Locks & Keys . . . An Attitude for Surviving & Enjoying the Holidays
“In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.” (Yoga Sutra I.33, Translation by T.K.V. Desikachar)
There are two Yoga Sutras that address “maitri”, which is Sanskrit for “friendliness”. One is Yoga Sutra I.33 (see translation above) – and one translator (I cannot remember where I read this) suggests that even if we never practice yoga again, that we at least practice this as a way of life. In a post in The Yoga Sanctuary, Bonnie Yonker suggests the analogy of locks and keys as a way to interpret this sutra.
Bonnie says, “In this sutra, Patanjali says that there are only four kinds of locks in the world. The four locks are: sukha (happy people), dukha (unhappy people), punya (the virtuous), and apunya (the wicked). At any given moment, you can fit any person into one of these four categories.
Patanjali gives 4 keys to open these locks. He says that if we always keep these 4 keys with us, when we come across any of these four locks, we will have the proper key to open it. The four keys are: maitri (friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (delight), and upekshanam (disregard). Patanjali reminds us that there is a Yogic way of approaching all people, no matter what behaviors and attitudes they may be exhibiting at the moment.”
As we approach the holiday season and its frequent companion “hyper-busyness”, let’s agree to always have our keys close at hand.