Yoga Sutras 1.14: Practice with devotion for a long time without a break
- Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.14:
Practice with devotion for a long time without a break
YOGA SUTRA 1.14: When that practice is done for a long time, without
a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a
firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.
(sah tu dirgha kala nairantaira satkara asevitah dridha bhumih)
SAH = that (practice)
TU = and, but, however
DIRGHA = long time (dirgha = long; kala = time)
NAIRANTAIRA = without interruption, continually
SATKARA = with devotion, sincerity, respect, reverence, positive
attitude, right action
ASEVITAH = pursued, practiced, cultivated, attended to, done with
DRIDHA-BHUMIH = stable, solid foundation, firmly rooted, of firm
ground (dridha = firm; bhumih = ground)
KEEP PRACTICING: One of the most important principles of living yoga
meditation is that of continuing to practice without a break. Often a
meditator gets started, practice for a few weeks or months, and then
stops for a while due to some life situation. Then, he or she starts
over again. While it is good to start again, it is better to choose a
level of practice that you know you can maintain without a break. If,
for example, you try to practice 2-3 hours per day when you are well
aware you do not consistently have that much time in your current
lifestyle, it is a set up for breaking practice. It's far better to
choose an amount of time that you can consistently practice.
CHOOSE YOUR LEVEL OF PRACTICE: Because of the importance of
consistency of practice, one of the later sutras (1.21-1.22) suggests
that you choose one of nine levels of practice to which you commit
Q&A ON PRACTICES LEADING TO TRANQUILITY:
Q: I have a pretty busy life. How long do I have to do these
A: A long time! Keep going and never give up, whether "a long time"
means days, weeks, months, or years. Surrender, yes, but give up?
Q: I'm not sure I have my heart in this. Can I just plod along with a
bad attitude and still make progress?
A: Do the practices leading to tranquility with all the conviction,
devotion and sincerity you can muster. Cultivate the positive and let
go of the negative. Gentle, loving persistence is the way to peace.
Q: How often can I take a break from this? What if I'm too tired, or
too busy some days? Can a take a vacation from these practices and
just pickup where I left off?
A: No breaks! We eat food every day. We sleep every day. We use the
toilet every day. We gossip with other people or have negative
thoughts and emotions every day. If we can do all these things every
day, then we can do the practices leading to tranquility each and
every day, without exception.
Q: What's the payoff from all of this work? This sounds pretty hard--
doing this for such a long time without even a vacation? What's in it
A: You will get a practice that has become a firmly rooted, stable
foundation for the subtler experiences that you are longing for in
your heart. One day, you will come to see that your practices are a
beautifully elegant, simple and rewarding part of your life. You will
truly find that this is the most valued asset you have. It will leave
a smile on your face.
DEVELOP ATTITUDE: The attitude satkara contains the principles of
devotion, sincerity, respect, reverence, positiveness, and right
choice. As you choose your proper level of practice, and decide to do
that daily, the attitude will come more easily. It is like having a
little flame of desire in the heart for the fruits of meditation, and
then slowly starting to experience those benefits. That little flame
starts to grow slowly and consistently into a burning desire to guide
your life in the direction of spiritual realization.
IT ALL RESTS ON ATTENTION: Throughout the science of Yoga meditation
attention is a critical principle to practice. This sharp, clear,
assiduous attention (asevitah) is essential if you are to develop the
attitude of conviction for practices over a long time, and without a
break as described in this sutra. "Attention, attention, attention!"
is the formula to follow, though done in loving kindness towards