Sutra 4.17: Things become known or unknown by the way in which they colour the mind. Translation by Kofi Busia
Sutra 4.17: However, a particular object or substance is comprehended or ignored in accordance with whether the mind is or is not coloured by that object, and is therefore attracted or repelled by that substance. Hence the quality or the description of the substance is dependent on the mind: whereas its existence is independent of it. Translation by Swami Venkatesanada
Do you look at the world through colored glasses? Rose-tinted or otherwise? Let’s find out with a little home experiment.
Go to your kitchen cupboards and open one of them. What do you see?
Here’s what I see in mine (maybe you’ll be able to relate):
- the top shelf overstuffed with bags of chips and snacks leftover from game night
- the middle shelf lined with jars of nuts and teas, but not quite as orderly as I would like
- the bottom shelf littered with canisters of dry grains… and a stray bottle of himalayan salt?
Every time I open the door to this cupboard, I see whatever item I’m looking for. I also see a level of disarray that I don’t like.
I can’t see just jars of tea, not without excessive effort. I see glass jars of black teas next to glass jars nuts & seeds. But, wait, what is that one plastic tub of cashews doing there?!
I see the items. I see their relationships to one another. I see their relationships to their container. I can’t unsee these relationships.
I don’t just see tea. I see half-filled jars of Earl Gray with not quite enough empty space around them to be a satisfying scene. That jar of chia seeds should live just a little more to the left…
I see the world through tidiness-colored glasses.
My husband, Kris, who shares my penchant for organization, has similarly colored lenses. Just somehow they’re different enough that he has relinquished cupboard control to me (lest we come to blows over where the chia seeds should be). Just like I’ve surrendered towel-folding to him (albeit begrudingly). Because no matter how we try, we do not seem to be able to put on each others’ glasses in these particular areas.
You see the world through your own lenses. How do you color the world?
Do you see a special shine on certain objects that draws you to them? Or maybe you see the spatial relationships, like in my case? Or perhaps objects are all dull and flat to you, and it’s animals you see through that unique hue in your eyes?
I love that we all see differently (that’s my love of relationships again). What I don’t love (and my guess is that most of you don’t either) is when our lenses become so opaque with our individual perspective that we shut out the reality of other perspectives.
You can let someone else’s vision in, even if it means a new color emerges. Your unique perspective can still be there. But opening up to a new one may save you from charging into a battle you don’t need to fight.
Just maybe, your first reaction will transform into a well-considered response.
I don’t love the way Kris leaves the towels folded when they return from the laundry, and I doubt I ever will. But I can see why he does it that way, and when I look at the linen closet, I feel a bit of affection for it. Seeing his work reminds me of who my husband is, and that he is his own person. And I am mine. Together, we see more clearly, but we need our own views, too.
The same is true for you and me, you and yours, you and everyone.
Hari om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a classical text on yoga–a guidebook of sorts.
Each week, 216 teacher Esther Palmer dives into one of the sutras and we let it take us where it takes us.