The Sixth Yoga Sutra

They are right knowledge, misperception, conceptualization, sleep and memory.

These are the five types of thought, and in the subsequent sutras Patanjali will discuss each of these.

As I slowly move through these first yoga sutras, I realize I am observing myself – watching, thinking. Almost as if I am watching a movie about “Someone Who Is Studying the Yoga Sutras”!

In My Dreams by Eugenia Podgornaya

And I wonder if that changes you, and how? During the time I was studying yoga and shamanism with my teacher, Ray, we had discussions amongst the students about a peculiar premise of Quantum Theory: By the very act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality.

Here, from the magazine Nature (1998), is a description of this phenomena,

In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of “watching,” the greater the observer’s influence on what actually takes place.

Today my entire state of mind is different: I feel calm, positive.  I think these teachings are a kind of light, which I can hold up to better observe my own behavior. As look more closely, am I changing? Is this wisdom somehow being absorbed by my heart, by my spirit? Perhaps observing ourselves, our reactions, our behaviors changes us – changes us for the better.

This, the Sixth Sutra, concerns what mental modifications, thoughts, vritti, look like. They fall into three categories: 1) How we gather information 2) Sleep 3) Memory. I hope that in considering each of these I will learn how to take a more balanced and joyful approach to life. To each day.

Illustration: In My Dreams, by Eugenia Podgornaya




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