Sutra II.17 – Chapter II, Sutra 17

द्रष्टृदृश्ययोः संयोगो हेयहेतुः I

draṣṭṛ-dṛśyayoḥ saṁyogaḥ heya-hetuḥ

The reason (hetuḥ) for the suffering that we want to avoid (heya) is the association (saṁyogaḥ) we make between that which sees (draṣṭṛ) and that which is seen (dṛśyayoḥ).

PRACTICAL LIVING     In this sutra Patanjali reminds us, once again, about the basic philosophy that Yoga is based on – Samkhya. Samkhya says that we are made of two things: (i) one that acts as an observer, it does not respond to the environment, it is unchanging and the source of profound love and peace (draṣṭṛ); and (ii) one that is continuously changing and is composed of the body, the mind and anything else in our environment (dṛśyayoḥ).

In our daily lives, we suffer when we think we are only the latter – a body and emotions that are continuously changing. We forget that we are also a non-judgemental observer, the Self, the Seer, who simply shines light on the other parts of us. We are so grossly identified with that which always changes, that we suffer when the body changes: we get wrinkles, our hair goes grey, our muscle tone changes, we gain weight. We also suffer when we are scared, feel jealous, we ‘fail’, or feel alone.

So how do we connect to that pure awareness, the Seer within us?

Practice awareness: when you feel a strong emotion, whether it is fear, excitement, passion or anger, take a moment to mentally ‘step back’ and simply observe your emotions. By creating space between the Observer and that which is being observed (the body and emotions), we begin to realize that there is a place within that is calm even when the emotions are going wild.

It’s like watching a movie. While the emotions and thoughts run its never-ending reel, you simply stay outside and watch it all go by. Does it mean you stop feeling the excitement or anger? No. You simply allow it to run its course from a distance.

Yes, it is a practice, like anything else in Yoga. The more we do it, the easier it gets and the more we begin to cultivate a sense of profound understanding that there is a part of us that will be continuously going for a roller-coaster ride, but there is also a consistent part of us, always there, that we can access 24/7 that is uninvolved with the Oscar-winning drama.

IN THE YOGA WORLD     Through this wonderful life journey, as we experience more awareness and discernment, we use this concept of detachment from the body and mind more often. By detachment I mean stepping back and reminding ourselves or, at some point, simply deeply understanding, that we are not only bodies that think and feel. Thoughts and emotions are not very dependable since they are continuously changing. There needs to be a detachment from the ego (āsmita), letting go of the strong sense of ‘I AM a brunette, with curly hair, married, a Yoga teacher…etc…’ and tell ourselves instead that ‘I HAVE brown hair…’. There is a big and beautiful part of us that is our most loyal friend, it’s there for us whenever we want. All the yoga poses (āsana), breathing techniques (pranayāma) and meditation practices (dhyāna) are guidelines to meet our best friend 🙂

INSPIRATIONAL PERSON     Waga, oh Waga! This woman represents freedom in so many ways to me. She SUTRA II.17-WAGAhugs trees, eats worms, works different jobs, lives in different places of the world and cries and laughs hard. We have gone through so much together! And when life is emotionally a little harder and I need someone to support me when I am going ‘against’ the current, I think of her. Her spontaneity is a breath of fresh air. Her creativity is a gift that life showered her with. She can pick up any instrument, art tool or sport and master it pretty fast. She gives herself to others effortlessly. Te amo minha Waga! Saudades gigantes!

Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!

Thanks and next week we look at the function of the body and mind!


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