Those of you brave readers who have gone the distance with me as I blog ” A Sutra A Day” have watched me trying to figure out 78 aphorisms to date. Every day I’ve been consulting with seven different translators’ commentaries to arrive at a post that hopefully integrates Patanjali’s pithy wisdom with my life as a country yogini. I’m just a beginning student of the Old Sage, but everyone has to make a start somewhere.
Friends have asked what I’ve been learning in this process.
1. Humility, for one thing. I’ve been involved in yoga for a long time and only come to yoga philosophy late in life. I’m amazed by what there is still to discover about yoga. Albert Einstein’s words get to the point:
“The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.”
2. Osmosis. I have been pleasantly surprised that I’ve been able to absorb some of Patanjali’s intelligence just by hanging out with his commentators and, from this material, attempting to forge meaningful connections with my ordinary life. It seems to pay to hang out in good company.
3. Reality checks. It would seem that a lot of material in the Yoga Sutra relates to the human tendency toward misperception or not seeing things clearly as they are. Patanjali wants us to understand that our minds are not necessarily reliable observers and our opinions, observations, and beliefs should be seen as passing clouds in a breezy sky – not to be taken as ultimate truths.
4. Attentiveness is the door that we step through to find our true selves. Paying attention, being here now, moment-to-moment mindfulness is the path to ultimate freedom.
So far, so good