The sutras (4th chapter) explain that due to our mental conditioning that comes from past experiences, we are not able to accurately see/assess and therefore we misinterpret current experiences. Our interpretations are colored(a Sanskrit word for colored is uparaga) with past impressions and this leads to confusion. The confusion is diminished by removing those obstacles (like kleshas/samskara). We are able to remove the obstacles only through discrimination (viveka) and the highest form of discrimination is said to cause ‘dharma-mega’ or a cloud of virtue. Sounds esoteric perhaps but lets look at real life. We have all had momentary confusions and most of us have had periods of deep confusion and some of us have had times of confusion so overwhelming that it becomes crippling. Personally I have had all 3 states of confusion and it can feel like someone taking a hammer to a glass window. Getting sober, dealing with anxiety and depression, childhood trauma. You wonder how you will ever put all the pieces back together again. It may seem hopeless at times. The sutras remind us that while we may have some actual messes to clean up, the glass was never actually broken. The glass is in fact unbreakable, irrefragible and perfect no matter how many hammers you throw at it. The real self cannot be damaged. Its the mind/ ego that creates the idea of brokenness, when we begin to get a handle on the minds capacity and compulsion to create drama- we gain some discrimination. then we have to keep going, keep disciplined practice to strengthen that viveka (discrimination) and dharma-mega will ensue. The past can inform but should never guide us. See the past for what it is and how it influences you today. But also be present for today and whats real right now. Then with that discriminative knowledge move forward. Lastly Ill say that dharma-megha is considered one of the final steps, a condition where knowledge is essentially unlimited and what remains to be known is very little. Its a good direction to head in even if it takes many lifetimes to get there 🙂 I’m here and I’m in. Are you?
Stephanie Snyder is the founder of Love Story Yoga in San Francisco.