But you’re not!
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are super clear on this one. When the mind is still and quiet, ie, in a state of YOGA, then we have the capacity to see ourselves for all our luminous wholeness. But, say the sutras (specifically 1.4), most of the time, we misidentify with the stream of thoughts passing through the mind.
Referencing the post from a couple of weeks ago, we think we are the glitter shaking in the snow globe, when really we’re the unicorn in the center. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with glitter, aka your thoughts, it’s just that that’s not who you are. But it’s hard to tell when the glitter is just everywhere, and you know it’s always everywhere. Glitter, like your mind, is hard to control.
A more traditional metaphor is this: You are the ocean. Waves happen on the surface of the ocean. They roll and roil, splash and crash, but ultimately, they settle back into the broad expanse of ocean. They are part of the ocean. But they are not the ocean. In the same way, when thoughts and feelings arise, we often get confused and think we are those thoughts. We think, I AM sad, I AM angry, I AM blissful, I AM anxious, when we really only FEEL sad, angry, blissful, anxious.
And this misidentification makes us suffer. The waves of our thoughts toss us around and we go under, flailing. Eventually we emerge, sputtering and breathless. But we’re really much more vast and spacious than any one particular wave. The waves settle, and we can see clearly again.
So this then, is why we practice, to find moments in which the waves subside, or in which we can dive beneath them, to be held in that vast, calm, spaciousness that underpins our existence.
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