A Calm Mind (May 2017 Newsletter)

Patanjali statue in Haridwar Credit: Alokprasad,  Wikimedia Commons

Patanjali statue in Haridwar
Credit: Alokprasad, Wikimedia Commons

Yoga in its ancient and infinite wisdom (truly!) directs us step by step on how to conquer life and conquer death. Whatever our belief system may be, take what wisdom you can from it. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which we discuss every Wednesday in the Fundamentals Class (now moving to 6 PM), make us question what we think we know and what we believe through simple mind-opening aphorisms or brief sayings. Much of it is advice for practical behavior that we can model and use in our daily lives. We are currently working on Sutra 1.38, or the 38th thought in Chapter 1; several maxims prior to it help us learn to focus and silence our uncontrollable minds.

We are all familiar with the uncontrollable ruminating over a single negative experience or fear. At other times, many, many thoughts pour through our minds without direction or limit. Suggestions from Patanjali deal with both the problems and resolutions for the fickleness of the human mind.

All of the methods used are meditations. First, there are our attitudes towards others - staying consciously away from negativity. Keep them always loving and kind, compassionate, full of good wishes, and neutral when we can't quite get to feeling positive about another. (Sutra 1.33)

In the following five thoughts, the Yoga Sutras provide specific focal points for controlling the mind: awareness of the breath and awareness of the rising and dropping away of physical sensations, locating 'inner luminosity' or focusing on a point of brightness in the center of the chest, seeing the mind as rock steady, and, finally, just following where the mind leads you, one thought at a time to its conclusion. Finally, it suggests contemplating on one pleasant thought. Such simple advice, but not so easy to do.

My personal practice of mantra meditation has helped me calm the mind. It is a practice to be done daily, and often. It is never omitted and never abbreviated. Relentless and constant till the mind bows and bends to your impersonal, superior Self.

Join our Mantra Meditation on Mother's Day, May 12. Bring your mother or your child for free.



Chris Johnson