1.39 Or, by focusing on anything uplifting.
This verse reaffirms the fact that the Yoga Sutra is a non-dogmatic, comprehensive compendium of yoga techniques. Understanding that each person is unique and that the same path may not be the best for everybody, Patañjali offers an open invitation to remove distractions by dedicating your energy and awareness to whatever you find uplifting. This sutra also reminds you that yoga is about you making the most intelligent and appropriate choices available to you. Take a moment to consider what inspires you. What do you find truly uplifting? What is the direct experience that you have when you are inspired? How does inspiration feel in your mind, your body and your emotions? How are you cultivating inspiring thoughts, intentions, actions and interactions in your daily life? What happens when you make the conscious choice to look for inspiration in everything that you do?
This may be a good time to review the internal structure of this chapter in the Yoga Sutra. After inviting us to be present and awake (1.1), Patañjali defined yoga (1.2), introducing its effects, abiding in one’s own natural state (1.3). Patañjali indicated how we get pulled away from our natural state and misidentify (1.4) with our ways of being (1.5-1.11) and he also offered a strategy to deactivate those distractions through practice (Abhyasa 1.12-1.14) and detachment (Vairagya 1.15-1.16). Then followed the gradual progression into deeper internal harmony (1.17-1.22). After explaining the path of humility (1.23-1.27), how to practice it and its effects (1.28-1.29), Patañjali listed the obstructions most of us face and their symptoms (1.30-1.31) as well as effective ways to overcome them: single pointed focus (1.32) and moderation (1.33). In sutras 1.34 to 1.39 we found specific focal points for practice. As we practice each one of these sutras we can assess if the practice is working: and our misidentification with our ways of being dwindles (1.4) while, at the same time, we feel more whole, complete and integrated. In other words we are better able to rest in our authentic sense of being. Gradually we gravitate toward the natural state of ease with less need to identify ourselves with our changing experiences (1.3).
As you practice, what are you noticing in you? Is there anything different in your internal environment? What can you observe in your choices and actions? What is the quality of your interactions?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually: