I’ve always really liked this Sutra and this week I felt drawn to share it with a few of my classes. I think it’s important to understand, especially during this busy holiday season/end of the year time. Whether you’re getting ready for a huge holiday gathering, finishing up a semester at school, coming to the close of the year for business, or simply just going about your day to day the stress can be overwhelming. There’s an unusual amount of tension when it comes to the holidays. I know, I have felt it myself. But this year, I’m making sure I have these four keys with me in order to navigate the slippery terrain much better than in the past.my well-loved copies of the Sutras
I like Swami Satchidananda’s explanation of this particular Sutra from Patanjali. He makes it so easy to understand. In fact, Satchidananda states that “whether you are interested in enlightenment/samadhi or plan to ignore Yoga entirely, you should remember at least this one Sutra.” Of all the Sutra’s, he says this one will help you keep a peaceful mind always.
How so? By remembering that there are four kinds of locks in the world and if you keep these four keys with you always, you will have no trouble unlocking them. What are the four keys?
Friendliness, Compassion, Delight, Disregard
I encourage you to read what he has to say about each key and then take some time to contemplate them for yourself. That is the best way to apply them to your practice. In the interim, here’s a quick overview to get you started.
Friendliness towards the happy
If others are happy, be happy for them. If they are successful, don’t try to knock them down by saying things like “he doesn’t deserve that promotion, he’s just the bosses favorite.” These feelings come out of jealousy. By succumbing to jealous feelings you do no harm to that person, rather, you disturb your own mind.
Compassion for the unhappy
When others are suffering, have compassion for them. If you can help them, then you should. Be merciful to others and you will keep a calm mind. I like to use this key when dealing with curmudgeonly service center call people. Maybe that person doesn’t really like their job and they’ve been yelled at by at least 20 people by the time I’ve called (I hope not, but you never know!). I try to imagine what that feels like and approach the call with compassion. If they give me a hard time, I remember they are just doing their job and continue to talk calmly and from a place of compassion. It’s not always 100% but trust me, the more I practice this, the easier my inquiries become and the more likely my problems are solved!
Delight in the virtuous
This one is simple. When you see someone that is virtuous, be delighted and try to instill the same values that you admire in your own life. Don’t try to bring them down, instead, work to cultivate those values in your own life.
Disregard for the wicked
Here’s the one that has really helped me over the years. We all come across wicked people in our life. There’s nothing you can do to change them. Instead, show them indifference. Wish them good will and hope that they will be better tomorrow. By trying to change or advise them, you will only lose your peace of mind.
Keep these four keys with you always. When you use the right key with the right person, you will retain your peaceful mind. Keeping a peaceful mind helps the mind chatter and negative self-talk dissipate and in return you will find more happiness in your life and be closer to your true Self.
How have you practiced with the four keys? What’s your understanding of this Sutra?