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Sutra 1.5: Fluctuations of the Mind. Vrttayah Panchatayyah Klishta Aklishtah.

“There are five kinds of fluctuations in the mind and they can be painful or painless.”

In Sutra 1.5, Pantanjali mentions that there are five different categories of thoughts that human beings have. (He doesn’t identify these categories until Sutra 1.6).When Pantanjali says that fluctuations of the mind can be painful or painless, he is referring to what Modern Psychology calls positive and negative thinking. The goal of yoga is to break this cycle of negative thinking, and free the mind to positive thinking.

We all know that being stuck in thoughts of anger, jealousy, hate, ego, attachment, grief, etc. are not good for our wellbeing.

We all know that practicing compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude helps our wellbeing.

Yet despite knowing this, most of us allow autopilot to takeover and drag us into the negative. (I think by the time I was first encountering yoga I was so used to feeling unhappy, feeling stuck, feeling sad, that I was addicted to it. It genuinely took me YEARS to rewrite this experience).

When I first encountered meditation, I misunderstood the goal. I thought the goal was to silence all my thoughts. I’d enter a war with my brain and constantly judge myself for not being able to do it. The fact is that all of us have brains, and our brains were designed to think. And as long as human beings will have minds, we will have fluctuations of the mind. We will all have highs and lows. That is the human experience. But if we don’t make an effort to learn how to change the way we experience our thoughts, we will remain in the past. We will remain suffering. We will remain stuck.

To escape from painful fluctuations of the mind, we must learn how to bring ourselves into equilibrium, into balance, into self awareness.

And this is what we learn in yoga. This is our spiritual practice.

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