Sometimes I think that minds were originally designed so we could be entertained by watching the play of our thoughts. But, then, a bug, a virus, a mutation somehow got in and corrupted the system. Instead of benign and happy thoughts, we ended up with judgments, paranoia, obsessions, projections, misconceptions, bad memories, and so on.
Walking on the beach today in the 20 degree sunshine, I basked in pleasant thoughts, thinking myself blessed, and admiring the natural beauty of the setting.
- Good/Bad Thinking - Sutra I-5
In a different situation yesterday, I was sitting with the nurse at the medical centre, awaiting the jab of a needle containing the vaccine for warding off pneumococcal disease. I would like to say that my head was full of grateful thoughts towards our government for providing free injections for over 65’s. All I could think of, though, was the list of side effects I’d seen from Dr. Google, including allergic reactions, such as:

  1. Behavior changes
  2. Breathing difficulty, including wheezing
  3. High fever
  4. Rapid heart beat
I’m writing to you now, so obviously I haven’t succumbed to any nasty side effects, but I did give myself a good scare.
Patanjali has categorised five types of thinking that can be either beneficial or hurtful:
vrttaya pancatayah klista-aklistah

TKV Desikachar in Patanjali’s Yogasutras: An Introduction gives my favourite translation of the Sanskrit words above because his phrasing rings so true.
“There are five activities of the mind. Each of them can be beneficial and each can cause problems.”
But here’s the rub – it doesn’t matter – good, bad or neutral – it’s all thinking. Yoga is about having the ability to still the wind that whips up the surface of the lake, so we can see our true natures.
However, given the element of choice, I’d rather have a dose of beach sunshine than a shot, even if the latter is supposed to be good for me.


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