Samadhi Pada – Sutra 2

yogash: yoga (is)
chitta: (of) mind-field
vritti: fluctuations, modifications, operations, activities
nirodhah: control, dissolution, cessation, suspension

yogash chitta vritti nirodhah:

yoga is the control (cessation, suspension) of the fluctuation of the mind

According to Patanjali, this sutra defines yoga. According to Patanjali, the mind consists of three parts: manas (the recording faculty which receives the impressions gathered by the senses from the outside world,) buddhi (the discriminative faculty which classifies these impressions and reacts to them – the intelligence) and ahmakara (the ego-sense which claims these impressions for its own and stores them up as individual knowledge.)

Although nirodhah is literally translated as ‘control’ or ‘restraint’ in sanskrit, it sometimes doesn’t make sense in terms of yoga – if we are controlling the mind, then there must be some entity that’s controlling the mind… So I like what Gregory Maehle says about this – instead of control, it should be the suspending or calming and ceasing of the mind.

Question: why control/suspend/cease the fluctuations of the mind?

Some answers: to be more clear, to be present, negating past and future expecations
to give yourself the opportunity to respond vs react
to be present, to be content
practice no control, having no mind, don’t think of the mind
like the wild-horse carriage – you need to train your mind to go in the right direction (hope I got this right..)

I like how Gregorey Maehle puts it:
“The way to realize consciousness is through a passive suspending, calming and ceasing of mind-waves, which is possible only through insight, wisdom, intelligence and knowledge.”

So how do we do this??

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