Yoga Sutras 1:36
विशोका वा ज्योतिष्मती
viśoka vā jyotismatī
विशोका (viśoka): There is an aspect of reality that transcends the comings and goings of this life. There is an aspect of ourselves that exists beyond the losses and gains of this life. An aspect of ourselves that is untouched by the ups and downs of our mind.
Patanjali in the ancient text the Yoga Sutras tells us that when we concentrate on this aspect of us within – विशोका (viśoka) – then वा (vā) – positively! – this which is like a light within ज्योति (jyoti) – always illuminating our understanding & knowledge of the unwavering Self – concentration on this Self will expand to confidence in this Self.
A few weekends ago a dear friend of my brother got into a scooter accident. He was distraught as the doctors overseeing her care were concerned that she had internal bleeding in her brain as a result of the accident.
After my brother and I spoke a few times on that Sunday, we continued to text throughout the evening. He asked that my husband and I keep her in our prayers. All the while I encouraged him to keep his mind steady and clear of any negative thoughts.
It later occurred to me, as he asked for prayers and I asked him to keep his mind steady, how we were asking the same thing of each other.
In the teachings of Yoga one of the ways in which we access and channel that which is larger than us is by concentration. Even in our asana practice we often encounter postures that will evoke scenarios of doom and gloom, “What if I fall over?” Here we are reminded that the aim is never the asana; the aim is never standing on one’s head or getting one’s leg behind the head. The aim is to navigate through the ups and downs of the mind triggered by the asana, so as to enter through a corridor of concentration. As we pass through this corridor of concentration we are delivered into a space of a larger capacity.
This larger capacity is not ‘my’ larger capacity nor ‘your’ larger capacity. It defies allocation. It is all encompassing. Likened to when we are in a good mood and how that good mood spreads and draws others in, so is the space of this larger capacity. This meditative mood is one in which we are able to draw others in, especially those who are not feeling themselves in their full capacity, those who are suffering or in a state of limitation; much like the experience of drawing someone into a prayer. Whereby we ourselves transform in awe, in an experience of tremendous humility.