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Yoga’s Four Keys to Inner Peace

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Imagine yourself on an adventure. You are stalking through deep woods, entangled by branches and vines. You quickly pull out a tool that helps you cut yourself a clear path. Maybe it is a sharp quick blade that severs the teeming vines or a cane that slowly untangles the branches. This is the way of Yoga, tools that we learn to use to help untangle the mind’s thoughts that hold us in a path of unhappiness, confusion, or doubts. Yoga is that life adventure that helps us to not only discover inner peace but master it. Not everyone wants or cares about finding a way to inner peace but if inner peace sounds good to you, lets continue.

In the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali there are some clear guidelines on how we can find our way to peace within (Samadhi). There are four simple keys that fit four persistent locks that Patanjali shares with us in Yoga Sutra 1.33. “By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” (translations Sri Swami Satchidandanda)

In all of its simplicity, like any other change, the application can be profoundly difficult. So let’s look at them individually and then how to put it all into practice.

The four keys are friendliness (maitri), compassion (karuna), delight (mudita), and disregard (upekshanam). These are the tools to carry with you, and with vigilance, you spend your day using them as each of the locks may present themselves in barring you from your mental state of peace within.

The four locks are happy (sukha), unhappy (dukha), virtuous (punya) and wicked (apunya). 24/7 we come across people and situations that can be defined as anyone of these locks. The mind will judge people or a situation in one of these four ways and then if we are not vigilant we can let our mind take us down a path of self manifested story, which we use to maintain a state of discontent. It is the usage of the four keys that will be your salvation in the maintenance of inner peace.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Each of the keys is a way of being, which may also define your actions, which will bring forth a feeling of inner peace. It is that simple in concept.

  • Be friendly, feel inner peace.
  • Be compassionate, feel inner peace.
  • Be delighted, feel inner peace.
  • Be indifferent (disregard), feel inner peace

It is in how we use the keys with the locks that is powerfully important!

KEYS LOCKS
Friendliness happy
Compassion unhappy
Delight virtuous
Disregard wicked

 

  • When you come across others who are happy you initiate friendliness from within.
  • When you come across the unhappy activate compassion.
  • When you come across the virtuous find delight for them.
  • When you come across the wicked be indifferent.

In the Heart of Yoga Desikachar translates 1.33 in this way, “In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.”

Ready to make the shift? Like any other change you make it will take 3 steps.

  1. Awareness
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Consistency

First begin to recognize when you are feeling out of sorts, disturbed and have a look at how you may NOT have been aware of the circumstances. Maybe you have come across someone who is happier than you are, and in that comparison you use it to feel less than friendly towards his or her happiness.

  1. Notice you feel “less than” and use it to wake up,
  2. Take the next step to forgive yourself for “forgetting your practice”
  3. Finally get back to a friendly feeling for their happiness.

Or you have a friend who is constantly unhappy, and you find yourself annoyed with them as their unhappiness tires your patience and puts a damper on your happiness.

  1. Recognize that your impatience is a reflection of a comparison that has you shutting down your heart’s inner peace.
  2. Give yourself a hug of forgiveness.
  3. Break open the compassion!

In the case of the virtuous, when you come across those who are doing a good deed and you are upset with them, use it as your wakeup to delighting in their actions. Notice how your inner peace shifts.

Finally you come across those whose actions you feel harmed by and slip into feeling victimized (that feeling can be strong, enticing but never peaceful.)

  1. Awaken by recognizing that you have fallen victim in your way of thinking/feeling
  2. Forgive yourself for being the disturber of your inner peace.
  3. Empower a sense of undisturbed peace again!

From that inner peace your actions will bear amazing healing within you, and bear fruit all around you. It is that powerful!

Using forgiveness will help you abstain from forms of unhappiness that many use in a self-abusiveness nature that can create tsunami waves of disturbance in our mental/emotional inner sanctum. Boy, does that disturb inner peace!

Our path then becomes recognizing the sacredness of inner peace, and our role as guardian of that inner sacristy. The divine within us is our way of upholding, caring for, and empowering the sacred known as inner peace.

Remember this only works when you implement and vigilantly practice! Find the lock you are in and use the key!

posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2016. follow responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Yoga’s Four Keys to Inner Peace”

  1. Ann Takvorian says:

    Thank you for those wonderful words of yoga wisdom. I will be posting the locks and keys on my fridge so I can read them every day.
    Thank you also for the great “flow-yoga” class, Don. It was wonderful to see you and Nancy again and regain a little DoveStar in my heart and soul. Keep up the good work and enjoy! Namaste :-)

  2. Such a great article. Thank you so much Nancy for going deep within, You Rock! Namaste!Solaya