Haven't posted much on the Yoga Sutras recently, so here's a section to ponder on...
Yoga Sutras 2.12-2.17
The accumulated imprints of past lives, rooted in afflictions, will be experienced in present and future lives. As long as the root of actions exists, it will give rise to class of birth, span of life and experiences. The wise man knows that owing to fluctuations, the qualities of nature, and subliminal impressions, even pleasant experiences are tinged with sorrows, and he keeps aloof from them. The pains which are yet to come can be and are to be avoided. The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer (atma) with the seen (prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation.
This is definitely a time of year when I have difficulty getting off the hamster wheel...so to speak. I leave most family gatherings feeling insecure, full of self-doubt and just generally picked on. As the lone liberal yoga teacher, field biologist and vegetarian of the family, I do stand out...despite efforts to stay quietly in the background. The rest of the family have sensible stable jobs mostly having to do with either numbers or computers. "The holidays" leave me with that panicky feeling that you might get in a cave if you were afraid of enclosed spaces or on the edge of the Grand Canyon if you were afraid of heights. I have the urge to bolt and hide from all things "holiday" related until the whole business is over. Those who of you who love this time of year can feel totally free to think I'm terrible person...I understand.
How much of what I feel at this time of year is a mental and physical response to a pattern set off by a date on a calendar that I allow myself to respond to without pause....maybe not an "imprint of past lives", but an imprint of past decades for sure. Patanjali seems to me to suggest, that if I don't change the pattern, I'm doomed to repeat it, Groundhog's Day style, for a long time.
It reminds me of a great recent post by Claudia talking about our chances to pause and make the decision to do it differently this time.
She says: "I cannot always control the first arrow, my dad will die, my sister will stop talking to me, that will come, it's life. I can however, work on my reaction to this arrow, I can control my own reaction, observe what happens in me but not react, clean up my own neurosis."
...beautifully said and so true. That in essence is our work.
I like this section of the Yoga Sutra because it suggests that all the patterns we have created...even the "holiday dread" can be changed. "The pains which are yet to come can be and are to be avoided."
Unfortunately, it also suggests that there is work to do to shift the pattern and that work is mine to do....so much easier to complain about others.... "The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer (atma) with the seen (prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation."
Right then: I am not my job, my political views, the food I eat (or don't eat) and neither is my family. Despite their concern over what I do with life and my puzzlement over what they do with theirs, we do care about one another...and I think Patanjali would agree that if we can keep the focus there, it is enough.
"The cause of pain is the association or identification of the seer (atma) with the seen (prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation."