...Or, How To Quiet Your Mind
Lately I’ve been describing my mind as a snow globe filled with glitter, and all day long I walk around and the glitter shakes and swirls. So when I come to the yoga mat, or sit in meditation, I like to imagine that the glitter settles down, and I can see clearly the Statue of Liberty or tiny unicorn or whatever it is that’s in the middle there. My mind needs help to settle down; it’s not very good at just being quiet on its own. Thankfully for me, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras offer a whole host of methods to get the mind to be still. My very loose paraphrasing of Sutras 1.34-37 is as follows:
“The mind becomes stabilized by concentrating on the breath, the sensations of the body, the ever-present Light within, or some other being that is actually stable.”
All of these different methods can work for us. The breath is first, I think, because it’s the simplest and the most readily available. The sensations of the body help me to get out of my over-analytical brain and back into my arms and legs, fingers and toes, and remember that I’m not just a disembodied snowglobe walking around. The ever present Light within is a little more esoteric but connects me with that same Light that lives in all of us--I’m not alone in my experiences. Goddesses and gurus don’t really do it for me, but my favorite stable beings in town are the ancient oak trees in City Park. (Did you know some of them are more than 800 years old?)
There is no single approach to yoga. It’s a complex lineage with a varied history that all point back to the heart of this simple practice. Find what works for you to stabilize your mind, because when your mind is quiet, you're able to see yourself clearly, luminous and without separation.
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