Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Thought Keeps Resurfacing.. Help?

Reading through the first Sutra, as commented on by Maehle, I kept thinking about something I had read. He discusses the three qualities or gunas (Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva), and the discussion has stuck with me for quite a bit actually. In regards to the states of mind, I would have classified myself as being restless.... but after reading the description of rajas being predominant and what it entails to be a restless mind, I'm not sure I want to be a restless mind.

      "With the restless (kshipta) state of mind, rajas is predominant. This mind is associated with hyperactivity, excess movement, and one thought chasing the next. It is said that this type of mind can only reach concentration through intense hatred, such as in destroying one's imagined enemies. The restless mind is very unsuitable for yoga, and one dominated by a restless mind rarely takes it up. If they nevertheless do so, it is often only in the hope of gaining magical powers to vanquish their enemies" (Maehle 142).

The bold section is what kept bugging me. I may have a restless mind (by my standards) but I am in no way fueled by intense hatred or in need of destroying anyone or anything. I happen to quite like making things prosper or nurture things. Sure, I may get a little annoyed sometimes (ie. when my dogs act like ninnies at night because there is lightening and thunder going on) but I in no way want to hurt anything or anyone. Well, unless it's required for meat, then that is a totally different story and not one I exactly relish doing.

Anyway, am I looking too deep into this little section of commentary? Or perhaps, am I missing something key and vital to the discussion?

I remember reading earlier in the History and Lineage of Yoga section that each state of mind is the byproduct of years of falling away from themselves and nature (or divine). The states went from suspended (nirodha), single-pointed mind (ekagra chitta), distracted mind (vikshipta chita), infatuated mind (mudha chitta). Restless mind is also categorized later in the next chapter, which is where my confusion, or at least hesitation, has prompted itself.

I'm going to re-read the first commentary because I think I was too tired last night to fully process the words I was reading. Of course, I may end up with the same thought resurfacing in my head even after reading it over again.

Is it possible to have a restless mind but not feel intense feelings of hatred? Is my state of mind not restless? I'll leave that for another time to ponder. I don't want to fret too much about it.

Today is a rest day, but my mind will be active as I read through this first sutra again. This much in-depth thinking and I only have 151 pages to read... I think it might possibly take me a while. Haha.


  1. He puts it a little harshly. he gets that from Aranya' commentary whose a little gentler. he says that a mind that is restless hasn't the patience for contemplation of a super-sensuous subject but can only reach a state of concentration when experiencing malice or envy.

    But then that's the point of Yoga, the asana reduces our raja, our resltlesness and over time balances us out a little 'till eventually we'll find ourselves a little more satvic, a better state for the argument goes.

    1. That was a thought that crossed my mind after reading it again. It makes sense that yoga would calm the mind to a more satvic state but I wasn't completely sure that that was the intention of the writing. Thank you for helping to clarify that. :)