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Yogic qualities to develop a calm mind

I think we can all agree that on our Yogic journey what we are aiming for is a calm mind, a mind which is a pleasant place.

According to the Yoga Sutras we come across four kinds of situations in our daily life: Happiness - Suffering - Helping others to happiness - Inflicting suffering on others.

Our desire is generally to acquire happiness and helping others to happiness and trying to avoid suffering or inflicting suffering on others. One is our desire to acquire, the other our desire to avoid. Funnily enough, both of these desires are what keep us trapped in our mind.

How can we overcome this desire?

The Yoga Sutra 1:33 states that 'Our consciousness is calmed by cultivating friendliness towards the happy, compassion towards the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and indifference towards the wicked.'

How does this translate into qualities that we can develop inside ourselves?

- Friendliness, openness towards all living beings.

- Compassion towards suffering, feeling sympathy, not avoiding it but being considerate about it.

- Joy and lightness in ourselves, from deep inside, like each cell of the body is smiling, this natural state of being relaxed and being in the flow.

- Maintaining indifference, impartiality and equilibrium with people and situations. With both positive and negative experiences, like we are on the outside observing, not effecting us, not getting involved.

Swami Veda Bharati explains the yogic qualities in our relationships with others the following way:

"When one practices amity towards those who are happy and in comfort, his mind-field’s dark stains of jealousy are turned off.

When one practices compassion, that is the desire and inclination for eliminating others’ sufferings in the same measure in which one wishes to remove one’s own, then the dark stains of any inclination towards harming others cease.

When one cultivates joyfulness at seeing other beings virtuous, the dark stains of malice are turned off.

When one cultivates indifference, that is neutrality, remaining in the middle ( madhya-stha), then the dark stains of intolerance vanish."

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