1.2 Yogah Cittavritti Nirodhah

Yoga is the cessation of movements of consciousness.

Imagine a calm and glassy lake. One that you can see your reflection clearly upon the surface of the water. And then an external force drops a pebble in the water. Waves and ripples are created, obstructing the view of your Self. In this analogy, the reflection is your true Self, the stone, the external distraction and movements of consciousness.

As we begin the stilling process, we often notice how active and loud our mind can be. A thought or idea comes onto the screen of our awareness, and we get carried away by the excitement and energy of each one. It takes us on a ride of highs and lows. The practice of yoga allows us not to get swept away with the currents of thoughts and sensations, but actually stand back, taking a more macro view of life, sitting in the seat of the observer. When we are witness to the mind we realize that we are not our mind, but something deeper. We see that our thoughts, sensations, and feelings are actually more like passing weather.

This week I have been very aware of process. I have been observing the highs and lows, the business and the sluggishness, the inspiration and the boredom.

Mary Oliver has a lovely poem entitled, “The Poet Compares Human Nature from the Ocean From Which We Came”

The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth,

it can lie down like silk breathing

or toss havoc shoreward; it can give

gifts or withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth

like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can

sweet-talk entirely. As I can too,

and so, no doubt, can you, and you.

Citta is the vehicle which takes the mind (manas) towards the soul (atma)

Stillness is concentration (dhåranå) and silence is meditation (dhyåna)