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Have you ever wanted something so much that you can’t stop thinking about that thing and almost obsess over it? Where your mind is controlled by your immense liking of this object or situation or person even. In yoga we call this raga (attachment). In this state the mind is not calm nor balanced. Then what happens when we obtain that thing we wanted so badly? Oftentimes, once we get it, we no longer value or appreciate it. It becomes normal or in some cases, when it doesn't turn out to give the desired satisfaction or outcome, even a source of frustration, which in yoga we call dvesha (aversion).

So in yoga, how do we deal with desires and invite more balance?

“One becomes exhausted with the unending pursuit of seeking fulfillment in this way but attaining only temporary and unfulfilling (from an ultimate perspective) pleasures. Therefore, the wise strive for detachment and the eternal experience of the soul rather than the never-ending pursuit of ephemeral pleasure.” - From the commentary of Edwin F. Bryant on Yoga Sūtra 1.15

There are two ways to control the vṛtti states of mind. One is abhyāsa: regular and consistent practice. The other one is vairāgyam (dispassion).

Life teaches us that vairāgyam (dispassion) isn’t about being free from desires because this can create an aversion (dvesha) to it, but it is about being indifferent to them. That is where the balance comes from.


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