Thoughts are real, right? How the yoga sutras of Patanjali can help us to understand mindfulness.

mindfulness patanjali Jul 24, 2022

One of the first things that people say when they start to practice mindfulness is that thoughts are real.

To offer some help on this and as ever in yoga I turn to Patanjali and the yoga sutras.

You could say that the yoga sutras is in total a self help book, the original one.

Patanjai predates Christianity by a few hundred years whist Buddhism planted its roots a long time before then.

The reason that I am saying this is to highlight that humans have been struggling with their thoughts since the beginning of time.

Know one knows who Patanjali was and it is now thought that there could have been several people writing these sutras (statements) that were then repeated and spread orally. There are almost a 200 of them and are published in sequence.

The Surtas go beyond the stretch that yoga is commonly known for. No mention of a yoga posture.

This is about refining your senses, perhaps another way of saying this is being aligned with your thoughts. Being aware, becoming present.

The book that I use the most is Effortless Being - the yoga sutras of Patanjali by Alistair Shearer. It was out of print when I bought a second hand copy of it in Watkins Book shop London thirty years ago. The same battered copy as mine that I paid only £8.50 for is now listed on Amazon at $148 however you can buy Alistair's other books from his website. I won’t be selling mine, its priceless to me.

Watkins book store is a great visit for all sort of spiritual book, its a a place of wisdom.

V.5 There are 5 types of mental activity. They may or may not cause concern.

V.6 These five are:

Understanding, Misunderstanding, Imagination
and memory.

V.7 Understanding is correct knowledge based on direct perception.

V.8 Misunderstanding is the delusion that stems from a false impression of reality.

V.9 Imagination is thought based on an image conjured up by words, and is without substance.

V.10 Sleep is the mental activity which has its content in the sense of nothingness.

V.11 And memory is the returning to the mind of the past experience.

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