True You


(तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम् )॥३॥

Then one stands in their true nature

Patanjali was a sage who lived about 2000 years ago.  He compiled a text about yoga known as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  His text provides an overview of the yoga practices which were done at that time, together with very clear statements about the results one obtains as one becomes established in the practices.  As an overview, Patanjali tells us that yoga is a means by which we liberate ourselves from the fluctuations of the mind and become established in our true nature.  Historically, the experience of yoga, couched as it is in mysticism and esoteric techniques, has been depicted as a state of complete disconnection from the physical realm.  Ancient yogis would attain samadhi  or union and become more and more deeply absorbed in that state.  Others would gather around them to feel the energy…the resonance of their brain waves.  Those who attained that state were able to access levels of wisdom unattainable to those anchored in the material world by obligations.  This state of deep absorption has value.   But the times we live in call for high degrees of awareness, mastery and effective engagement.  While Patanjali’s text directs us towards the path of meditation, many of the techniques  explained in the text can be used to enhance our capacity to stay centered in the world around us.

This sutra, the third sutra in the text, references a state of mind, samadhi.  When samadhi occurs the sutra states, one resides in the true nature.  We are never actually separated from our true nature – but we seldom make our home.  That true nature is obscured by the fluctuations of the mind – the beliefs, thoughts, opinions, memories we have accumulated over lifetimes.  The state of union or yoga is not a state outside of ourselves  that we acquire.  It’s a buried treasure.

Perhaps you experience yourself as “not good enough”.  Too fat, too skinny, too old, too young.  We are just never enough!!  That internal dialogue, those fluctuations of the mind, are running like the constant hum of cars driving by on a busy street.  This constant noise obscures the inner peace within which we come to know ourselves as perfect, whole and complete. The experience of our wholeness is a restoration of a true understanding of ourselves in all our extraordinary beauty.

A practice:

  1.  Upon waking, make a commitment that five times a day you will remember the sutra, and whenever possible that you will note every time that dialogue of self-deprecation begins.   When you catch yourself in self-deprecation, stop, and silently say to your “my true nature is good (beautiful, wise, knowing, abundant – whatever attribute you believe you are lacking)”. 
  • The practice is a way to begin unplugging from external sources of information and tuning in to your own inner wisdom.  For this reason, I recommend that you not use your phone or computer to remember the sutra.  It’s easy for our minds to reach out and become absorbed in our phones (or computers or televisions), and this exercise builds our capacity to shift gears from external to internal.


Happy treasure hunting!

© NUllmann not for copying or redistribution

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