Yoga Sutra Verse of the Week: YS 1.15: Explanation of Practice as a Combination of Engagement and Allowing
Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 04:54PM
Dennis Young

YS 1.15 Through allowing, and it's entailment, the systematic release of attachment, one is freed from the sense of absolute lack or need for objective things that are seen or heard of. This demonstrates success in becoming established within the pure unbounded grace and freedom of the subjective self.


All things are connected. All things exist and develop in relation to all other things. There is nothing truly independent, truly unrelated. How close or involved one thing is with another is just a matter of degrees of separation. And attachment in this sense, the positive aspect of attachment — that things must work collaboratively with other things in order for life to move forward, is a necessary and good part of the nature of things.


It's good that my hands are attached to my arms, or that our bodies are attached to the earth through gravity. This is not the kind of need or attachment Patanjali is referring to. Non-attachment can't be a false physical independence. To say that we don't need anything or we don't depend on anything is foolish at best. No matter how simply or minimumly we may live, we are still tremendously dependent on and completely interdependent with all that is.


So what is this "attachment" that we are releasing by learning to favor allowing? We find that this attachment cannot be any kind of self-denial or restraint of need or appetite. Nor can it be a shunning of interest or desire for experience or comfort.


A baby should seek and cling to her mother. A wave will cling to the shore. All things exist in an interdependent state, and this need is intrinsic to the flow of life itself.


In the same way, desire is a necessary and good thing. Without desire, there would be no life at all. It is desire that gives rise to growth and expansion. So non-attachment cannot be an independence or a suppression of desire. It's also not some form of restraint, mind over matter, suppression of appetite, need or wanting.

Granted, desire must be intelligent, guided by perspective and understanding. A baby's growth is rooted in desire, but it also must be supported by, guided by understanding the bigger picture grounded in a proper understanding of the effect the flow of time and the need for cooperation with the others and surroundings. We need to learn what ecology is, and how to channel desire for best results. But simple suppression of desire in an attempt at self-control doesn't work. Desire is the force of Nature itself, urging us forward to grow.

Understanding of context and insight into interrelationships, learning how things work and how to do things well is a better choice.


Systematic and continuous adopting and favoring of these two core values of Practice: *abhyasa*, or **engagement** and *vairagya* or **allowing** are central to *nirodha*, or nullification of resistance within the mindstream. “Allowing” means not colored by resistance --that we don’t object to or fight with the actual existence of something. We let things be and we engage with them in a collaborative and cooperative way. Allowing, or “being with” and engagement, or “willingness to work with something” are the methods by which the knot of suffering is loosened and untied, making way for the ease, freedom and joy of flowing as a blended, integrated being.


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