Crimes of Consciousness

Friend and writing colleague, Sara Hendey, has written a series of poems inspired by the Indian sage Pantanjali. This poem, in particular, resonated in me, and she granted permission for me to post it here.

 Patanjali’s Sutra 1:33[i]

By cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the errors of others, the mind remains tranquil.

Crimes of Consciousness

patanjali_lg2dressing your mind
in jewels and furs
is scandalous

unless of course
you’re preparing to jump
out of your skull

Yogananda[ii] would skull-jump
during exam time
while meditating in a graveyard

soaking up life’s traumas
he sat straight and stalwart
like a tombstone

life’s first draft
is a sloppy copy
of thoughts

no siddhi powers
to change the script

be your own narrator
with a fly-swatter
vigilantly squashing negativity

rearrange the words
and pluck out the good
because you can’t curse in Sanskrit

like a triangle in a raincoat
balancing in a storm
hunker down to your inner self

bad thoughts about self or others
these are the crimes of consciousness
reflect on the root

be a cat at the mouse hole
keenly watch the mind
ready to pounce

observation is yoga
judgment is not
ahimsa[iii] is a habit of mind

mix the wisdom
into our collective consciousness
until all lumps are absorbed

our human mind is evolving
there are more Vedas to write
Patanjali didn’t tell the whole story

at the manifestation level
yoga has more unintentional injuries
than any other discipline

so don’t be lazy
watch your thoughts
this is very important

[i] The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 Indian aphorisms. The Yoga Sutras were compiled around 400 CE by Sage Patanjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions. Scholars consider the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali as one of the foundations of classical Yoga philosophy of Hinduism. (Wikipedia)

[ii] Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952), was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi.’ (Wikipedia)

[iii] Sanskrit: “cause no injury, do no harm”