A Sutra a Day: III-19 – What Does It Mean?

Oct 24, 2012 | Being a writer, Healing, Philosophy, Wisdom, XSutras, xTmp, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali | 0 comments

I’ve had it in mind for years to write my life story. I suppose I lot of people have the idea of recording their memoirs. I actually did have a go at composing my story, but for the time being it remains just an inactive file in my computer.
I do have a first paragraph for you to read, though:

I don’t know how someone younger than 60 odd years can write about herself with any objectivity, and I’m not even saying that I can. But I do think if one is going to sum oneself up, it is helpful to get up the ladder high enough for some perspective and detachment and maybe even for some self-forgiveness for the mistakes one’s made.

I’m always amused by memoirs that are published by celebrity 20-something-year-olds. How is it possible to look at your life when you’re only one rung up the age ladder?
Stephen Cope says in his beautiful new book, The Great Work of Your Life:

Much of the developmental work of middle and old age is precisely about putting experience into perspective – about understanding perhaps for the first time what one’s life really means.

It’s as though understanding one’s own life can only happen by digesting all our experiences and becoming conscious of the factors that have conditioned us. Because yoga helps us know and accept ourselves, we get secure enough to shine a light onto the shadowy parts of ourselves. Along the way, as we know ourselves better, we can see better into the hearts and minds of other people, also, which will possibly create not only understanding but compassion, too.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
― Pema ChödrönThe Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

A little higher up the ladder, a few more moons under my belt, watch this space….

Pratyayasya paracittajnanam

Focusing with perfect discipline on the perceptions of another yields insight into that person’s consciousness.*
*The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, a new translation with commentary by Chip Hartranft.


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