Last week we looked at the idea that ananda, or bliss, while always available to us and indeed found at our essence, it takes work to clear our view - to remove the veil if you will, created by years of bad habits, misinformation or even personal circumstance, to experience andanda or bliss.
Patanjali - attributed with codifying the oral tradition of yoga into what is known as the Yoga Sutras or “threads”, tells us in the third sutra Tada drashtuh svarupe’vasthanum or “then the seer abides in its true nature.”
Lasater provides a classic visual of sutra 3 - carving form stone. She describes, “When carving the sculpture removes everything that is not the statue. The art of revealing beauty lies in removing what conceals it. So too, Patanjali tells us that wholeness exists within us. "
Our work is to chisel away at everything that is not essece, not self.
Many people come to yoga to relieve pain. And while yoga can certainly help our aching backs and bolster our spirits, it cannot insulate us from the pain that life inevitable brings. If yoga doesn’t relieve that sort of deep, existential pain - why do it?
“I have found that being in a state of yoga releives suffering specifically the suffering caused by being in separateion from my wholeness.” In otherwords, “tada drashtu svarope’vasthanum.”
In order to stand in our true nature it takes - you guessed it - hard work, or discipline or abhyasa but also something else vairagya or detachment. From what must we detach? Patajali names five afflictions of the human mind. You may know them? Ignorance, me-ness, attachment, aversion and the will to live. Literally Avidya or ignorance means “actively being in a state of not seeing the true nature of reality.” Abhyasa is not uninterest. Actually its the opposite. Uninterest is when you turn your back on life whereas to be detached is to stand in the middle of life’s frenzy and remain calm and peaceful.
From this perspective, spiritual seekng “is not what we do outwordly, but what we acknowledge inwardly. … we are not on a spiritual path, we are the spitirtual path.”