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August 9th, 2010

Attitude Determines Altitude

By Ricky Tran

Maitri karuna mudito 'pekshanam sukha dukha punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatas chitta prasadanam

According to the great rishi Patanjali, there is more than one path to yoga.  In other words, one does not have to practice asana, pranayama and meditate to achieve the state of yoga, which is a peaceful mind. In sutra 1.33, Patanjali prescribes four (4) attitudes to be cultivated toward four (4) distinct objects (people). When these four attitudes are cultivated toward 4 distinct objects over time, one's mind will automatically become clear and lucid.

These four attitudes are:
Friendliness
Compassion
Delight or Appreciation
Indifference / Equanimity

The four objects (people) are:
Those who are in their agreeable space. People who are content or happy.
Those who are not in their agreeable space. People who are unhappy or suffering. Opposite of the 1st type.
Virtuous people.  People that do good things in this world. People who are living their dharma.
People of vice. People who do things deemed wicked by society.  Opposite of the 3rd type.

Explanation:

By cultivating an attitude of friendliness toward people who are happy, you become like these people. Surround yourself with those who have what they want and want what they have and you will soon find peace of mind. It is said we become who we hang around.  

By cultivating an attitude of compassion toward those who suffer, you will soon find peace of mind. You don't want to have joy or delight when you see someone suffer. Likewise, you wouldn't want to have compassion for those who are happy and content.

By cultivating an attitude of delight or appreciation toward people who make this world a better place, you will find peace of mind. When you see someone do something good, like return a lost wallet, you should have delight and appreciation. When you see someone help an elderly or disabled person across a busy street, you should have an attitude of appreciation. When this attitude is cultivated toward these types of people, you will soon have peace of mind.

By cultivating an attitude of indifference toward those who do bad things, your mind will become clear and lucid. If you surround yourself with people of vice, you soon will become a person of vice. If you hang out with thieves, you too will soon be a thief. According to Patanjali, one should not have an attraction or even an aversion toward this type. If you become unaffected by these individuals, you will soon find peace of mind.

Attitude determines Altitude

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