April 17, 2021

Sutra 2.14: I Am

Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)

    2.14 Te hlada paritapa phalah punya apunya hetutvat
    • te = these / it / these are
    • hlada = pleasant / enjoyable
    • paritapa = pain / anguish
    • phalah = fruits / outcome
    • punya = virtue / virtuous / benevolent
    • apunya = vice / non-virtuous / impure
    • hetutvat = being caused by / on account of

This week's sutra appears to be fairly straight forward - do "good" things/think good thoughts and you'll have positive experiences or do "bad" things/think bad thoughts and you'll have negative experiences. It's basically a 'reap what you sow' kind of situation, and there is nothing wrong with letting this sutra be just that. However, I think it's easy to see (especially these days) that life, or maybe human perception is not that black and white.

A large part of my inner work right now is revolving around words, stories, perceptions and choice. So for example, in the case of this sutra, what is "good" (and who deems it to be this) and what is "bad?" Completing the phrase "I am _____" with the word 'gentle' to one person could mean they are calm, even-tempered and compassionate, while another person takes it to mean they are weak, a push over and apathetic. Each of these gentle people inserting their stories and perceptions into a simple word possibly resulting in very different experiences. Is there really a good or bad, pleasure or pain and who decides which is which?

For me, I see this sutra as illustrating how powerful we all are. At any moment, on any day, we can choose who we are and claim our identity. But, with any great power comes great responsibility. We not only hold the responsibility of creating who we choose to be, but the responsibility to allow and honour who others choose to be. In this time where so much in our world is divided, remember your truth is not THE truth. Be careful, be aware and be mindful of what judgments or assumptions you may be making knowing that the truth isn't so clear cut (if it even really exists 🤯)

Your homework for this week is to be aware of the identity you are claiming moment to moment, reform or change it when/if it feels necessary (know that it's malleable) and be kind and compassionate to others as we all navigate through this wild yet wonderful experience of life.     

Sutra 2..14 These outcomes of pleasure or pain are caused by virtue or vice.

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