Friday, July 30, 2010

Yoga Sutra 2.4-2.5: What is Real?

Yoga Sutra 2.4-2.5:
"Lack of true knowledge is the source of all pains and sorrows whether dormant, attenuated, interrupted or fully active."

"Mistaking the transient for the permanent, the impure for the pure, pain for pleasure, and that which is not the self for the self: all this is called lack of spiritual knowledge, avidya."
-Iyengar translation

B.K.S. Iyengar says this in the commentary on 2.5:
"Naturally we make mistakes, but when through want of understanding, we fail to reappraise or reflect, error becomes a habit."

This brings up a question in my mind. What is real and where has "error become a habit"? In what situations have I moved through with a fair try at equanimity and grace and when have I reacted out of habit instead of reflection?

These two sutras really parallel my asana practice at the moment. I'm finding that second series is a very different kind of work for me than primary. Second series asana practice is digging right in to every fear, vulnerability and insecurity. As layers of carefully constructed "self-protection" unravel, I'm asking these same questions more often. Am I that?...or is this a habit, another layer to peel off? Have I been mistaken avoidance of insecurities and vulnerabilities as strength?

It brings to my mind again the zen proverb on Beryl Bender Birch's website "Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft, can you be extremely hard and strong."

...Ah, lots of work to do here...

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