Time for Tuning In


So, I woke this morning just wanting to see what “The Universe” might tell me to blog about today, so I did a “sutra dive” – ya know, where you just randomly open a book and see what pops out? Well, the first translation I did this with gave me Yoga Sutra II.27 which deals with the seven stages of wisdom. This is not an easy or simple sutra, so I tried to ignore “The Universe” and opened a different translation. To my surprise, it landed on the same one. And then, being the skeptic that I am, I had to just see what a third try would bring and there it was again, Yoga Sutra II.27.

“Through the unbroken flow of discriminative awareness, one gains perfect knowledge which has seven spheres.” BKS Iyengar – Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

To over simplify for sure, the path to enlightenment has different stages of experience and these levels of experience are gained by developing awareness and discrimination through the practice of yoga. So why would “The Universe” be so adamant about this sutra at this time? Well, here is my interpretation…

The Seven Layers of Inner Wisdom

  1. Tune In – true knowledge is to be gained by looking at one’s Self first and foremost. We are being asked to physically separate ourselves, so there is no better time than now to turn your attention away from that which is outside and uncertain to the answers that lie inside and are more clear.
  2. Detach and Discard – As we turn our attention inward, we are able to experience detachment more readily. When we attach to all things outside our Self we create pain – whether it is the pain of not getting something we want or the pain of experiencing something we don’t want. Turning away from those external things and truly being with only that which is necessary releases us from the pains of attachment.
  3. Control the Mind – The mind will continue to want to turn out, but that is just habit. Once we turn in and detach from the external, the mind may more easily be focused on only the inner voice of the Self. Keeping this control of the mind inward will bring clarity free of distraction and disturbance.
  4. Do the Needful – Connecting back to the Self and not being distracted by outward influences does not mean we are inactive. As we connect to ourself more deeply with awareness, our deeds become only that which is necessary and purposeful. Energy is not wasted, but focused on what is necessary.
  5. Just BE – in the active state of “doing the needful”, we live more in “BEING” instead of “doing”. This stage is the experience of the sattva guna or living in the energy of balance, peace, and tranquility.
  6. and 7. Absorption in Intelligence and Self. Once the elements and energies of the outside world are no longer disturbing or creating imbalance in our life and we can experience the Truth inside our own being, the last two stages are felt as absorption into the Self – both at the level of intelligence and then fully at the level of the Soul.

I’m not going to pretend that this “tuning in” will be easy during this time of lock-down. However, we are relegated to a lot more time with just ourselves or maybe just our nuclear families. In every case, our “outer world” has gotten smaller. Now is the time to build that discriminative awareness in yoga with less distractions, learn more about our Self, and in the end live a deeper truth when the world opens up and out again.

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Jennie Williford CIYT

Jennie Williford (CIYT Level 3) is a transplant to LaCrosse via Montana, Illinois, and originally Texas. Throughout her life moves and 5 trips to India, Jennie has acquired a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to Iyengar Yoga since her start in 1998. Jennie loves the experimental and explorative nature of yoga in accessing deeper knowledge of the Self on every level. The practice of yoga can be intense and introspective, however as practitioners we can be light-hearted and open-minded in our discipline. Jennie is intrigued by the philosophy of yoga and hopes to share this depth of subject while teaching the physical and mental benefits that come from the practice of posture.