The Seventh Yoga Sutra

The sources of right knowledge are direct perception, inference, and authoritative testimony. How can we understand things more clearly and make better decisions? Patanjali outlines the three reliable means for gaining information about Life and about The Self. They are: DIRECT PERCEPTION: Or, experience is the best teacher. But beware of the dreaded “mental modifications”,…

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…

The Fifth Yoga Sutra

There are five kinds of mental modifications, which are either painful or painless. “We forget that the pleasure we seek is actually who we are,” notes my reference text in a discussion of this sutra. This is so radically optimistic. And certainly a different perspective from the general notion that we are made of darker…

The Fourth Yoga Sutra

At Other Times, the Self Appears to Assume the Forms of the Mental Modifications Over the past several months I’ve been looking for a job, and finding it incredibly difficult. On one particular morning I woke up in a complete rage. I was angry at all the people who had not offered me a job,…

The Third Yoga Sutra

Then the Seer (the Self) Abides in Its Own Nature This sutra seems to complete the idea put forth in the Second Sutra: when the mind is still, not only are we able to see what is, but we are able to experience ourselves as pure awareness. In a perfectly still, clear mind ignorance vanishes…

The Second Yoga Sutra

The Restraint of the Modifications of the Mind Stuff is Yoga Here’s where the language of the sutras can lose you. “Modifications of the Mind Stuff”? What the heck is that?  And jumping ahead to peek at upcoming sutras, I can see it doesn’t get much better. A reference book comes in handy*, and also…

The First Yoga Sutra

Now, Yoga.  Not later, not soon – now. The study of yoga requires that we pull ourselves out of the swamp of the past, that we set aside worrying about the future. It insists upon – and is also the pathway towards – clarity of mind and focus of attention on the present moment. Now….

Seeing Life The Way It Is

“These women seem to have such perfect, well-planned out lives – its almost intimidating,” commented a friend, after reading profiles I’d written for a Palm Beach lifestyle magazine of three women with unusual career trajectories. That got me thinking. Because not only are each of these women flawed and imperfect (as well as talented and…