All creeping things-
The bell of transience.
Chapter 4 of Nicolai Bachman’s book, The Path of the Yoga Sutras, lands the idea and presence of the purusa and citta.
Our outer world constantly changes. Our environments are always in flux, our outer bodies are always in transition, our DNA and cells are constantly, steadily replicating. The only thing that remains constant is our inner light within.
I held a flashlight for my boyfriend, Al, last week while we were doing housework. I had to hold the flashlight steady so he could complete the task he was doing. I hadn’t thought about the yoga sutras in a couple days because of the remodel we were completing on the house, and it came rushing back to me in that moment.
I realized that if I didn’t hold the light steady, or that if the lens of the flashlight was dirty, he would not be able to complete the job he was doing as well as if it was a steady, clean light.
Such a mundane house project brought landed to clarity of what this sutra and the previous two are trying to teach.
Our purusa is the light source. That never changes. The only things that do are the citta and the drsya, defined by Bachman as being nature. The purusa is the light bulb of the flashlight. The citta is the lens of the flashlight, through which the purusa beams out. The drsya was me holding the flashlight, the ever-changing nature of the environment, or at least it’s potential for change. I could move and disrupt the flashlight’s environment, the drsya, or I could accidentally splash paint on the lens, the citta, thus clouding it.
The beautiful thing about this work is that it does not matter how dirty the citta becomes, and it does not matter how long the citta has been dirty. It can always be cleaned, polished, and sharpened. The steady light that shines within us all is the same in it’s intensity and it’s bright steadiness. The only thing that shifts from soul to soul is the condition of our cittas. The divine work of us as human beings is the work of clearing our cittas by meditating, practicing yoga, exercising, eating well, treating the earth well, doing what honors our souls and passions, and doing what is right for ourselves and our loved ones. I added things beyond just meditation and yoga because to me this is reality: all meditation and yoga represent are the things we are meant to do with our lives, and yoga and meditation are only two of those things. We all come to this planet with different gifts, abilities, and passions to be complete and inspire others to get complete. To only dedicate ourselves to yoga and meditation is to live and incomplete life: yoga and meditation give us the freedom to fully express the talents that thrive within us so we can fearlessly let them out in the spaces between yoga practices and meditation practices. Yoga and meditation just sharped the edge, accuracy, and consistency at which we dedicate our time to all the other wonderful things we love, and gift us with grounded space to enjoy them even more.
The beautiful discovery of life is that we all have to ability to make conscious decisions at every moment that affect ourselves and each other in positive ways that moves our planet and universe forward. To give up our dedication and action to the activities we love to do on a daily basis is to believe in only the death and dying aspect of life, and not the vibrant, abundant, and life-giving aspect of life. And our passions, like nature, can be ever-changing, because once we are complete with one way of being, we have space to explore something new. Like the many phases of Picasso’s artworks during the periods of time he was painting in his life: the Rose period, the African period, and his famous Blue period.
Picasso’s action was the same: he was was still painting, that didn’t change. What changed was his focus at different times of his life, in divine exploration of what existed within him and what he could create to share with the world, and to inspire you into action.
Follow the urging of your soul as it shapeshifts and transforms, because it, too, is part of drsya: it is natural and it is meant to flow as you flow. And it flows in the gentle waves of the beaming light river of the purusa.
Give up resistance, and allow things to change, and be content with the fact that your inner being, your inner light, is constant and conscious. This is what we are put on this planet to realized: that enlightenment is the work of becoming lighter in being, to give up the heaviness that pulls us back and holds us down, and to land in the light space that is our pure passionate existence.
Excerpted from the chapter:
A conscious, permanent inner light of awareness pervades the impermanent, changing universe.
I can alleviate suffering by distinguishing between what changes and what never changes.