शान्तोदिताव्यपदेश्यधर्मानुपाती धर्मी I
The fundamental essence (dharmī) retains (anupātī) its characteristics (dharma) in the past (śānta), present (udita) and future (avyapadeśya).
PRACTICAL LIVING Last week we discussed the factors influencing transformation: our essence, time and our environment. In this sūtra we further discuss the essence (dharmī). Patañjali tells us we have an unchanging essence (see sūtra I.3), which is made of certain characteristics that remain the same with time. For example, cow’s milk can be transformed into cheese or yogurt, but in essence, whether it was milk in the past, yogurt in the present and cheese in the future, it is all composed of the same things.
When reflecting on our own transformation, it is important to think that the essence in our 5-year-old self is still the same today and will remain the same when we are older. Recently I caught myself talking about a group of children as “they come into the world with their own life backpack”. I then realized I was referring to ‘them’ as if I had not been one of them – as if I was not a child who had walked into life with my own backpack.
It is challenging to experience our essence. But I feel like in rare moments when life slows down, I can sense it – a subtle sense of the deepest part of who I am – the little girl who still resides within me comes alive. And this is what daily practice is here to help us with – remember there is that part of us which constantly transforms, and the part that remains constant.
IN THE YOGA WORLD The ceramic mug I drink my coffee out of every morning was once clay, which was once dust. All of these three objects, though different, are composed of the same essence. As time goes by, many things about us change – our looks, lifestyles, professions, geographical locations and attitudes towards life. However, there is a fundamental core that is unchangeable and makes the past me, present me and future me all the same.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Recently I saw a childhood photo of a dear friend of mine. There were many children in the picture, but I recognized her in a second even though I first met her as a teenager. Her essence is clear – from the child in the picture to the teenager I met to the spectacular woman she is today, Anish has a look that is unique to her. Anish, you calm the world in a beautiful way. Your sense of humor, love of your friends and ability to get things done in your pace is admirable! I love the way you breeze through life and give whole heartedly. Love you amiga!
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 we will look at the joining of the dots!
I’ve been called spiritually and emotionally to empty out my childhood backpack, as it were. Experience is a bit painful and there’s lots of grief, but I know there will be much healing and relief as a result. And least that’s what I’m banking on!
Yes, painful yet beautiful – that’s been my experience of this journey as well. In the process, maybe that little girl’s essence comes up too 🙂
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