From the Yoga Sutra of Patañjali, the first four verses:
1. Now, the teachings of yoga (are presented).
2. Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.
3. When that is accomplished, the seer abides in its own true nature.
4. At other times, the seer is absorbed in the changing states of the mind.
(Interpretation by Edwin F. Bryant)
In studying Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, I’ve learned that the first four sutras in the first chapter are considered the most important. They are referred to as “catur sloki” — the 4 verses. It’s said that the whole philosophy of the Yoga Sutra is encapsulated in this elegant foursome.
For me, verse 3 is the jewel among the first four. Whenever I read it, it lifts my spirit, it reminds me of my intention, it reminds me of what I’m capable of, and what all of us are capable of — pure “beingness”, interconnectedness with all beings, and compassion for all beings.
My friend, Lisa Dawn, says that life is a back and forth between residing in I.3 or I.4. She suggests, as soon as you catch yourself getting entrenched in number 4, go back to number 3 as quickly as possible.
A handmade painting of Yoga Sutra Chapter 1, verse 3 by Melissa Townsend.