The third stage of wisdom is control and understanding of the mind. This leads to the realization and experience of our True Self.
Drawing our attention away from the external and toward the internal in stage one and discarding the extra disturbances and distractions in stage two allows for this clarity of mind.
BKS Iyengar lists the translations of the third stage of wisdom as the following:
- “The attainable is attained” (Vyasa)
- “Disappearance of the mind” (Yoga Vasista)
- “Control of the mind” (BKS Iyengar)
- “Integration of Energy” (BKS Iyengar)
The “attainment” of yoga is “stilling the fluctuations of the mind”, which clears the way to experience the Self without distraction. With the mental fluctuations under control there is no wasted energy. When typically all of our energy and senses and activity is thrown outward, at this stage of wisdom we live fully from within.
For most of us this state comes and goes, when for a yogi it is permanent. There might be times right now that you can sit quietly or just in your “alone-ness” feel absolutely full, whole, and focused. But, then the next moment you might once again be full of worry or drawn outward to the next news update.
Just as it is important to practice asana (physical posture), it is also important to practice the focus of the mind. If you can be aware of those times the mind is drawn back to distraction, how fast can you catch it and bring it back to the moment right in front of you? If this is difficult, pranayama (regulation of the breath) can be an invaluable tool to catch the mind when it has wandered. Thankfully, as our schedule can be a bit more manufactured for ourselves these days, Chris Saudek has started an early morning Pranayama Class Online for this very purpose.
Let this time become valuable in gaining wisdom and help clear you mind with yoga!