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Sutra 2.17



In Sutra 2.16, Pantanjali explains how pain that has not yet come is avoidable.

In Sutra 2.17, Pantanjali explains how all pain is caused by the false union of the seer to the seen.

There are two key vocabulary words here:


Purusa: the witness of the mind (buddhi), or the seer. The true self, the soul inhabiting the body.


Prakriti: what we see outside of us.


We have a tendency to confuse the two. We think the things we experience in the world - the gossip, the negativity, the drama - we think that is us.

Basically…we search the outside world for the answers. We continuously identify with the outside world. We think we ARE our jobs, the size of our bank accounts, our dramas, our gossip, our heartbreaks, our judgements, our thoughts.

Sometimes we get so deep into it, we cannot see a way out.

I’ll give you an example - when I had covid on my Mexico Retreat, and couldn’t see the guests, I was devastated. Heartbroken. I traveled around the world to meet these people from Zoom, and spent the week in isolation while they connected, bonded, and did activities together. I cried a lot. One of the staff at Yandara (who basically was my therapist that week), said to me, “you are not this body.”

And I rolled my eyes and was like “I literally have covid right now.”

I was so annoyed.

What I couldn’t see, was past the grief that was shaping my experience.

My false identification with the outside world - with my expectations of this yoga retreat - with the dynamics of the group that I was not part of - all of this is what I was seeing in the outside world.

But none of this is actually who I am. I perceived this retreat as a failure, because I had a perception of what would make it a success, that it didn’t live up to.

We think the things that we are experiencing in the outside world ARE us. But they aren’t us. Sutra 2.17.

This is yoga.



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