Sutra 1:12

Unruly thought patterns that cause unhappiness, and distress, are harnessed(nirodhah) through the practice(abhyasa) of observing these thought patterns in a non-attached manner (vairagya). We have come to know this process as "Mindfulness", a concept which you can see is not something new, but quite ancient, being revived once again with great vigour.

Whenever you exercise the choice of recording your sensations, feelings and emotions, you automatically interrupt the cycle of reacting to them. You break out of the habitual judging and reacting patterns, and make a mindfulness-oriented intervention. Mindfulness is the first of four mental disciplines in the practice of Yoga. The other three being introspection (svadhaya), concentration, and meditation before Samadhi, the launch pad for higher realization is reached. Mindfulness is about observing, recording, understanding, and analysing your mental activities without becoming attached to things material, and those of opinions through the mind.

Mindfulness

All of Patanjali's teaching revolves around harnessing the thought process through regular, non-attached practice of mindful observation, introspection, concentration, and meditation. Remember that Yoga is the business of bringing order to the information within our energy fields by moving away from suffering towards love. The path of accumulating enough goodness, enough power, and enough knowledge to change ourselves, and our world. And so let us step onto the path of establishing order throughout the energy patterns of our physical, astral, and causal bodies so we can tap into the extrasensory perceptions through which subtle wisdom of quantum reality can become available to us.

Modern Day Definition of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is "the intentional, accepting, and non-judgemental(vairagya) focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. Do you see the similarities with Sutra 1:12? Let us use this definition to continue our studies since most people are familiar with it.

The 3 Attributes of Mindfulness

Intention

The practice of mindfulness requires a conscious commitment to make changes at a subconscious level. Intention is demonstrated through practice. Intention is the commitment to forge a partnership with God to connect to that energy or objective which you have identified as needing attention or manifestation. Just as the earth needs to be tilled before planting, intending requires that you do the necessary leg work in order to create the ideal conditions for the seed to germinate. Evidence shows that intentions work best when you are at your optimum, physically, mentally and emotionally. Stress, hate, anger, anxiety, comparing ourselves to others are obstacles in this path.

Acceptance

The practice of mindfulness can stir emotions that can be very painful or frightening. The willingness to recognize the fact that suffering and personal inadequacies are part of the shared human experience- something that we all go through rather than something that happens to ‘me’ alone - is acceptance. This idea of shared suffering activates the empathy neurons which makes the conditions of suffering rather bearable while giving one an intimate insight into the nature of universal interconnectedness.

It is natural for a person to avoid the discomfort of looking within where our monstrosity, limitless shortcomings, and numerous failures reside. Our life is run by our subconscious which controls 95% of our mental operation. And this is why we cannot make a meaningful change of transforming our energy patterns by sitting with eyes closed calling it meditation, or jumping up and down and calling it Yoga. Because while our intentions are noble, our mind is running around wild and unruly. To make permanent changes, we need to identify and monitor the thought patterns and intentions that need to evolve from the realm of lower vibrations to the higher. We need to change the information stored within our atoms.

As this happens, we become masters of our mind by attaining a thorough understanding of how the latent karmic patterns, or the subconscious mind, is influencing the conscious mind, which in turn influences energy that creates our reality. This is made possible through activation of our extrasensory perception. The only reason a person does not progress in Yoga and its practices of mindfulness, concentration and meditation is because they do not understand the workings of the conscious and subconscious mind on the energy patterns that pervade every iota of existence. The entire Universe is a feedback loop known as fractal mathematics either evolves or devolves the level of our consciousness depending what we choose to put our focus on.

The process of introspection involved in analysing the data you collect regarding yourself and your experiences indicates the level, and degree of willingness on your part; despite the discomfort that may arise from delving into the dark areas of your psyche. This is Acceptance. This outcome of this process as knowledge gets fed back into your reality, hopefully towards evolution.

Non-judgemental Observation

Means observing all thoughts and feelings that bubble up in our mind without attachment to desires and aversion of the unpleasant. Whatever experience we are having, mindful practice remembers to surrender the fruits of all thoughts and intentions to the higher power. No pride, no shame, nothing personal at stake - what is there is there. As long as there is attachment to things of this world, there can be no surrender. We can sit around in groups and make impressive speeches for each other as much as we like, sing bhajans as loudly as we want, but the filth that exists within the heart will remain there. When we go about our day, it will come out through the malicious schemes we participate in to abuse others, and the mercilessness with which we crush nature to advance our motives steeped in greed.

Labeling is another attribute of judging. Our need to label underpins all our interactions and experiences. Mindfulness requires us to observe without judging or labelling. This is an intervention in the regular way in which we behave. By labelling the self as internal, and the outside as external, we constrain our own neurochemical processes and experience a deluded disconnection. We begin to think that we are a separate entity from all else throughout the universe. As a result, we abuse, maim, and destroy without discrimination.

  • Sutra-1.12 abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah
  • abhyasa - by or with practice, repeated practice

  • vairagyabhyam - non-attachment, by desirelessness or dispassion, neutrality or absence of coloring, without attraction or aversion

  • asampramoshah - not being stolen, not being lost, not having addition

  • tat - of those, through that of

  • nirodhah - control, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, understanding, stilling, quieting, setting aside of