November 22, 2020

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness. (Satchidananda, 1978, p. 51 sutra 33)

When I walk in the woods at this time of year, there are moments when I seem to hear plants whisper, “Hey, look over here. Take my picture.” The beauty I encounter is vibrant as it announces the seasonal changes.

I look at the various stages of life in this one branch. I smile at its variety of leaf color and notice the berries that remain while I wonder where the others have gone. The branch displays stillness/calmness, holds its position as the cooler weather of autumn strikes it.

We are in the beginning of changes in government since the election. Patanjali gives us good instruction to help us during these stages of transition. Perhaps if we blend the sutra with an image of changing steadiness, we may retain undisturbed calmness.

The current global turmoil, magnified in the United States, generated by the pandemic, civic unrest, political crisis, and a divided nation calls for a response from our depths rather than react from the surface of our consciousness. The timeless wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra gives us a paradigm from the deeper currents of consciousness. We must be friendly towards those who celebrate the present dynamic for whatever their reasons may be. We must offer compassion for those you have endured loss and suffering. We must stay clear from the wicked who would subvert justice and humanity. Most significantly, we must align ourselves with the virtuous who follow the path of fairness, humanity, and spiritual alignment with our higher angels. Our survival depends upon it. Then we will find that inner stillness that aligns us with our deepest consciousness and our highest Spirit.

Joyfulness is infectious. We must be friendly towards the joyful but not too friendly since we do not know their narrative; are they joyful having gipped someone of their rightful entitlements?

We should be compassionate towards the unhappy, but not enabling them since we do not really know why they are unhappy. Perhaps their choices and consequences create karmic sorrow following poor choices that they need to rectify.

The wicked must be confronted where possible and avoided if the time is not right to contain them. Often their negative karma will self-destruct them, but usually they need to be managed collectively by the virtuous. Till a coalition could be built to manage them, we must strategically avoid them till the time is right to contain them.

The virtuous are the winners. These are just and courageous souls who are guided by the right intentions, right thinking, right action for the right purpose. Right here implies aligned with their soul’s guidance and spiritual alignment. They are the winners. We must stick with these winners. Like the rising tide, they lift all boats. We can feel such individuals in our being. They are experienced in our body as lightness, joy, safety, relaxation and mentally we feel a sense of purpose and direction. They inspire us to altruistic service.

Sometimes, they are our leaders like Gandhi, Rev. King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, but often we find them in our daily life in our teachers, mentors, neighbors, and friends. They are priceless jewels in the crown of our consciousness. We must guard these precious relationships.

Points to Ponder:

  1. What helps you stay grounded?
  2. How do you maintain a steady calmness when things seem difficult?
  3. How can you increase your moments of happiness?
  4. How can your personal history benefit you during these times?
  5. How do you deal with happy individuals?
  6. How do you relate to unhappy individuals in your life?
  7. Describe a wicked individual in your life.
  8. How do you deal with such wicked person?
  9. List the virtuous individuals in history and your life.
  10. What calls you about these virtuous individuals?
  11. How do you nurture your relationship with the virtuous?

Satchidananda, S. (1978). The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst, , 

Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist

In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.

© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH. D

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