Sutras 1.4 – 1.11

There are 5 activities in the mind that cause vrttis or waves/fluctuations in your mind. There is a positive and negative side to these activities (two sides to the coin. You can also view this as painful or painless). It is up to you as the person to observe and monitor the vrttis or else the mind can overpower you, sending you into a place of despair and disillusion.

Sutra 1.4 – I AMness. Everyone identifies with something or as someone and uses labels to do so. For example “I am a tall man who is an artist” therefore you are that. Your reality is based on the perception you have of yourself and the world around you. The awareness you have essentially takes on the patterns or fluctuations of your mind. These are the vrittis and you want to observe to know whether they are real or not. Yoga offers an opportunity to re-evaluate, re-form, self-adjust and practice self-control.

Sutra 1.5 – There are 5 levels of vrittis or levels of consciousness. They are grouped into two categories: painful or painless thoughts.  You can also think of them as selfish or selfless thoughts.

Sutra 1.6 – The 5 levels

  1. Right Perception or Truth
  2. Misconception or Error
  3. Conceptualization or Verbal Delusion
  4. Sleep
  5. Memory (Remembering)

Sutra 1.7 – Here he explains how right perception or right knowledge occurs. Direct knowledge from trusted sources like texts and scriptures, having trusted teachers at your disposal or having the correct perception. Sensory input or intuition is also a way to see the truth.

Sutra 1.8 – Misconception or misunderstandings. A great example of this is the story of the man who saw a coiled rope down a long dark road. In his mind, it is a snake and the fears overwhelmed him. Instead of investigating to know for certain that what he thought he saw was real, he chose to avoid that path altogether, never reaching the destination.

Sutra 1.9 – Conceptualization begins when you hear someone else say something. The stories you hear may not always be the truth. They can be conceptualizations of the person telling another story of a conceptualization. Propaganda or the news are a perfect example of how you must always question what you hear.

Sutra 1.10 – When you sleep, it is important to remember that you are still thinking. Dreams and subconscious thoughts may be giving you tidbits of knowledge that can lead you towards the truth.

Sutra 1.11 – Memory is based on true experiences. These experiences can give you right knowledge in order to make quick and true judgments. This is a great opportunity to point out the other side of the coin. As you might have guessed, it is also important to understand that sometimes, experiences can lead you to misjudge a situation.