Going back to possession and how it’s 9/10ths the law. That is wholly based on perception. In other words, someone has to physically see you with something in order to proclaim you in fact have whatever it is they physically see. So if you and I can physically see someone in possession of something, we can easily assume to the degree of 9/10ths or roughly 90% accuracy that the person owns whatever it is. What if we can’t see it? What if it’s not tangible, or as described in the Yoga Sutras, undifferentiated…meaning it is invisible? Then what? How are these variables or perhaps citta-vritti related?
In physics cause and effect relationships are categorized by how the variables (citta-vritti) relate to each other. There are two main relationships: direct and inverse. When you turn the heater on, it gets warm. That is a direct relationship. Magnets are great examples of an inverse relationship because as you increase the distance between two charged magnets, you decrease the force of attraction or repulsion. In physics…you can well physically see these things happen. If you’re really smart you might even be able to come up with a regression formula that mathematically proves the direct and inverse relationships.
In life…we often can’t physically see things. When someone says that you look like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, they don’t physically see the entire world on your shoulders. At least I hope they don’t. When you are sad, depressed, anxious etc…you don’t physically see what is causing you to feel this way. Rather you perceive yourself to be….fill in the blank. These feelings are however related karma, which is related to cause and effect…and we know that physics is also related to cause and effect. Public math…if possession is 9/10ths of the law…that is to say that I physically see you with something (direct relationship) then if I can’t see something (vitta-vritti), but I perceive there must be something causing this current level of discomfort, might it be safe to say that if I can’t see it, then it must be inversely proportional to that what I can see? For the sake of easy math…and not subject to debate, let’s say it’s 1/10th. If we accept this genius mathematical assumption, then I can then break down chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras by saying that the cause of all suffering is based on 1/10th of reality.
Pantanjali suggests not seeing things as they are as the cause of ALL suffering. Call it false perception, or misperception, on a scientific level, if you can’t see it, then how accurate can your perceptions really be? Sadly, it doesn’t matter. Back to physics again…Newton's first law of motion - sometimes referred to as the law of inertia states, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Suffering seeks to remain in the state of suffering, much like an object in motion stays in motion. In physics it takes an unbalanced force (action) to change the direction of motion. In life, it takes skillful action to change the suffering.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re with a bunch of positive happy people, you’re happy and positive…but when you’re surrounded by sullen and sad people you tend to (eventually unless you leave) to get soar and depressed? Yeah…kind of like Newton’s Law, or Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice.’ The core of Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice,’ is the yogic skill of discrimination, or as he calls it, viveka. Much like Newton’s Law of motion, in order to change the direction of suffering, you will need to put in some continual effort (action/unbalanced force) and practice.
Here’s where it gets tricky. This continual effort you’ll be applying is really no effort at all! Let me explain. My yoga teacher Rolf Gates often says, “Going after something usually results in crisis. Things don’t come up when you want fix them…they come up when you’re ready to fix them! When you have enough bandwidth to focus.” Confused? Well, remember nothing worth doing is every easy, however, I might be able to make all of this karma-slash-physics-slash-Newton-random Sanskrit word all make sense.