अनित्याशुचिदुःखानात्मसु नित्यशुचिसुखात्मख्यातिरविद्या I
anitya-asuci-duhkha-anatmasu nitya-suci-sukha-atmakhyatih-avidya I
"Misunderstanding is when we perceive the temporary (anitya) as eternal (nitya), the impure (asuci) as pure (suci), pain (duhkha) as joy (sukha) and matter (anatmasu) as the soul (atma)."
Sri Patanjali has been dubbed the "Father of Yoga," although he is not the creator of this ancient practice. The origin of his life is said to have begun somewhere between 5000BCE and 300CE. According to the research of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, "Sri Patanjali never forgets theory without practice will never truly satisfy us- and it is in this that we can find evidence of his great compassion."
As we delve into this sutra, we begin to see how our projections of 'impermanence' and 'permanence' disorient our connection to the universe. As you explore this notion in your own life, how have you projected an eternal/permeant belief about the ever changing nature of your life? Perhaps as you look to nature, you begin to notice the cyclical evolution of each season. These natural seasons become metaphors for our day to day lives. Nature helps us to foster compassion for the life and death cycle of the natural world. What thoughts have you surmised about your life that keep you stuck in ignorance? Imaginably our thoughts slide into quicksand thinking..."This situation will last forever...My heart will never be the same...I can't endure my financial situation for a second longer...My relationship with this individual will always be like this...My body will always look like this." How does buying into the judgements of the mind keep you on a habitual cycle of impermanence?
Another trap that we fall into when we are invested in ignorant thinking is an illusionary viewpoint of seeing the 'impure' as 'pure.' What does this really mean in your day to day life? Pure is defined as, "free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind." What contaminates your sacred infinite self? Perhaps you notice the chatter of your mind cluttered up with illusionary thoughts of self. What if you saw yourself the way the Divine sees you? As I reflect on this part of the sutra, I am reminded that we often cling to the external world to in some way satisfy our internal nature. As we compassionately gaze further into our lives, how many times have we relied on our financial status, or our titles to provide us with a sense of 'peace' or 'importance?' What if in this moment we touched our heart center and breathed in the pure light of our divine nature?
The 'painful' as the 'pleasant' is another facet of Avidya or Ignorance. As I reflect on this part of the sutra, my mind travels back to being a little girl. I was only 5 or 6 years old and I remember standing on my parents back porch during a super sunny day. As I was standing there soaking in the rays of the sun, I gazed down and was totally intrigued by 2 wasps that were circling near my toes. I was so curious about these winged creatures. I stared in amazement as one of them landed on my big toe. It only took a few seconds for the tears to sting my eyes as I cried out in pain. Unknowingly to me, the wasp had just bitten me. According to Carrera, " This sutra suggests that we can use our intellect to help shorten this painful process by remembering and examining both the short- and long- term effects of our experiences." To me, this sutra invites the element of curiosity to accompany our judgements of situations in our lives.
The 'Non-Self' as the 'Self.' When I think of this part of the sutra, I have to chuckle as I think of my beautiful mama. She has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. If I need support, guidance, love, or just a big ole hug, I know I can turn to her. Just the other day she was complimenting me, and I couldn't help but throw the ball back into her court.
"Sarah you are such a honey bunny."
"Well mama, they say we are mirrors for each other, so you might as well turn that into an I statement for yourself."
She giggled out-loud as she dared utter the same words about herself that she had professed to me.
As we help others to recognize their eternal light, we uncover another layer of the 'Self.' This 'Self' is not governed by the material world. This 'Self' is equated with 'being,' rather with 'doing.' We are not our possessions, nor are we are experiences. We are far more infinitely created than the 'luggage' of life that we have accumulated. We are the unadulterated self who is unified with the Absolute.
I'm so excited to delve a bit deeper and wade into these waters of truth. Each line of our life is rich with wisdom. The wisdom of these ancient texts elaborately encourages us to live in such a simple and connected manner! As you move through your day, may you be encouraged to notice the habits of your mind as you compassionately explore and awaken.
May You Sweetly Seek:)