The Sutra Series: Purification of the mind 1•33

The mind is purified by being:

Friendly towards the happy,

compassionate towards the miserable,

benevolent towards the virtuous,

indifferent towards the sinful.

- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali • 1.33 • The Essence of Yoga

In Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, he talks about the concept of “emptying the cup” and demonstrates it to show that in order to allow the mind to be receptive of new concepts or ideas, you have to empty out a few things first.

In this sutra, known as the essence of yoga, the idea here is that the mind is naturally at unrest and has a tendency to focus outwardly. We often have feelings of jealousy, hatred, competitiveness that cause impurity of the mind and heart. In our daily lives, we get subjected to different situations that make one or many of those feelings arise. Whether we saw someone happy, someone doing something worthy, something we think is wrong, or someone sad. In many cases, the initial reaction can be impure with negative feelings. Patanjali asks us to replace those feelings with attitudes of friendliness, compassion, happiness and non-judgment, not just in our conscious mind but in our subconscious mind as well.

In yoga through meditation, we start bringing the focus inward and begin to think of our own feelings and judgments. With each practice you’re changing, with each practice you’re progressing, with each practice you’re emptying, removing the obstacles causing the impurities and planting seeds of love and acceptance. Through the teachings of this sutra, you will accomplish the purification of your mind and heart.