE already presence and peace. Ultimately our "crazies" are a signal that we aren't currently in alignment with that which we really and truly are. As human beings we will most likely never rid ourselves of the crazies, but we can somewhat prepare ourselves and practice for those times when they do show up.

Next week, the sutras will give more specifics of these obstacles we might encounter along our path. But for now, your challenge for the week is to compassionately delve into your shadow side. Think about the things that cause you to suffer. These triggers, situations, people, memories, etc. can ultimately be blessings and gifts that lead to understanding and growth. Yoga provides tools to clear the clutter of this "stuff" and teaches us that underneath the shroud of darkness, we will and have always been light. Like yoga, the poet Hafiz recognized this as evidenced by the ending of his poem which was started above . . .    

        . . . Look in a clear mountain mirror -
        See the Beautiful Ancient Warrior
        And the Divine elements
        You always carry inside

        That infused this Universe with sacred Life
        So long ago
        And join you Eternally
        With all Existence! 

        - Hafiz 

Sutra 2.1 Yoga in action (kriya yoga) is practiced for the purpose of 
minimizing afflictions and attain the goal of yoga (samadhi) .  

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