2 SIDES OF EVERY EXPERIENCE
In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali defines yoga : 1.2 Yogash citta-vritti-nirodhah. (Yoga: means; nirodha: mastery; vrittis: thoughts; citta: mind.) Yoga (the means) is the mastery – discipline – of the thoughts of the mind.
'Citta vritti' is the Sanskrit term for ‘mind chatter’. Vritti can be understood as fickle thought impulses which clutter the mind. The vrittis, (fluctuations of chattering mind) affect our perception of experiencing our reality.
There are 5 kinds of vrittis which either hinder or do not hinder us: 1.5 Vrittayah pancatayah klishtaklishtah. (Vrittis: thoughts; pancataya: of five types; klishta: hinder; a-klishta: do not hinder.) 1.6 Pramana-viparyaya-vikalpa-nidra-smritayah. Pramana: right cognition; viparyaya: error; vikalpa: imagination; nidra: sleep; smriti: memory.
Knowledge or Pramana is the ‘proof’ of information to be valid. It’s our buddhi (intellect) which continually modifies our perception to make an experience a ‘truth’. The same experience which is true for you, someone else can have the exact opposite sensation of it. There is always 2 ways of interpreting every experience. One way of perceiving feels bad, negative, it hinders us. The other, the positive way, feels good and sees truth. We understand that all is working out - this leads to ‘right’ knowledge. We create our realities by what we choose to put our focus on.
By following the yogic path, we start to see things for what they really are and tap in to inner wisdom for truth.
In Sanskrit, the term prapancha describes the world. Prapancha literally translates into ‘perception through 5 sense’. We perceive the world through everything we taste, see, touch, sound, and smell and what is relevant to us. So, all knowledge of the external world, is gathered through our 5 senses. Our acquired knowledge can be misconceived sometimes we may lead towards the untrue perception of reality or get stuck in past realities.
1.8 Viparyayo mithya-jnanam a-tad-rupa-pratishtham. (Viparyaya: error; mithya-jnana: false conclusion; a-tad-rupa-pratishtha: not based on the (actual) form of its (object)) Misconception occurs when knowledge of something is not based upon its true form.
For example – consider a mirage. If you see it from a distance, there appears to be water (information we perceive is real), but in reality, there is no water. Another example, we may see that we have no money. By seeing that as truth and living by that, we get stuck in not having any money and continue to create that reality, our car breaks, we get a huge bill, we loose something etc.
Reality in the moment can change the very next moment. What is happening in the moment is the moment, and after that moment a new reality exists. What do you want to see? Instead of seeing what we have already decided is real, chose to see what you desire and allow that to unfold into reality.
Our ears may deceive us, what we hear may have been whispered down, misinterpreted, misunderstood or even a lie. What is the intention behind the information? Does the information sit right within, or is it someone else’s perception or opinion? Is it conducive of our growth and happiness or is it limiting? Question everything, even yourself.
Yoga calms the thought patterning of the mind & thus the internal structure of mind becomes silent. Yoga teaches you to withdraw from the senses, noticing but not be distracted by them, becoming an observer so you can take a step back and decide how you will act not react. We have space to redirect our thoughts and start seeing things in their true essence.
Our imagination, is just a thought pattern of past, future or about an event that does not exist in reality instead it’s just our mind creating the picture and sometimes these pictures obscure our reality and most of the time we start to believe them. Other synonyms for vikalpa vritti are fantasy, daydreaming, doubt & indecision.
The vikalpa vritti may be helpful if used in a controlled and practical manner. If we keep in our mind what we want in our life, using our imagination to visualise our already being, which is beneficial aiding in achieving a goal and undestanding the reality of the world. If on the other hand we leave our imagination unchecked, it takes over, it can be far from helpful if we are worrying, fearing or delusional. We may be living on autopilot walking without any direction.
Yoga eliminates the vikalpa vritti that creates disturbance in the mind. It helps us become more present and live more consciously. The practice of concentration & meditation let us control our imagination vritti. Once you start controlling the imagination, you can control the mind as well. In this way, by controlling the vritti you can achieve enlightenment state (Samadhi) in yoga.
Nidra is an altered state of consciousness where all 5 senses are dissolved into the mind & mind directs inwards so that we lose control over thought patterning of mind. Nidra is also a vritti of mind because it still experiencing a thought unconsciously.
Nidra vritti is displayed when poor or good sleep quality affects our awakening state. In the yoga sutras, Patanjali emphasises on feeling the peace of mind in deep sleep. ”silence study of dreams and deep sleep states stabilise the mind” (YS 1.38). Sleep can be used to find the stability of mind. During slumber the momentum of thought stops and when awakened, you have clarity or a chance to change the direction of thought (helpful) or pick up where you left off, possibly not so helpful if not directed.
The body actually doesn’t need to sleep the way we think it to be. Our body & mind needs only regenerative relaxation & gap between continuous thought-waves for a while. For this kind of sleep, Yoga nidra is an ancient meditation practice where you consciously experience the activity of deep sleep state. Within the practice of nidra, there are opportunities to shed light on subconscious thoughts that may be blocking your potential, habits and limitations can be eradicated.
Memory is the last Chitta Vritti that sometimes can boost or lower your mood it can help or hinder you. Memory is lasting impressions of past sensation or emotion which is stored consciously or unconsciously by the person’s mind. The mind then recollects these stored thought patterns according to the situation & hence it affects our experience of delivering reality.
What we feel may not be true, a past experience, triggering emotions to prepare us or warn us about the same experience about to happen, which may in fact not be the case. For example, just because one person treats you a certain way, doesn’t mean that everyone else will treat you that same way, these emotions may be completely invalid yet we still may act upon them. It’s all perception and what you are putting your focus on.
Patanjali explained, “Memory is the recollection of ‘unforgotten experiences’ which can be both conscious & unconscious but without adding any other characteristics from other sources.”
Meditation or one-pointed concentration in yoga aims to minimise the effect of past experiences. These practice stills the moment at the present moment and doesn’t let the mind fluctuate over past Smriti. You can get to the stage where you become 'wobble' free. No longer tossed by the world. You can maintain your calm and balance and live in harmony.
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