Beginnings are important
This is especially so in the opening of that great text, the Yoga Sutra.
Both a title, and a précis of what the Yoga Sutras offer all in that short opening line.
Yoga- Wholeness; Connection
Anu –within, here
shasanam- Instructions; teachings, how to find something.
So in the beginning, Patanjali is telling us the way to finding wholeness is within Here, Now.
Sophocles says a short saying often contains much wisdom. The Yoga Sutras are a gallery of short sayings that on their own and collectively contain much wisdom. Especially, in this beginning. There are many translations on the words of the Sutra. The words are great to ponder, but I’m also interested in the tone. How does this beginning sound? How I read this line in my head can change my entire approach to the text.
I can read it as a title.
‘Now, here is the teaching on Yoga’.
But this sounds dry, lifeless, boring. It doesn’t inspire me to read on. I lose focus, skip ahead to find more important bits, and don’t connect with the meaning of the words. I lose interest.
I also can hear it in my head as an instruction.
Now! Here is the way to wholeness!
Yes here! Now! In this moment. I know something you don’t. Pay attention. You may learn something.
It sounds a bit authoritarian. I’m scared to read further. I become alienated by my own swelling sense of fear and dread that I’m not worthy for this information, I’m not ready.
But what if I read this line as an offering.
“Now”; (gentle voice) “here” (even softer) “is wholeness”
Go-on. Take it. It’s ok.
You can hold it.
I’ll help you.
Hearing the first Yoga Sutra in this soft offering voice gives me strength, calmness and confidence that this material is really meant for me. As I am now. I don’t have to wait until I am more schooled in Sanskrit, or more aligned in trikonasana, or longer in my breath.
Here, as I am, now, is ok.
Wholeness- Yoga -Connection is available.
I don’t even need to reach out and take it.
It’s offered, freely available.
And because the Here can be hard, Patanjali is soothing the way, offering me guidance in the journey. Letting me know that there are tools available to use to stay in the Here and Now, and he can help me access them.
And I want to turn up the palms of my hands and accept the offering, and come in to this teaching, into the wholeness of the moment. And I’m ready to be guided through the wisdom of the Sutras.
Now, Here; is wholeness.
Let's begin again
See you Thursday