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Thought.


Meditating on a mountain to find enlightenment.

The Yoga Sutra 1.2 “Yoga is the stopping of the turning of thought,” has made a significant impact on my life. I used to think that I could think my way out of a problem or circumstance. If I thought about it long enough and hard enough, I could make everything better. I now realize that this was anxiety, a way to control future or past situations, or to justify behaviours.


In reality, I was wasting precious energy and time.


A woman in trees lost in anxious thought

According to Patanjali, this Sutra is Yoga and if you have achieved this, there is no need for the rest of the book! The book is a how-to guide, a step by step process that walks you through how to be FREE, happy, and peaceful in your life.


Book of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda
The Eight Limbed Path of Yoga

The ultimate goal is enlightenment or Samadhi, where you merge with the divine. If we truly have the stopping or turning of thought, to me this is where we lose self-awareness to absorb ourselves into the cosmic realm/universal energy. You are then also FREE of the constraints of a body, and of mental and physical suffering itself.


Human meditating in cosmos joined with universal energy

This Sutra is paralleled in Michael Singer’s book, “The Untethered Soul,” and countless others, that suggest we live in the present moment. We only have this moment, and to be fully present in all the experiences of the senses in our physical bodies allows us to get out of our mind. To get out of our mind means to stop narrating all we see, to calm our racing thoughts and ‘just be.’ This is my personal mantra to reorient myself to the present moment and slow the turning of thoughts. Just Be.


Writing Just Be in the Sand.

For me, the Eight Limbed Path outlined in The Yoga Sutras guides us to stop the turning of thought.


By going through the steps of the Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, help us to learn how to control the mind or consciousness = Citta.


The Eight limbs of yoga

Often we can have a lot of mind chatter or ‘monkey mind’. There are three processes that take input from the outside, Manas (memory), Buddhi (reasoning/thinking) and Ahankara (sense of self-’I’). We want whatever stimulus is coming from the outside, to cause very little waves = Vritti so as to create smooth calm waters of the Citta.


For example, if we find out we have a test that we feel we are not prepared for, we might experience big waves = Vrriti to our Buddhi Cittra as we try to think our way out of doing the test. We might also remember (Manas=memory) that last time we had a test, it didn’t go so well, again more waves, more thinking and now a more emotional reaction.


Man thinking in waves with energy and intention

When you have a quieter mind, by participating in exercises from the sutras such as concentration, breathing techniques, and meditation, you are also better able to cope with outside stimulus as you have reached a more peaceful awareness of your true self.

A man sleeping in the forest on a stack of books.

I would go one step further to suggest that if waves rush in to disrupt the mind, acknowledging, breathing through the pain, and practicing acceptance leads to a sense of knowing how to deal with a situation better. You will know if you need to let something go, or to speak up in an honest and kind way (Ahimsa - part of the first limb!).


A flower pot growing a plant with a heart on  a stick.

With practice, learning how to slow and eventually stop the turning of thought, will bring about the yogic union of Samadhi, where energy flows in all directions, where we finally achieve true freedom as one with the universe.


Remember to take time for yourself.

Remember why you are here.


In gratitude,

Signature Jaime

A blue lotus flower

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