“Cleanliness of the body and mind develops disinterest in contact with others for self-gratification.” ~Yoga Sutra 2.40
I am continually amazed by the synchronicity that brings messages into my life right when I need them. Sometimes these messages appear as I’m struggling with something and thereby help to guide my thinking in a certain direction. Other times, like the last few days, messages appear after I’ve experienced some new breakthrough in my thinking that serve to affirm that I am moving in the right direction.
In this case, I have been surrounded my messages about community the last few days that affirm the ideas I have been expressing the last few days. One that has really stuck with me is the translation of Yoga Sutra 2.40 given above, as found in the reading for Day 63 of Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga (Amazon Affiliate link). This was the reading that greeted my waking eyes this morning.
In this particular reading, Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison are talking about the practice of sauca, or purity, one of the five niyamas (practices of self-restraint) of yoga. While I have read other translations of this sutra that take a slightly different approach to the meaning, this one seems particularly relevant to my recent struggles.
This particular meditation argues that when our thoughts and beliefs are clouded by our baggage, our relationships with others tend to become mechanisms by which we attempt to fulfill our needs for self-gratification. We use our relationships with other people as a means of attempting to prove our worth (to ourselves as much as to others). The solution is the purification of the body and mind that comes from letting go of all the thoughts, beliefs, stories, and other baggage that no longer serves us.
As we do this, we are able to re-discover our worth as something that is already in us. By letting go of our garbage, we lose the need to make our contact with others be about our need for self-gratification. Only then can we find true joy and freedom in who we are and thereby be able to approach others with a genuine interest in them for their own sake.
This says much more succinctly and beautifully than I ever could what I was trying to say a couple of days ago about needing to find a way to be enough in myself alone before I’ll be able to seek and find true community in a healthy way. As long as I am chasing community out of desperate need to fill a hole, it will continue to elude me because I cannot approach it with openness and grace. My very neediness drives away that which I seek.
To find my own thoughts echoed in these words from an ancient tradition was a great reassurance that I am learning to follow my own inner wisdom along the path it leads me even when it seems contrary to most people’s understanding. I am nowhere close to possessing even a fraction of the wisdom of these ancient sages, but my higher self has access to this wisdom that it can use to direct my journey when I am move inward enough to listen.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.