Yoga Sutra I:33
Methods to keep mindstuff peaceful and happy:
By cultivation of feelings of friendship and fellowship toward those who are happy, by great compassion and love toward those who are unhappy and suffering, by joy and entertainment toward those who are meritorious and virtuous, by neutrality and indifference toward those who are demeritorious and evil-natured, a yogin should attain undisturbed peace and happiness of mindstuff, chittam.
When a yogin thus cultivates friendliness, the thinking substance becomes serene.
Breathing exercises are suggested to overcome obstacles and diseases, and to keep mindstuff calm and serene so that it becomes stable in concentration.
“The Textbook of Yoga Psychology by Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D.)
Keys to happiness according to Patanjali:
1. Happiness for our friends
2. Compassion to those who are suffering
3. Joy at other people’s accomplishments
4. Neutrality toward those whose opinions are different than ours
1. Happiness for our friends seems easy enough. But what IF they do something we do not approve of? For Example, your best friend is marrying someone you do not like. If you are not happy for your friend you will create separateness between you and your friend, not harmony.
2. Compassion even for those suffering even if their suffering is because of their own actions.
3. Joy for those who are meritorious. Why is it when a colleague gets a promotion or raise, we instantly feel like we “deserve something too”. Most likely that is our ego feeling the need for reassurance. Acronym for ego = Easing God Out. The bigger our ego, the less room in us for God. What about when our best friend loses 10 lbs.? Are we happy for them? Being secure in ourselves will make that easier.
4. Neutrality towards those whose opinions are different than ours. If someone is causing you strife, you can turn the other cheek, just smile and move on. If someone is trying to argue an opinion with you, DO NOT ENGAGE. Engaging in word battles causes pain and suffering (remember the root word of sarcasm?). You each are just trying to convince the other of your opinion, in the end, most likely neither of you will change your minds!
All You need is LOVE
How do you love someone who is in your life that you do not choose to be there (ex. A relative or co-worker)?
FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
Pretend as if you do love this person. This does not mean being fake, resentful, sarcastic, or “pouring it on”. When you are around this person be yourself and behave as this is a person you love. This will change the energy between you and this person. TRY IT!
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy. Beatles
Another method of attaining the four keys to peace and happiness is to find grounding within yourself. When you are secure in you, finding joy in other people’s accomplishments is not a threat to you. When you are secure in you, neutrality towards those who are demeritorious comes easier, you do not feel the need to convince someone else of your opinion to seek their approval of you.
How do you find grounding within yourself? Get to know yourself better. Just like an artist painting, if he does not like what he sees, one brush stroke at a time, he changes the picture. As you sit and look inside yourself, you can ONE brush stroke at a time begin to change what you would like to improve about yourself.
When you are feeling a lack of serenity while dealing with someone, you do have a tool you can use to keep your mindstuff serene and your actions friendly; your breath. Recall the belly breath you have learned in class, use your breath to calm your nervous system and your mind. Remember the old saying, “take 10 breaths”?
In review this month, the tools we can use to cultivate friendliness in all our actions:
All you need is Love, and if you are not feeling it, FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
Be grounded in yourself and secure within yourself. To find grounding within yourself, get to know yourself better!
When lacking all the above, BREATHE!
Each Yoga posture is an opportunity to practice breathing during stress. Yoga poses are a stress to the body, we then find our breath while in this “stressful” situation (a pose). In this way we learn off the mat how to find our breath in the midst of stress.
Sweeping your breath along your body with you mind, your breathing will transmit its calming influence. This type of breathing is relaxing and nourishing.
Establish a relaxed 1:1 belly breath
- Observing your breath, breathe as if your breath is flowing from the crown of your head down to your toes. Inhale back to the crown of your head. Take three to five breaths at each level.
- Exhale from the crown down to the level of your ankles. As the length your breath travels shortens, your breath does not. The movement in your mind matches your breath.
- Exhale down to the level of your knees
- Exhale down to the base of your spine. Now we are starting to breathe into each of the energy centers within the body, balancing them.
- Exhale to the navel center
- Exhale to the heart center
- Exhale to the throat center
- Exhale to the eyebrow center. Breathe back and forth between the crown and the eyebrow center 5-10x
- Now REVERSE the order and descend from the throat through to the toes.
- Finish by breathing as if your whole body breathes. Let your exhalation flow downward as if your breath is flowing through the soles of your feet and on to infinity. Inhaling, breathe as if your breath is a wave flowing upward through your body and the crown of your head and onward to infinity. Sense that you are lying in a wave of energy and bliss.