SUTRA SUNDAE! SUTRA 1.4: VRTTI SARUPYAM ITARATA

TRANSLATION: Sometimes your Self seems to take the form of your mental modifications.

In the modern world, identity, individuality is everything; we fight for it. We pride ourselves on being unique. The media tells us that what we achieve and our stuff = who we are.  I go to the store and see a dress and feel like I have to have it because it is SO me! In these moments an idea about self is created in our heads. Yet, does self reside in our heads or even bodies for that matter? We don’t like to be labeled and yet we label ourSelves with our thoughts ABOUT ourselves: our careers, social positions, race, age, relationships, ideas, behaviors, tendencies, likes, dislikes… We say, I’m a doctor, I’m rich, I’m poor, I’m a father, I’m a teenager, I’m middle aged, I’m outgoing, I’m smart, I’m an amazing this, or I suck at that, my style is this… But, when we strip away all these classifications that describe us, we are left with the reality of who we are in the purest sense. This can be difficult because we live in a world that has so many distractions. Not to judge this as good or bad, it’s just the way it is. We don’t have to live on a mountain and dress like a monk in order cultivate self awareness. But, in order to connect, we do need to understand what the self IS NOT. Anything that can change is not who you are. Getting down to the essence, de-accessorizing ourselves, we begin to uncover our unshakable truth. We like to put everything into a box. We also label animals, plants, even inanimate objects. If you ask a scientist what a table is, they will tell you it is made of energy. This same energy takes different forms and we chose to identify and classify it in various ways. According to Yogi’s like Patanjali, behind everything is a universal unchanging energy or self. In this common self, nothing is ever created or destroyed. The question then becomes: if you are not who/ what you THINK you are, who are you? The way we commonly define ourselves in a sort of: this is my body that is your body way,  only serves to further isolate and distance us from each other and creates reason for conflict. Through our practice, we begin to see that we exist separate from all that is material and start to experience the unity of all things. No two people will ever have the same body or mind. But, in the self, there is a sort of sameness, oneness. Have you ever had that moment where you felt like someone read your mind? Maybe you text or call someone at the exact moment they are contacting you. This sense of being in sync with another or with the world is Yoga, union. Underneath all of these superficial dividers, there is a common thread, a universal oneness. Try for a moment to describe yourself without saying what you do, how old you are, where you are from, or what you look like. Kinda tough? What’s left is what we discover one day at a time through our committed and consistent practice of Yoga. WE do not reside in our minds or bodies, this deeper exploration is the pursuit of Yoga. So what do you think? These are of course merely my interpretations of Sri Swami Sachidananda’s interpretations. And what do I know? Wow, I used the word self a lot in this post…

February 28, 2010. yoga.

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