The Yoga Sutra For Compassion and Serenity

In this sutra, Master Patanjali provides four ways of treating people to maintain a serene state of mind.

“Maitri Karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhkha punyapunya visyanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam. By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” –Yoga Sutras I:33

Relationships are challenging and provide us with a perfect situation to practice yoga and refine our personal qualities. When we engage in negative thinking about other people, it upsets our own state of mind. We know this. By casting judgment on someone or being jealous of those who we perceive as lucky, we create mental suffering for ourselves. This sutra tells us how to engage with people in a way that won’t upset our minds. It is truly a practice to cultivate these ways of acting towards others, and absolutely helps in maintaining steadiness of mind. When I let myself slip into being jealous of others or judging them, it only creates ripples of uneasiness within my own mind. To maintain calmness, steadiness and ease within ourselves, we have to wish that upon others and we have to move away from negative judgment and thinking. We do this by seeing what we have in common with others, instead of pointing out the differences. Master Patanjali, as per usual, provides simple steps and practical advice for overcoming the fluctuations and actually experiencing peace of mind.

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