March 20, 2021

Sutra 2.10: Observe the Thoughts

Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)

    2.10 Te pratiprasava heyah suksmah
    • te = these / it
    • prati = in opposition / against
    • prasava = source / origin / cause
    • heyah = overcome / relinquish / renounce
    • suksmah = subtle / delicate

EVERYTHING is mental!!! As someone who is an over-thinker, it sounds like something to celebrate and something I'm doing "right" . . Yeah!! But wait, it's actually the mind and thinking that produces the kleshas that we talked about in the last few sutras.

Remember, sutra 2.3 describes the kleshas as

"those things in life that twist around our ideas, thoughts habits perceptions, etc. to create limited beliefs or obstacles that prevent us from seeing the truth of who we really are"

 The kleshas include misperception (avidya), egoism (asmita), attachment (raga), aversion (dvesa) and fear (abhinivesah). It is the mind that creates these barriers to prevent us from seeing our authentic true nature, but this sutra tells us that it is also the mind that will help us to overcome these obstacles.

Yoga in the west tends to overemphasize and be overly attached to asana (the movement practice), but the yoga of the yoga sutras is ultimately a training of the mind. One main method to work with this is through meditation (which will be addressed more in next week's sutra), but as human beings out in the world, we can't be meditating all of the time!

Sutra 2.10 asks us to be mindful of our thoughts and observe what we're thinking. In order to overcome the kleshas, we must use the thinking mind. Know that you are not your thoughts, but you are the thinker of your thoughts. It's not necessarily the thoughts that are the problem, but when we get sucked into specific thought patterns and allow them to play over and over in our mind until we believe that they are true (no matter how false they may be). 

So . . . your homework for this week (I think we've had this one before) is to simply observe your thoughts. Are your thoughts predominantly negative or positive? Is there one thought or a group of thoughts that have constant replay in your mental space? Is it easy or difficult to bring yourself out into the role of observer of your thoughts or do you get trapped into believing your thoughts to be true? For extra bonus points, if you're looking for a way to work with stopping negative thoughts fairly quickly (which requires being hyper vigilant of watching your thinking), try working with Jim Fortin's "Master Thought Formula" I'm experimenting with this process right now and would love to hear how it goes for you!

Otherwise, enjoy your week, happy observing and remember . . . you can't always trust what you think!

Sutra 2.10 These subtle workings in opposition (kleshas) are overcome by returning to the source.

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