Samskara philosophy. The impressions and patterns that shape our lives.
Hello Flow friends,
I adore the yoga sutras, it astounds me that something written millennia ago resonates so well still, and offers such concise antidote's to our modern aliments.
"Samskara saksat karanat purvajati jnanam"
Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and of how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra III.18
"Be mindful of your thoughts as they become your words, be mindful of your words as they become of your actions, be mindful of your actions as they become your destiny"
What is a samskara philosophy?
In Yoga Sutra III.18, Patanjali explains that samskaras are essentially our habits, patterns and conditioning. When we sharpen our internal point of focus, we can come to a place of clearer perception, and have the power to shift these ingrained patterns.
Imagine our mind is like a record, and we lay down the patterns and imprints of our reactions from our experience's, then those same recordings continue to play on repeat without being improved on or edited over time, unless, we take the time to consciously review, and reprogram these often outdated patterns, we continue to have the same responses to situations and events.
People often think of samskaras in terms of negative patterns, but healthy habits like tiding up after yourself or going to yoga are samskaras too.
Samskaras generally develop as a response to a situation or circumstance slowly over of time, or suddenly.
Perhaps you grew up with a bunch of brothers and needed to be able to keep up, and defend yourself in the peeking order, so as a result developed a competitive and aggressive nature.
Or maybe you fell out of a tree when you were young and are now afraid of heights.
How can i live more fully and freely?
Samskaras can have a positive, negative, or neutral influence in your. A habit of getting up early every morning to meditate will have a positive impact on you, where a habit of always interrupting, or being late to work are likely to have a negative effect.
It's up to us to edit our patterns, aka samskaras from a place of love, these imprints and behaviours can be so entrenched that you don’t realize their full ripple effect until you start to practice self-reflection, which becomes a mirror showing us where we are coming unstuck.
This Yoga Sutra is one of the few that talks about our past as being insightful, as we move forward in life on our life's journey
Patanjali says that if you can become aware of patterns that may be tripping you up, and then mediate on them, we can discover the cause of those patterns, and how they may have influenced you over time, in a way that may be keeping you from your goals, leading to greater clarity and happiness in life.
The first step to living more freely and fully is Svadhyaya or self-study. You might find that through your yoga practice or in your breathing and meditation sessions, you have become more self aware, and this naturally leads to focusing your attention on shifting your limiting beliefs, and behaviours.
Once you have become aware of a pattern that you want to change, spend some time reflecting on the qualities you’ll need to cultivate in order to transform your previous pattern.
Perhaps it is the courage to speak your truth, and not freeze when the opportunity arises.
Or to finally overcome the procrastination that has been holding you back from writing that novel.
Set realistic goals for yourself, and come from a place of self love.
While you create your intentions with awareness, remember shifting a pattern can have its challenges, just like trying to redirect a river it needs time to fortify its new banks.
Please try not to confuse yourself with your negative samskara. The behaviour you wish to change is simply a pattern, and however ingrained or strong it is, it is not who you really are at your core, and through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past, and of how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us, to live more freely and fully.
You have the power
If you would like to take the leap and start your samskara shift, I encourage you to make a conscious commitment to self practice over the next 28 days (its well documented that 28 days is enough time to rewire neural pathways)
What are the samskara's that you have the desire to change?
Write down your desired new pattern, set aside 10mins (or more) per day to visualize yourself in this new pattern, engaging, reacting and achieving in exactly the way that you desire.
Then let this vision go, and come into your meditation practice.
Here is my favourite mediation playlist.
You are stronger than you know, sending love and blessing till next we meet.
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