Avoiding Pain ~ Sutra 2:16 and 2:17

 In Why Are We Here?, Yoga for Runners, Yoga Sutras

Temple at Angkor Wat - CambodiaTo bring focus to classes I sometimes like to discuss verses of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; an important text of yoga, that lays the groundwork for achieving the overarching goal of yoga to detach and find true bliss. In the last few weeks we have been focusing on Book Two, Sutras 16 and 17.

Sutra 2:16

Pain that has not yet come is avoidable.

Sutra 2:17

The cause of that avoidable pain is the union of the Seer (Purusha) and the seen (Prakriti, or Nature). 

Here the Purusha is us; whereas, the Prakriti is everything else.  Meaning the root of our pain comes with associating either happiness or sadness with our possessions.   Yet, our possessions are not limited to material assets but include how we perceive the world through our own eyes and judgments.  Finding a way to practice non-attachment you tie neither happiness nor suffering to your actions, avoiding possible pain in the future.

A relatable example stems from a conversation I recently had with a friend.  As you set out to run an important race you often have a goal time in mind that you are hoping to attain.  Achieving your aspiration leaves you with a sense of true accomplishment and triumph; a momentary bliss.  But is this true bliss?  After all, it too has an end.  Consider failing to achieve your goal time; the same sense of bliss from running is replaced with disappointment and frustration.  Your accomplishment of actually getting out there and participating in something positive for yourself becomes clouded by artificial highs and lows based on one moment’s performance.

I focused my most recent classes around this topic, not because I have found a way to avoid these highs and lows but to remind myself to take in everything as it comes my way.  Be open to it all without fixating on a particular aspect.  Remembering the “bad” is often a result of what I once perceived as “good” as without it I would have had no frame of reference.

~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~

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