Sutra 1.5 – vrittayah panchatayyah klishtaklishtah.
There are 5 overall categories of thoughts and sense experiences (vrttis) in the field of the mind. They can be either help cultivate ignorance or consciousness.
Sutra 1.6 – pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smritayah.
[they are] accurate knowledge, inaccurate knowledge, imagination, deep sleep and memory.
When I began to study the Yoga Sutras, I was surprised by how much what I was reading was reminding me of the psychology 101 classes from college. There is a lot here to write about and I will highlight two important points to take into consideration reading these sutras.
Our mind is active, this is the nature of the mind and cannot be disputed. To spend time attempting to stop all our thoughts will actually prove to be a very frustrating experience as one is going against the nature of what is a part of you. There are various types of activities (vrtts) that go on in our mind. All the activities in some way will create impressions. The importance of being able to differentiate the activities that lead to the impressions called Samskaras.
It our relationship to the Samskaras that can bring forth the state of Yoga or not. It is how we cultivate our awareness of the nature of our mind that can either bring us to a place of ignorance or consciousness.
Now, ignorance and consciousness are very BIG concepts in relatively simple terms. The Yoga Sutras addresses them both through numerous sutras which we will study in the future.
Right now, Patanjali is inviting you to recognize the true nature of your mind. If you choose to only address the symptoms, Samskaras, of Citta [the mindfield] then you will perpetuate a state of constant reactivity. The purpose of this path is to cultivate consciousness- in order to create more and more ease and return to desire stated in sutra 1. 2 (read about this sutra here).
First we must seek to understand the nature of our mind, the vrtts and to understand the distinction between the various types of thoughts that churning our mind and choose to embrace them or quiet them.
When you find a place to pause and quiet, begin by taking a series of natural breaths, close the eyes and willingly look into the mind field what churning swirls are there…get to know them, understand them and choose how to dance with them.
The poetry of the Yoga Sutras by Maryam Ovissi.
The container stills only to behold
the swirls of
and a cacophony of vibrations
Overwhelmed the eyes turn inwards
I begin to hunt
I am so thirsty and hungry
my thirst calls me by my name
my hunger growls like a jaguar
I tell them I hear you…just give me time to hunt
As I begin to focus to see exactly where to aim my bow
I see standing between me and my contentment
layers of veils
I never noticed them before
some entice me to walk through them
others repel me to walk around them
yet they all draw me in
and I choose to see them all
I am thirsty
I am hungry
I know my bounty is there to behold
More on poetry and the sutras:
The poetry of the yoga sutras of Patanjali 1.3 & 1.4
The poetry of the yoga sutras of Patanjali 1.2
The poetry of the yoga sutras of Patanjali 1.1
What are the yoga sutras of Patanjali?