The Four Keys.

Patanjalis Yoga Sutra 1.33

Matri karuna mudita upeksanam sukha dukha punya apunya visayanam bhavanatah cittaprasadanam.

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion toward the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains it’s undisturbed calmness.

Life is a constant push and pull, ebb and flow, navigation of calm and rough waters. Maintaining balance while riding the roller coaster of life is not easy to say the least. It is because of this that religion and spirituality have become so prominent or necessary over the centuries of the history of human beings. It is in adhering to the formulas set in religious or spiritual practices that we humans find solace, and keys to maintaining peace of mind and spaciousness of spirit. Patanjalis Yoga Sutras are some of the oldest of these formulas and still widely practiced because they have proven to provide lasting personal peace.

Yoga Sutra (thread) 1.33 is said to “hold the four keys to lasting happiness”. Regular practice of the principles set forth in these four keys has a direct and positive effect on ones perpetual search for peace of mind and joyfulness of spirit. The Sutra states that there are only four types of people in the world, the happy, the unhappy, the virtuous and the wicked. Alongside these four types of people are four keys to use to obtain and maintain successful and harmonious relationships and interactions with these people; friendliness, compassion, delight, and disregard.

Life constantly presents each of us with opportunity to be better people, or not. These opportunities are what make life exciting and challenging. Whether in familial relationships, student teacher relationships, work relationships, romantic relationships, or relationships with acquaintances and strangers, the other person is a reflection of oneself. These reflections, being the attitudes and actions one chooses to bring to the table of life in any moment of interaction, are always a reflection of our inner perception of the world.

The offering of Yoga Sutra 1.33 is that of a practice of perception followed by action. By offering attitudes of friendliness toward the happy we move away from feelings of envy. Moving away from envy not only creates inner spaciousness but also allows the free flowing delight of enjoyment when any and all people are happy, and this is often reflected in personal relationships when you are happy as well. In offering compassion to the unhappy, by remembering “once I was like that and now I am like this”, brings great inner peace in times when we are asked to relate with unhappy people. Delighting in the virtuous is recognizing the value of the standard they hold for all and the opportunity to meet that standard oneself, as opposed to berating one for ones human mistakes while living this fallible life.  This perspective allows for patience while ones own journey toward virtue unfolds with authenticity in relation to ones own needs and desires.  The offering in this teaching, of disregard to the wicked, is perhaps the greatest offering of spaciousness and peace to oneself of all four keys.  By disregarding the poor, base, and down right wrong behaviors of others we not only get closer to the true embodiment of unconditional love, we also hold space for our own steady and clear peace while riding the waves of life in relationship to an always changing animate world.

When we meet our own inner waves of comfort and discomfort with emotional empowerment, and maintain peace of mind, then we find as a result of our own inner harmony the reflection we receive in relationship with others is calm and constant.   It is this calm constant inner harmony that we should strive toward on a regular occasion, and in practicing the four keys of Yoga Sutra 1.33 we can attain this goal.

Truly, it is not easy to be emotional creatures, we are always presented with challenges and obstacles. When we remember that life is full of ups and downs, then we find that we create more personal ease when we attend to making the arch’s of the waves smaller and closer together, in essence, not so extreme.  Like other religious and spiritual practices Yoga Sutra 1.33 is a reminder that people always have responsibility for, and the ability to, control their emotional landscapes, and ultimately through disciplined practice can grant themselves steady peace of mind and spaciousness of spirit.

With Love, Always, In All Ways, For Giving, In Joy,



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