Sutra I.5 – Chapter I, Sutra 5

वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाक्लिष्टाः 

vrttayah pancatayyah klistaklistah

The mind is a combination of five (panca) different activities (vrttis). Each of these activities can either be problematic, resulting in pain (klista) or non-problematic and painless (aklista).

PRACTICAL LIVING     The past 3 sutras have mentioned the mind several times. We have explored the definition of Yoga in Sutra I.2: the mind’s ability to choose an object, focus on it and sustain that focus. Sutra I.3 mentions how having a “clean” mind is essential in order to live a peaceful life. But what is the mind? This sutra begins to answer this question and introduces the idea that we can only understand the mind through its activities. The next sutra states what these 5 activities are:

  • pramana (correct understanding or clear perception)
  • viparyaya (misperception)
  • vikalpa (imagination)
  • nidra (deep sleep)
  • smrtti (memory)

This sutra says that all of these activities can either cause us problems or not. Memory (smrtti) of a wonderful trip to the Himalayas can bring us to a positive state of mind in the present. On the other hand, the negative or traumatic memories of the dog that bit us when we were little can prevent us from seeing things clearly in the present, so that even seeing a stuffed dog on a child’s lap can be a painful experience. Misperception (viparyaya) often causes pain because the mind is colored from past experiences. We assume and judge others and later realize that they had not intended or said the words we had heard. However, misperception can be painless many times. The expression “ignorance is bliss” describes this idea. If a 94-year old woman, who is physically and mentally vulnerable from old age hears that her 54-year old son committed suicide, would knowing the truth be good for her? In this case, not knowing the truth (hearing it was an accident) may be the best for her; less painful and problematic at her advanced age. Similarly, we can use the imagination (vikalpa) to visualize a beautiful future, or we can use it to worry about all the horrible things that could happen to us if we were caught in a Tsunami. Finally, deep sleep (nidra) is a necessary daily activity which prevents us from having health problems. It could, however, become a problem if that is our main activity while we are driving or if we are depressed and sleeping 20 hours per day.

Whether these activities are beneficial or problematic cannot be seen immediately. Time will reveal the effects. The good thing is that we have a lifetime to learn which activities are  causing problems, so that we can make the necessary changes to ultimately see things clearly (pramana).

IN THE YOGA WORLD     The journey towards inner peace is long: committed seekers accept that there will be challenges along the way. Many of us live in viparyaya frequently. The reason for that is because we tend to focus on negative thoughts. Every thought creates an imprint (samskara), which is easier and easier to access every time we have that same thought over and over again. In Chapter II, Patanjali reveals the causes for suffering: ignorance (avidya), ego (asmita), attachment (raga), avoidance (dvesa) and fear (abhinivesa). All of those lead to viparyaya – not seeing things clearly. Our problematic thoughts (klista vrttis) often lead us to misperception (viparyaya), which result in ignorance (avidya – we will discuss this more in Chapter 2), causing us to see the world from an “I” or ego (asmita) perspective, eventually causing us to suffer (duhkha). On the other hand, non-problematic thoughts (aklista vrttis) frequently result in correct perception (pramana), which cultivates discernment (viveka), and later leading to freedom (kaivalya – the ultimate goal of Yoga).

INSPIRATIONAL PERSON     Heather is one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever met. She has been there to answer phone calls when I was a ‘little’ emotional. She has listened to my mind go through a million thoughts, which were often based on complete misperception (viparyaya). This woman has an infinite capacity to look at me, listen and just be compassionate with little to no judgment. I thank you Heather for the numerous times you listened to my stories and offered the simplest, yet immensely powerful tools that have helped me in my life journey! I also super cherish all the fun moments we spent dancing to live music or making sand angels at the beach🙂

63 thoughts on “Sutra I.5 – Chapter I, Sutra 5

  1. Always good to remember the activities of our mind… so interesting how easy we forget that we normally act based on viparyaya. I wonder how our actions would be if we remember this possibility -misperception- every time before feeling the hurry to act or make an opinion…🙂

    • Gabi, the world would be a “little” different for sure🙂 I believe that as sutra I.17 says, it is hard initially but the more we practice the easier it becomes to admit to our ignorance🙂

  2. Reading these sutras has made me aware how dependant I am to my samskaras. Those little habits and reactions that occur without even thinking. Part of my personal practice has become noticing the pause between the action and reaction. Becoming more mindful with every breath.

    • Aqua, what a wonderful thing to observe those pauses. Patanjali suggests this as one of the tools to a clearer and calmer mind later on in this chapter. I’m happy to hear that you are using this tool and it is helping you!

  3. Super interesting, Luli, it makes me start to really pay attention to my mind………Later on I will be able to say where mi mind goes usually and then be able to help myself…………

    • Mama, it is interesting for me too! As we become more aware of our thoughts we get to know ourselves better, changing those thoughts that are not very useful, keeping those that are🙂

  4. The sutras speak so much truth that I can relate to! Virapaya and avidya have the powerful kleshas to influence our thinking. Asmita on its own is a force to be reckoned with! Asmita and avidya reared their ugliness in a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. I was surprised at my thoughts and reaction since I have become so self aware in my studies. Its amazing to me that even when we are aware of the kleshas…they still influence us! Thanks goodness for yoga! I tend to want results immediately so this journey is humbling. Its life long! I’m so excited for each step🙂

    • Hi Jess, the first and GIANT step is becoming aware of our kleshas manifesting. From here we have an everlasting path of continuous awareness and replacement of old samskaras with healthier ones🙂 I’m happy to hear about the excitement!

  5. It is easy to get into a domino effect with negative thinking…it just seems to feed into itself and spiral out of control very quickly. Can smmrti and vikalpa be combined to remember a joyous past experience and use it to ground determination and visualize a desired goal? When I find myself feeling particular ways, I like to ‘tag’ my experiences with mneumonics so that I can remember what I was thinking/feeling/doing that brought fourth that experience.

    • Yes! We can most definitely use imagination and memory to create a magnificent image of the future🙂 That is what yoga calls “bhavana”, one of the most powerful tools we have to change! More about bhavana this coming weekend🙂

  6. I think, once we become more aware of our negative thoughts..its much easier to conquer them. Ive now started to start my morning thinking of all the positive things/changes I want in my life, instead of projecting all my negative thoughts into the universe.
    So far..so good🙂

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  9. I think that memory and misperception would be the most common activities that would either cause pain or not. It seems that the memory would most likely influence someone’s perception of something. In my own experience, a little over a year ago, I ate a hamburger at a restaurant. Later that night I had food poisoning from it. Ever since then, I have not eaten a hamburger, and even typing about it gets me nauseated. In another situation, I was mugged by someone a few years ago. I’m thankful that my personality would not allow me to become prejudiced against the entire race that mugged me, but I’m sure that many people in today’s society would let that sort of situation influence their perception of the entire race.

    • Hi Daniel, great examples! Thank you for sharing. Yes, memory (and all the other activities) can be klishta (painful) like the examples you gave, or aklishta, meaning that we remember not to put our hands on fire because we remember fire burns.

  10. Currently, I can really relate to imagination to be beneficial or problematic for me . With wedding planning, I have this imagination as what I want my wedding day to be like and I think its great that I have a vision for what I want , but at the same time I think it could cause me pain, because could become upset if it doesn’t go the way I planned. I have stopped trying to set high expectations, but also image its going to be an amazing day because I am marrying my best friend and letting of being in control and letting the day happen.

    • Great example! Yoga teaches us to visualize what we want, and then let go. Visualization is what we have control over, the exact result we don’t. Takes practice, for sure. But I would just remind myself to “hold” onto the visualization instead of “grabbing” it.

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  12. I work with a girl who is single, lives at home and is more than 10 years younger than me, her yearly salary is more than my husbands and mine combined. But daily I listen to her complain about how she is not making enough money. I think both of us might be suffering from misconceptions. I listen and am kind, but it is hard!

  13. To me this sutra seems pretty simple: Although we have a lot of things happening in the universe of our minds, we also have the choice of whether or not we allow the activities of the mind to harm us! What a beautiful thing! Although we can’t control every experience we have (thankfully, what a boring world that would be!) we can use it as an opportunity for growth or allow it to destroy us. For example, I recently decided that withdrawing from my Human Biology class at school would be the best option as I was not having great success in the class. Usually I would totally beat myself up over something like this, but in this particular instance I decided to just accept it as something that has happened, learn something from it, and move right on. I was able to accept the somewhat negative experience for what it is, and turn it into something positive that I learned a lesson from and caused me very little pain. Needless to say, I felt a lot better not talking down to myself for making a mistake.

  14. I agree with Tina’s post about this Sutra: although we have a lot going on in our lives, we have the amazing ability to chose whether or not the activities of the mind will effect us positively or negatively. For example, I indeed was bitten by a dog, a Great Dane nonetheless, very badly when I was 16. It bit me on my chest and I had to have over 20 stiches and the booming fear of whether or not I’d have a normal looking chest again. For months after the incident, I would have night terrors about any sort of canine or potentially vicious creatures; wolves coming out of the closet attacking me, tigers appearing my car, etc. This was not a freak accident, I had indeed asked permission to pet this dog when my friends and I encountered him and his owner at a park, when I leaned in to rub him, he lurched at me. Due to the fact that the dog that bit me had bitten FOUR innocent others, my dad decided to sue the owner of the dog. I was humiliated and ultimately just wanted money for the hospital expenses, but my dad was adamant about punishing this man. I had to testify in court many times, fight against the word of the owner, and reveal pictures of my chest to the court. It was, as I said, a humiliating and traumatic experience. Turns out, this man was barely able to cover my medical expenses. It was revealed to us that he was a deceitful, unemployed man – living off the money of his ex-wife and current to-be ex-wife. It was even more apparent that this man was severely unhappy and didn’t care about much – his relationships, his dog, and he hadn’t paid for the other four victim’s wound expenses either. Over time I began to feel sorry for this guy and saw the situation in a completely different light. This man was in no way mentally clear, and the fact that I got bitten was not the fault of the canine species, it wasn’t the fault of the careless owner, it could have been a combination of the two, or it could just be a situation that happened in my life that I was given to deal with. Things will happen today, things will happen tomorrow. I couldn’t let this situation ruin my love for dogs or my trust in humans. Great Danes still bring me back to that time, but I am still a dog lover! And as for my wound, after many doctor visits, and years of healing, I’m good as new😉

  15. I’ve found that since I’ve been paying more attention to how my mind works, I’ve been much happier with the results. Rather than immediately reacting to something, I’ve been taking more time to “seek to understand”… Those few moments of reflection (e.g. putting myself in someone else’s shoes, or figuring out why I might have a strong reaction to something) allow me to clear away any misperception and see situations more clearly and objectively.

  16. It’s interesting to me how the 5 activities of the mind interact with/ depend on each other- especially how vikalpa seems to play an important role in influencing the other activities. For example, our imagination fuels our misperception because we allow or minds to create something other than pramana. Vikalpa is also active when we are dreaming during nidra and when we are using our memory/ smrtti (because it is almost impossible to remember something exactly as it happened we require imagination to recreate that memory). Our mind is so powerful that it can create so much joy and so much pain for us. The hope is that we find ways to police the mind/ stop the chatter- yoga is one such way (and a wonderful one, if I say so myself)!

  17. For this post, I actually want to thank my inspirational person…my co-worker, turned amazing friend Tiffany. I’m currently going through a season of change in life and she has been there through it all listening to me as I try to wade through the viparyaya and vikalpa that I’m creating in my mind about the situation. I find that when I talk to her about how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking I find that I gain more pramana about it all. She doesn’t even have to say anything…she just sits and listens and let’s me figure it out. And in this process I’m finding that for me, I need to have someone there to just let me talk. Because in the process of speaking I can work through the misconceptions and crazy ideas I’m creating in my mind. So, I want to thank Tiffany and send her all my love for helping me find my inner peace, even though she doesn’t have to say a word.

  18. I think the idea that memories can affect us so strongly in a postive way or a negative was is very interesting. When I was younger, I had the tendency to be afraid and worry a lot. I would think about past experiences and be afraid to try similar experiences or to move forward with my life. This idea of smirtti is so powerful. I now try to think of bad memories as a learning experience but I do not want them to hinder my life now. For example, a few years ago I saw a live perfomance of a band I really loved. However, the perfomance wasn’t that great, and I ended up being very disappointed. This year, I saw that they were touring again. I almost skipped it, but instead I decided to try to see them perform again. This time, it was a wonderful experience. I’m glad that I decided to go and not let a bad memory affect my experiences in the present.

  19. This sutra is very applicable to my life right now. I tend to worry about things when there is uncertainty in my life. The more uncertainty there is in a specific situation, the more worry I feel, which leads to fear and ultimately suffering. I have found when women reach their 30’s (and I say this because my friends/family agree) life is very uncertain. Friends are moving away to the suburbs, buying homes, getting married, moving home, having babies, getting married, etc. Life is in a constant state of change. What went from “we will all be here together forever in this wonderful city” is now “well I want to buy a house and start a family.” And that is the reality of life. I am having a hard time with all of this change in my life. Instead of my vikalpa visualizing my friends and family moving to wonderful houses, having beautiful babies and living a life they love, I imagine being left alone, not having any more friends left and wondering what my next move is. This is me looking at life through an “I” or ego perspective as mentioned in the sutra. And the worry doesn’t stop there! Because when I think about my next move, it is a big one with a lot of uncertainty. I have a lot of viparyaya when I think about my future, thinking of every wrong step and leading to a domino effect of challenges and problems that I “could” encounter. Instead I need to have a non-problematic view and think about all of the wonderful things that can happen in my future. Ah, if it could only be that easy🙂

  20. I actually really enjoyed this sutura. I believe that memories from the past can have negative or positive reactions on people and therefore be the cause of how some may react in their future lives. I feel it is by focusing on these things and understanding them and not suppressing them we can overcome them or make them stronger. Even though I have a lot of positive memories in my life they constantly become shrouded over by negative memories. Almost as if my mind had stored away a memory bank of the even to catalog the negative feeling it caused in me to better prepare myself for the next time it occurs, erasing any positive memories I may have had. To avoid or run from the incident instead of standing above it. I feel that by adding more positiveness in our lives, taking out the poor thinking and judgement we may feel to others as a natural occurrence from past memories we allow ourselves to take in more of those happy memories we had when we were younger. I can attest to this, from the last few years I have drastically improved and changed my life in positive ways and now when I have those reactions of smells or sounds or even feeling of sand between my toes weather it be negative or positive I can take myself back to that happy little boy who just wanted to build leggos with his sister and sleep next to his brother so the boogie man wouldn’t get him.

  21. In working with visualization, I learned that imagination (vikalpa) and memory (smrtti) are helpful tools for me to set goals and better understand what I need to be happier. I often suffer from misperception (viparyaya) but I’ve learned a few ways to help counteract this. My yoga practice is a great time for me to take a step back from my hectic day and look at things more clearly. I have also discovered getting up to take a walk outside or talk things out with one of my friends helps me see what’s really going on and what is just coming from me.

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  23. This sutra makes me think of the importance of the intention we have behind our mental and physical actions. As the famous spiritual teaching says, “As the seed is, so the fruit will be” or “as the intention is, so the effect will be”. For example if you are having a disagreement with your friend or family member and your mind acts and you say “you need to calm down”, that can have very different results depending on your intention. If your intention was from the ego and you were attempting to demean or shame your friend they will likely react very negatively to what you said, but if your intention was from genuine love and concern for their health then they will be more likely to react positively and work with you. I think examining the intentions we have as our mind is acting can be a strong indicator or whether it result in klista or aklista and can lead to more pramana.

  24. I wonder if there is a way that smrtti, memory, instead of helping us remember things in a factual way, instead it is somehow fogged by misperception (viparyaya). By this I am thinking of specific moments in life in which I have remembered unpleasant events (way past their expiration date for mourning/feeling upset over them) and I wonder how often these memories are somehow clouded by misperception of the events that took place, as opposed to what actually happened. I’ve been trying to practice Kriya yoga and repeat steps number 2 and 3 (reflect, surrender) not so much with new or present actions but with certain moments in the past that for some reason i cannot let go. How do we discover our perception of an event was disturbed by our monkey mind, our maya delusion, and what we regard as a factual memory, was a mispercetion we have somehow stored? As I slowly surrender the past, I am hoping this opens the channels for pramana of what happened then, and how to apply this principles with what happens now.

  25. So that I may actually have something to write for sutra six I will try and focus this comment solely on the the quality of excess and deficiency of the activities of the mind and not on the activities themselves. This principle of maintaining an equilibrium between too much and too little of certain concepts and ideologies really first came under my scrutiny in a biology class. In the very earliest stages of evolution, we speculate (with a good deal of evidence) that single celled organisms came to be through the use of a membrane. this is essentially just a barrier that allowed these organisms to have a different concentration of certain nutrients inside of them than existed in their environment. Though more complex, a similar principle underlies how macroscopic organisms exist today. Our ability to have different amounts of minerals and other necessary molecules from food in our bodies than out in the environment is the reason we can live (eg. if we freely exchanged the water in us with our environment our circulatory system would have no where near enough fluid to work). The process of maintaining these different concentrations is called homeostasis. The process is in constantly flux and we will need more or less of everything (fats, carbs, ions etc) depending on what we are doing. I liken this to the activities of the mind because the five activities will similarly been in excess or deficiency based on what we need at that time (vikalpa is wonderful when you have time to sit and let your mind drift but an excess of it would not be appreciated by your employer if you are supposed to be working). Just like it takes sustained focus and understanding of our physical form to maintain homeostasis so to must this focus be applied to cultivate and maintain a proper balance of the activities of the mind.

  26. This week I was offered a job opportunity that I thought would be amazing and beneficial for my future. At the time of giving my two weeks to my current job my boss seemed to act like the political leader described above. She used Smrti by telling me of stories that meant something to me or talking about awesome experiences with clients. Vikalpa by offering me promotions and making me think I would be happier here and things would be better. Viparyaya by telling my fabricated promises that I know she can’t deliver but wants me to believe. Talking down the other company and attempting to make me resent it. After all of this I need Nidra because I feel so mentally exhausted from the very important choice I had to make. In the last 24 hours I have experienced the 5 different states of mind. This has been a really hard decision to make and has made me think and question a lot and my mind has without a doubt gone through the 5 states. This sutra helped me to come to my final discision. Just by being aware what states my mind was in I was able to find nirohaha and just realize who I was and what I wanted. I could not have picked a better time to do my TT homework!

  27. It’s quite interesting that all 5 states can have a positive or a negative effect. While I would like to believe that we have some control over each aspect, there is, to a CERTAIN EXTENT, in each state an element outside of ourselves. If something very tramatic or negative happened to us it is very hard to negate negative feelings that arise when that memory resurfaces. We all mispercieve situations at times because we don’t have all the information or know all sides to the story, Our dreams that occur in deep sleep and our imaginations can at times be uncontrollable, as someone who can day dream like no other, I know that when I am over-tired or overstimulated my imagination can have no reigns.

    Before I began this yogic journey though I thought that much of these states were completely uncontrollable. I do believe that I am able to make positive changes in each of these states to take control. This has taken a lot of thoughtful changes to avoid my easy habits, or samskaras. I have learned through my 1:1 sessions with Lucia to address some of my painful memories or anger. While I can’t say that I no longer have a negatie association with some memories, resoning out and working through some of those feeling has certainly lessened the intensity. I have been working on trying to take more time to digest prior to reacting, often times before I used to form an opinion quite fast, but I am realizing how much in my life this has lead to misperception. It is taking some time, but I am working towards harnessing my mind when my imagination runs wild. But I’m not sure about my dreams, those get pretty out there.

    • Dreams are when the mind should go wild and express what it can’t express when we’re awake, covered in protective layers. Dreams are great seeds for reflection…

  28. I like how this Sutra has organized the mind into specific components of activities. Understanding these states of mind takes effort. Throughout my life I feel that I have been able to eventually recognize the viparyaya. Due to my past I know that committing to being more aware and understanding that misconception is present is a life long journey. Once you’ve solved problems of an age that has come before, new challenges will arise.

    • Kate, awareness is the key component. And you are right, we will always be finding another way to clean the misperceptions. There are several layers to each of these activities. So we just move slowly from one layer to another – just like a high-rise window cleaner moves slowly from one floor to the next…

  29. I’m attracted to the concept of wholeness within each one of us, especially in the mind. The recognition, that in all five parts of the mind we oscillate between something like a negative state and something like the absence of a negative state, allows me to strive for balance in all of the areas…

  30. It is often said that nothing worthwhile happens overnight. This can be a difficult concept in our age of instant gratification. I often find myself being sucked into this impatient state as well, where I want to achieve all my goals now, upon demand. I’m glad this sutra recognizes that yoga, like anything worthwhile, is a lifelong journey. Per was right in the last module when he said we could talk about yoga all day, every day, but still never exhaust or have a complete understanding of the subject. That’s probably the beauty of it—the different aspects will unfold for each person at the right time. All we have to do is stick with it and be patient along the journey.

    • Danielle, you and Per are right. We can only change so fast. We all have our own capacities of understanding. Experience also matters. Only talking is not enough. The application of what was discussed is essential. And like you said, we walk the path and enjoy the changes that our dedication brings🙂

  31. My mind has been spinning about the possibilities of misperceptions lately… One could argue that in 2014, most of our communications are pushed through emails, texts, other messages: these written communications can be a hotbed of misperception. Was my boss mad in that email or was she just being thorough? Does that guy want to make plans or is he just looking to make conversation? With so many communication outlets, it’s surprising how difficult the whole process can be…

    With all of that and how yoga looks at the mind, I find it empowering to push all of the worry about misperception aside. I can worry myself into a frenzy, or I can read the email and take it at face value. Sure, I try to assume the best in all people which can be faulty…. But I believe it’s easier than painting my life with negative attitudes and passive aggressive subtext. It’s much nicer to visualize that email flying through the wind than weighing your mind and spirit down🙂

    • Chris, your example of communication in technology is great. Taking a step back to read and see things as they are is the goal of yoga. But it takes time because the mind is so conditioned. It also experiences fear, attachment and all these funky things which distort our perception. The more we become aware of our reactions, the more we can change them and slowly clean the misperception.

  32. Oh, I am sure there are plenty of experiences that I thankfully can’t think of all of them right now😉
    The memory (smrtti) that comes to mind now is one I lately have noticed myself dealing with daily when I drive everyday to and from work, a total of 2+ hours a day. During my current commute I’ve been noticing where my everyday nervousness is coming from and it’s while and other drivers are approaching from left or right cross streets.
    I’ve driven so much for many years and to several places and previous jobs with long commutes that I have experienced about 5-6 car accidents as a driver or passenger. Two that I am realizing traumatized me the most were when cars came out from right side streets, one ran a red light when I was already in the middle of intersection, another came out of an alley and both hit the right side of my car. Due to these experiences, I tend to get nervous every time I’m approaching an intersection and other drivers are approaching from a cross street. I have noticed that I’m not that trustful in other drivers after those experiences and assume they are not being cautious before crossing. So, I feel like I’m a nervous little mouse when I get behind the wheel, because I have that memory (smrtti) and I fear that someone is going to hit me.
    Since this causes my heart rate to go up, that by the time I arrive at my destination I am like a big knot from all the stress I just put myself through on the road and it does not feel good when I get out of the car.
    I realize that not all drivers are the same and Yoga has helped me be aware of this misperception (viparyaya) I have towards other drivers caused by my imagination (vikalpa). I hope that by acknowledging this feeling whenever it happens that I can just laugh at that thought, so it can slowly start to fade. This way I can start replacing that bad memory (smrtti) with the good feeling I used to have about driving and how “free as a bird” it used to make be feel being on the road. I am so thankful for Yoga and the tools/concepts it has to help with these things in our minds and for any others that may creep up during life activities.

  33. I have never thought of the mind by the different activities it performed. I thought of the mind more holistically as performing many functions but not necessarily categorizing any of these functions. I find that I spend a good part of my day using my imagination (vikalpa). I love creating things and I think it is fun to think outside of the box and imagine the world differently (not necessarily better, just different). Yet, I know my imagination can run away with me. Even when I was younger I would “imagine” that someone was breaking into our house. It was really just the sound of the heater turning on but I was sure someone was trying to break in because I had just seen a similar story on the news. Yet, I would rather have an active imagination than only see things in black and white. I am just still growing and learning in terms of being able to control the activities of my mind.

  34. I consider myself as an imaginary persion (and not dellusional :)). I could visualize things in my head and take them to a totally new place. Asan engineer , this imagination led me to a certain successful number of patent applications in refinery process configurations. However, without the true understanding and perception, some applications got internally reivewed and closed out due to lack of data or proof of concept.
    I need as many as 7-8 hours in oder to function well at work. This helps me think clearly and retain information well.
    And forget about misconceptions, they do happen, come and go, but luckily my colleagues make me realize or correct me when i reflect these misconceptions. Now, misconception at personal relationship is another story; this is a real pain because it now relates to personal and emotional aspect.

  35. It’s so interesting how these five states can be positive or negative.

    I remember a time in my life where I was so clouded and my best friend, Jasmine gave me a homework assignment one night while sitting in the car. She said, “In the morning, write down 5 things you’re grateful for and make sure you remember them. Your perception will attach and all else will slowly fall into place.” After practicing this for a few weeks- I realized how KEY Perception is

  36. This is very enlightening to me. I see a pattern , when I am not getting enough sleep I tend to focus on negative and I am more likely to misunderstand or interpret things. The mind is a powerful organ and it controls everything. I never thought about it needing to be clear, rested and refocused. I love the idea someone mentioned of writing 5 things you are grateful for and remembering them through out the day. Retrain my mind to be more grateful.

  37. Recognizing when we are experiencing something at a spiritual level vs. an outer ego level (what will people think) is a huge challenge. I appreciate that yoga allows me to “work and breathe” through that struggle.

  38. Just realizing that there are 5 parts to the mind is comforting to me. What we think, how we think, and what we think about takes up a lot of space. Just realizing that I have the choice on how I choose to think is comforting. I love that Yoga helps me everyday find a more peaceful place in my mind

  39. I read a self-help book once that referred to a concept similar to samskara in regards to negative impressions. Automatic Negative Thoughts- ANTs. Once you have encountered a situation and had a negative response, that negative response is more quickly accessed when that situation (or a similar one) is experienced again. We have to stop, recognize this ANT, and make a conscious effort to have a different response. This samskara can lead to viparaya and unnesessarily cause pain/fear/tension. I work to recognize these ANTs when they occur and evaluate if I am reacting this way because it’s how i have been reacting in the past, of it is truly how I am feeling right now.

  40. A seminar I attended referred to this as a “meaning-making machine”. I see how this can complicate relationships and appreciate those who serve as the mirrors in my life, when I cannot see through the avidya.

  41. •pramana (correct understanding or clear perception)
    •viparyaya (misperception)
    •vikalpa (imagination)
    •nidra (deep sleep)
    •smrtti (memory)

    Boy oh boy, is this a heavy sutra! Memory and misperception are things I’ve really got to work on.

    One of my weaknesses as a person can be my memory. I find that often times people have become frustrated by me asking the same thing more than once, or not remembering something that they’ve told me. I have a good memory outside of this, and I’ve realized that my active listening skills must improve in order for my memory to improve. It’s been something I’ve struggled with for a while, that I’m beginning to get better at.

    Memory also can relate to happy experiences. It is important to access the positive memories to remind yourself of who you are and why you are that way, and it’s important to also acknowledge the negative ones to learn from them or realize that the bad memories aren’t in control of who you are or want to be.

    I have found myself in so many embarrassing situations in life from carrying around viparyaya. Many arguments could have been avoided if I just had listened more intently to the other side, or understood it better than I did. It’s difficult to listen to someone else’s perception after having a strong one of your own- getting outside your own personal biases or beliefs can take you away from misperception. This is an important part of the mind that everyone needs to work on throughout their entire life- it is a never ending process.

    Nidra has opened up my eyes to deep yogic sleep. I have always slept like a rock, but had never heard of this form of sleep. After experiencing it’s effects (facilitated by Per Erez), I would like to practice nidra throughout my life- and maybe even learn how to teach it- as it brings an inner sense of calmness that nothing else can emulate.

  42. Whenever I catch myself to have a negative thought or worry. I pause and shift my thoughts because I am aware of the “damage” it can do to me. I try to leave less klista imprints and be open to aklista experiences. Sutras are excellent tools to guide my children through life. Easier to preach then to practice. I am in a process of retraining my mind.

  43. It is easy to say that I know right from wrong. It is much more difficult for me to do the right thing all the time. So…do I really know the difference? I have begun to ponder the shadow side of my memory, imagination, and so on. While my intellect tells me I “get it” I still allow my memories to manifest as scars and my misperceptions to throw me into fits of emotion. As far as I can tell, being free of the dark side is something still beyond my reach. At least the practice of weighing these 5 actions of the mind has sent me in the right direction. Hopefully, the more I sit with the idea the more efficient I wil be at recognizing my habits and clear away just a bit of fog from my mirror.

  44. This sutra is a little tougher for me to process. I look back on my life and wonder how things would have been different if I didn’t cause so many problems for myself. I have a lot of empathy and rarely do I use it for good. Instead of using it to my advantage and being there for someone, I am constantly overanalyzing everything around me. “Bob seemed a little snippy. Is something wrong? Did I say something? Did I make him mad? Is our friendship unraveling? What do I do? WHAT DO I DO?”. I waste all that energy wondering and worrying just to find out he had a headache and was going out to get some aspirin. It had nothing to do with me. How would my life change if I just switched my perspective on things? I hope that I can take a deeper look at these five vrttis and see how I can harness them in a good way and not to my detriment.

  45. As I read through this sutra, I was thinking about children. It seems that children have a great imagination, don’t bother with misperception and therefore have clarity, enjoy deep sleep, and are working toward building (hopefully) happy memories. It made me wonder about when this changes, or what part of the mind starts to go down a negative path first. Is it when we start to develop misperceptions that we also begin to lose the comfort of deep sleep and form unpleasant memories based on some of these misperceptions. Interesting to think about how our minds develop over the course of our lives.

  46. Memory and misperception are intertwined in the quality of one’s life. Memory directly impacts our feelings about a situation or a person. Imagination, deep sleep and correct perception can be useful tools to bring someone from a place of suffering to a place of joy. I remember the old saying when anyone was troubled by a situation to “sleep on it”. Having a rested mind allows for clearer thinking. It all boils down to working towards clearer understanding which takes away emotional reacting mind and replaces it with peaceful understanding mind.

  47. As many others have stated, this sutra shares such interesting information about how each of the different activities of the mind can either result in pain or non-pain. While it may ultimately be our choice as to the result of these actions, developing that type of control must be challenging and not without sacrifice. Pramana, or clear perception, can be pleasurable to experience because the truth is revealed. I can definitely see how it may result in pain, however, as someone may not be prepared to hear and accept the truth within a certain situation. The truth can hurt, as many say, and having a clear understanding of a situation can be painful to experience. Viparyaya, or misperception, can just as easily cause pain and non-pain. Having misperceptions about a situation can cause pain because you are left in the dark and potentially believe lies rather than the truth. It can also be non-problematic, however, as it can allow people to live in ignorance, hidden from the truths that could ultimately be uncomfortable to experience. Vikalpa, or imagination, can be painful because it can lead people to imagine horrible things that may occur within the world and to themselves. They may become fearful of situations because of what they imagined may happen. Vikalpa can also be non-problematic, however, as it opens people up to new ideas and visions that are not readily available in the physical world. People can escape into their minds and imagine pleasurable things. Nidra, or deep sleep, can provide a sense of calm and clarity but could also lead terrifying visions and dreams. Smrtti, or memory, can be a dangerous concept, as our memories are not facts but rather how we perceive and recall a specific moment. Depending on the way we keep and recall the memory can lead to pain or to pleasure. All of these show how powerful the mind can be, but also emphasize the possibility for it to be destructive if not used properly. We should look towards strengthening our minds and focusing ourselves on activities that will benefit ourselves rather than harming our well-being.

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