A Sutra a Day: I-39 – Post-it-note Proclamations

Jun 27, 2012 | XSutras, xTmp, Yoga practices, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali | 2 comments


Quotation by c. S. Lewis re 'change'

I’m not sure I believe in affirmations. In fact, I think I read a study somewhere that said affirmations can work against you.
Say you pick a slogan such as, “I am happy and free”, and you write up some post-it-note messages to be placed strategically around your home. Everywhere you turn, there’s a reminder of the state of being that you aspire to as though it already exists.
But, here’s the thing that can trip you up: you don’t feel happy and free. Or, you notice that sometimes you feel happiness but at other times you don’t. Then, you become discouraged, lose faith in the affirmations and end up feeling down as a result.
Like I said, I don’t really know about the efficacy of affirmations, but when I practice yoga nidra, I do adopt a san culpa (intention), just trusting to my subconscious mind to deliver (or not).
I decided today I’d give the affirmation thing a try myself, and make an attempt to address a problem that often trips me up. I tend to be a worrier and overly responsible, bordering on, dare I say, a control freak. I would prefer to be more of a light-hearted and free spirit, and to that end I found an appropriate quote:

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded.
Someone sober will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be. – Rumi

I’ll report back on how I go with the above.
I’m not quite sure how any of this relates to Patanjali and Sutra I-39 but I think I can stretch the cloth to fit.
What follows is the last of six sutra that describe how to achieve the state of stillness (nirodha). Patanjali says “any object whatsoever can serve as a prop for concentration as long as it is found to be of practical expediency.”*


Or, [restriction is achieved] through meditative-absorption as desired.*
*The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, a new translation and commentary by Georg Feuerstein.


  1. Haha! Eve,
    Tamara and Randy sent me that card a few years ago. I want to add my 2 cents, although I have found my teacher, Pema Chodron’s statement on affirmations to be spot on, I do think that choosing a Rumi poem for yours is brilliant!
    “Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s passing memory and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine.” —Pema Chodron

    • Oh, Pen, I love this Pema Chodron quote! She really hit the mark!
      Look forward to seeing you up here at Mitchells Island one of these days.
      XO E


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