Friday, November 11, 2011

more on change & suffering


I've gotten quit a bit of feedback about the posts from earlier this week on the three causes of suffering (which I love and appreciate the comments). I realized it would be helpful to continue the dialogue on this juicy yoga sutra I am referring to, which is sutra 2.15.

My fave translation of this sutra is presented by Desikachar. He says,

"Painful effects from any object or situation can be a result of one or more of the following: changes in the perceived object (parinama), the desire to repeat pleasurable experiences (tapa), and the strong effect of conditioning from the past (samskara). In addition changes within the individual can be contributing factors."

My dear friend Mia commented on the blog post, saying this:

"Parinama is interesting - but can't it also be a good thing? Can't a "change in a perceived person, place, or general object" be positive as well - for instance, I can be driving and perceive this person who cuts ahead of me to be a personal attack whereas I can change that perception to one that is more of "that person is probably a parent rushing from work to see his kid's show in school" (or something like that.) So perhaps in that sense it's not necessarily a cause for suffering? Or maybe that's just my misinterpretation?"

I agree with Mia that change can certainly be a positive thing. I'm quite the proponent of change. :)

I probably should have been more clear and noted that this sutra is speaking specifically to sorrow, suffering, which is noted as "dukham" in this sutra.

Clearly people are affected differently by change. Two people could have the exact same job, be presented with the same challenge... let's say a change in their job.

One could embrace the change in the job and respond in a positive way. The other person in the exact same situation could react in a very negative way. Perhaps they develop insomnia, withdraw from their family, engage in unhealthy behaviors and develop migraines as a result of the change (poor heart).

This is dukha, suffering as a result of change. Essentially the inability to deal with stress creates the suffering.

Yogis have advised us for thousands of years to get our shit together mentally or suffer as a result. Modern day science now validates this. Stress is killing lots of people today.

Ancient yogis told us that yoga is not the ability to turn, twist, bend, and fold our body. But the ability to keep our mind settled, calm, and clear while life turns, twists, bends, and folds around us.

Thoughts? Would love to hear....

1 comment:

Mia said...

Thanks for the additional clarification!

"But the ability to keep our mind settled, calm, and clear while life turns, twists, bends, and folds around us." - this is so well-said, Sharon! And so true!