Yoga Sutras 2.18 - 2.25:
"Nature, its three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas, and its evolutes, the elements, mind, senses of perception and organs of action, exist eternally to serve the seer, for enjoyment or emancipation. The gunas generate their characteristic divisions and energies in the seer. Their stages are distinguishable and non-distinguishable, differentiable and non-differentiable. The seer is pure consciousness. He witnesses nature without being reliant on it. Nature and intelligence exist solely to serve the seer's true purpose, emancipation. The relationship with nature ceases for emancipated beings, its purpose having been fulfilled, but its processes continue to affect others. The conjunction of the seer with the seen is for the seer to discover his own true nature. Lack of spiritual understanding (avidya) is the cause of the false identification of the seer with the seen.
The destruction of ignorance through right knowledge breaks the link binding the seer to the seen. This is kaivalya, emancipation."
-translation by B.K. S. Iyengar
This is a big chunk of Yoga Sutra for a single blog post, but as they all sound to me to be moving towards the same point I thought I'd just post this whole section.
What I'm hearing from this section of the Yoga Sutra:
I need the world to push against. I need all the things that irritate me and frustrate me and amuse me and impress me. I need something to be attached to in order to catch myself in a moment of attachment and get a glimpse of what that looks like. It's in knowing what attachment looks like that I can begin to see what non-attachment looks like. Practice has given me a method of really hearing how loud the world in and outside my mind is. It's only now that I know what the noise sounds like, that I notice when it's missing, when it's gone quiet.
"The conjunction of the seer with the seen is for the seer to discover his own true nature."
Something I that catches my attention throughout the Yoga Sutra that is echoed again here is Patanjali's suggestion that this non-attachment is a process. He does suggest that disentangling ourselves from all the stickiness is possible, but also seems to suggest that we won't learn to step out of our "relationship with nature" until we have spent some time tangled up in the web of defining ourselves and the situations we find ourselves in.
"The relationship with nature ceases for emancipated beings, its purpose having been fulfilled, but its processes continue to affect others."
I notice a sort of back and forth in life of feeling more deeply tangled in situations as they arise and then feeling space from them. Much of the feeling has to do I think, with where I'm standing when I look at life stuff. Moving the viewfinder has a lot to do with what I see and how caught up I feel in "nature" versus how much space I feel.
A great recent post by Patrick got me thinking more about what happens when you stand somewhere else.
Here's an excerpt:
"Nurture's not easy if you're a boy, especially if you're one with good exposure to gender politics. Obviously, nurture is marked feminine in this culture. I was having lunch last week in the campus center and sitting near a table of about eight college guys: sporty, trendy, loud. The energy coming off them, the sheer extroverted testosterone, was absolutely tactile, touchable, visible. Instinctively, I didn't care for it, because those guys mocked me for years when I was in my teens, but then I re-looked at them, imagined them as guys who'd maybe gotten curious about the US yoga trend and walked into my room. And that changed everything; they became powerful bodies with curiosity, with shyness, and immediately I developed a sort of intimate empathy with them. Just to play with it, I let my view switch from one to the other, reinventing the human beings in front of me by means of different lenses. Then it became very funny and amusing and I turned someone that I used to be, into a tool in my toolkit."
I love that! What if the next time I feel stuck, when I feel absolutely glued to one definition of a situation, what if I just stood somewhere else?
"The destruction of ignorance through right knowledge breaks the link binding the seer to the seen. This is kaivalya, emancipation."