The Mind Becomes as if a Transparent Gem

Yoga Sutra Chapter 1 verse 41

kṣīṇa-vṛtteḥ abhijātasya-iva maṇeḥ grahītṛ-grahaṇa-grāhyeṣu tat-stha-tat-añjanatā samāpattiḥ ||41||


Coming into the water for yoga practice, I often find I more readily engage in the exercise of focusing my attention. What is noticeable is the shift in my awareness that occurs - the aquatic environment offers a variety of stimuli that's different than what I'm used to experiencing on land. The initial sensations that emerge when I immerse myself in the water include:

  • a quality of lightness in my body due to buoyancy
  • a sense of density due to hydrostatic pressure and moving through water viscosity
  • a body temperature regulation difference due to water conducting heat more than air

Through this shift in awareness I recognize I can orient my attention in specific ways. In my practice today, I had the utter delight of noticing some small bubbles appearing after some of my movements. I began to observe one bubble moving calmly and steadily across the water toward the pool steps. Then through that bubble I saw the image of the blue tile along the pool steps brought into a sharp, clear, brilliant focus (my photo of an attempted re-creation of that encounter does not do it nearly as well - but I think you get the picture, pun intended). I was immediately reminded of the idea presented in yoga sutra 1.41: 


"When the fluctuations are reduced,

the mind becomes as if a transparent gem,

able to assume the color of whatever object is placed before it;

that coming together of,

that which is grasping,

the process of grasping

and that which is grasped,

is a state of meditational unity."


(translation and interpretation by Paul Harvey)


This was such a wonderful reminder for me regarding the clarity and insight that can be experienced through a steady, undisturbed and peaceful state of mind. Is this something that we can cultivate? The good news the yoga sutras has for us is the answer is "Yes!", but we have to desire to orient ourselves toward this as a consistent practice for this state of mind to emerge and become more and more a part of our lived experience - your mind can become like a transparent gem, able to grasp and know completely whatever is placed before it.


Stay tuned for more blog posts where I explore the ideas of Samadhipada, Yoga Sutras Chapter 1.