Urdva Yoga

4 GATES TO A JOYFUL MIND

In whatever we do, seeking fulfillment and joy remains at the centre to all our pursuits. Yet, it is like a mirage or comes fleetingly and does not last. Some may seek appreciation, fame, wealth, or sensual pleasures to derive this joy. In this constant chase, we are like the deer in the desert chasing a mirage in search of water ultimately succumbing to exhaustion and distress.

The classical text of Yoga, Yogasutras of Pātañjali presents deep insights into the human psyche and methods for finding peace and lasting joy. This state of mind is referred to as chitta prasadanam, the state of clarity and pleasantness of the mind.

maitrī-karuṇā-muditā-upekṣānāṃ
sukha-duḥkha-puṇya-apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṃ
bhāvanātaḥ citta-prasādanam
–PATANJALI Yoga Sutra 1.33

CULTIVATING FOUR ATTITUDES FOR A JOYFUL MIND

1. Friendliness (maitri) towards those who are happy (sukha)
2. Compassion (karuna) towards those who are sorrowful (dukha)
3. Joyfulness (mudita) towards those performing good actions (punya)
4. Indifference (upeksha) towards those performing evil actions (apunya)
The practice of these attitudes bestows chitta prasadanam – a mind that is pleasant, joyful and steady. A mind that is not steady can not be joyful and vice versa. Knowing how to associate with others and their state, and even when to be indifferent can save us from a lot of unnecessary distractions.

To practice these attitudes, one can begin with honestly facing their attitude to someone who is happy, sad, and suffering, succeeding because of their positive actions and performing evil actions. We have six negative emotions: desire, anger, attachment, greed, pride, and jealousy. When they are allowed to run loose, the mind becomes fearful, anxious, agitated, and depressed. A joyful mind is clear and stable, has the capacity of discrimination remains undisturbed by the conflicting aspects of life experiences. All practices of Yoga, especially the yamas and niyamas are helpful in cultivating these attitudes.

Slowly and steadily the mind is elevated to a state of chitta-prasadanam!
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