One of the great philosophy books of all time has to be Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Not only is it a brilliant description of our psyches but it offers techniques for becoming free and even enlightened.
How do we become free? By stilling the movement of the mind. Or, as Patanjali put it in Sanskrit:
Yogah Citta-Vrtti-Nirodhah.
Like many, I had a difficult upbringing. I made a decision, perhaps when I was very young, to not succumb to being a victim. On some level, I declared myself to be a survivor and went on to be as accomplished as I could. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be a great thing to be victorious over adversity. However, if one identifies with being a victor rather than a victim, there’s still an identity crisis looming. That is because there is another state that Patanjali is nudging us towards when our minds have become still.
He says that then it is possible to abide in our very own nature – Tadadrastuh Svarupe Avasthanam – meaning one is completely at home with oneself, within oneself. This is an experience, beyond victim and victor, not a concept but an awareness from within.
Even after many years of yoga practice, my glimpses of this state are fleeting, but I know my direction is true. And that to re-cover, dis-cover, uncover the very essence of the being that is I is the real prize.