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Sutra 1.21 “The goal is near for those who are supremely vigorous and intense in practice”
Sutra 1.22 “There are differences between those who are mild, average and keen in their practices.”
A friend called me up recently seeking advice, “I admire your ability to seemingly navigate stress and conflict with a sense of peace and objectivity,” and wanted to learn he might cultivate the same mindset.
I assured him if there was any truth to his perception, it was the product of years of practice.
I once listened to Vedic scholar, Sree Aswath, (pictured) speak on yoga and the sutras. He explained many think yogis do not get stressed or experience anger. Yogis, like everyone else, experience these mental states, but the yoga practice cultivates an ability to recover quickly. An unpracticed person may take a month or longer to move on from an emotional event; a practitioner of yoga, over time, can learn to recover in a week, a day, an hour, 10 mins.
Stoics also have a reputation for being unfazed and emotionless. Again untrue. Stoics cultivate maxims to have “ready to hand” to help bring them back to objective thinking. Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations are nothing more than reminders to himself to come back to this fundamental disposition.
“The ancient philosophers, likewise, did not merely think about the challenges of living and arrive at a conclusion once. They found it necessary to repeatedly go over and over the same line of reasoning in their minds on a daily basis, sometimes reviewing a single idea in relation to many different concrete situations, or elaborating it by means of different analogies and modes of expression. In other words, it takes effort and perseverance, in many cases, to change our habits of thinking and overcome destructive emotional responses.”
How have I applied this?
I read daily with the intention of finding passages I can use as reminders and tools. I enjoy sharing these with the world.
Ashtanga yoga encourages a regular daily practice. Through it, I’ve built strength over my mind.
Whether a headstand, or compassionate objective demeanor, it’s simply unexpected fruit of consistent practice over time.