Verse 7: Knowing my limitations

My teacher introduced me to the word “practitioner” in the context of Yoga. I like the word practitioner because it is a reminder that Yoga is about constant practice. The vulnerabilities of mind and body are inhere-nt as long as I have a mind and a body. There doesn’t seem to be a remedy for or release from these vulnerabilities. There does seem to be a potential for learning to better live with them. A continuous and earnest practice reminds me to be attentive to my vulnerabilities.

When I first started Yoga I was ambitious. I wanted to achieve progress (I suppose that being younger also had something to do with it). Ambition led to a quality of pushing that I mentioned in the previous journal entry. The first “play yoga” years demonstrated to me that pushing was not effective. Back then, the pushing was physical (trying harder to bend, stretch, pull, push), and in retrospect, pushing placed me on a path of collision with my body. I learned that when intend to push my body responds with anticipation and braces (tenses) for it. The very thought “I am going to push” turns out to be counterproductive.

Then, when I started practicing with my teacher she introduced me to breathing and breath has a lot to say about pushing. If I push my inhale too far, the exhale that follows collapses. If I push my exhale too far, the inhale that follows is fast and sharp. If I push “just a little bit” it may take another breath or two for the effect to show itself. The feedback from breath is quick and unforgiving and does not tolerate pushing. Yet, breath does grant me an intimate sense of agency since I can consciously manipulate my breathing. Breath is a benevolent and fierce teacher.

Over decades of practice & life mingling and informing each other I’ve witnessed a subtle change in attitude emerge in me:

  • Pushing -> Noticing: I came to recognize that pushing does not lead to desirable outcomes.
  • Noticing -> Inquiry: I was left wondering what could be an alternative to pushing.
  • Inquiry -> Discernment: I learned to recognize my limits which meant I could “place” the impulse to push, I recognized that pushing was triggered when I approached my limits.
  • Discernment -> Graduality: I learned to avoid triggering pushing by gradually approaching my limits instead of colliding with them (or stumbling into them).
  • Graduality -> Softness: a gradual approach revealed to me that softness worked better for me (this is an almost opposite quality to pushing). Instead of crashing into my limits I could approach them softly.
  • Softness -> Appreciation – I was (still am) in awe that softness can be effective. I realized that “progress” is not something I can do, not something over which I have direct agency. Accepting that progress was not up to me made me appreciate the mystery of whatever it is that does get better.
  • Appreciation -> Trust: Something (within me?) seemed to be working reliably for me (as long as I didn’t get in the way by pushing my own agenda). I felt a growing trust towards whatever that may be.
  • Trust -> Acceptance: Trust (in? myself?) allowed me to relax into whatever was present. If my spine felt stiff, I no longer tried to unstiffen it. Instead, I settled into practicing with a stiff spine, trusting that whatever can be resolved will be resolved (not by me, at least not directly).
  • Acceptance -> Presence: in recent years I have experienced that when I fully accept how I am in the present moment, if I surrender any desire to be different, even to be better … that (by deduction) I am left with a quality of presence. This shedding of obstacles (desires) is not ideological, it comes from an embodied experience (from lots of trying and failing) that shows me that they simply don’t work.

This is where I currently am, it is a subtle shift that is hard to put into words. I feel less inclined to even mentally “label my spine as stiff.” I am practicing with my spine as it is. The framing is shifting from “I am limited” to “I am the way I am” right now, or maybe even “I am my limitations.” I feel like I am more inclined to inhabit myself and less inclined to label or generate a mental image that is always slightly distant and removed from myself. Sometimes I encounter an emotional echo of feeling defeated. That, I believe, is a devious manifestation of aspiration stubbornly trying to dominate.

Sometimes I am lucky and I am left with a silent presence. It is a subtle quality. I can lift my arms, straighten my spine, exhale deeply, I can generate sounds … there’s a lot it seems I can Do. Presence is not on that list. At best, I can try to recognize and recreate the conditions in which presence is more likely to occur.

This is especially true now, as I write these words. I am in my yearly allergy cycle. My eyes are itchy, my breath disturbed and my legs tired. For a decade (since living in Romania, closer to nature and encountering allergy) I’ve been exploring this transformation (from pushing to presence) in my relationship with allergy. I have shifted away from relating to allergy as something bothersome that needs to be cured or even understood. I have shifted towards accepting that this is how I am when the Elderflower and Acacia trees flower. THIS transformation, from “fixing something broken” to inhabiting “something that is” seems (the experiment is still ongoing) to be softening and easing my allergy symptoms. The peak period of symptoms seems to be shorter. The symptoms seem to be less severe. The daily recovery and overall recovery seem to be faster.

My experience has been that pushing beyond my limitations is counterproductive. I have learned that softly inhabiting my limitations is a path to whatever lies beyond them. Be it bending my spine, slowing my breath or reducing allergy symptoms, the turning point seems to be acknowledging and fully inhabiting my limitations … myself! I have in mind an image of a membrane that resists water pressure but allows water through by osmosis. It is almost as if the act of pushing against the membrane IS what defines and creates the membrane. If instead of pushing through I slowly flow through, it is as if the membrane is not there at all.

Can it be that deliberately responding to my limitations with slow, gradual, attentive movement dissolves the limitations?

Practice, practice, practice.

Verse 6: Teacher

Verse 6 suggests that there are two ways to reach beyond what I can perceive and infer on my own. The first is revelation … and that feels like a can of worms asking to be opened … so I’m not going to open it (here, yet!?). The other is a teacher.

I felt a temptation to embark on an essay about “teacher.” I stayed with that temptation until inhibition arose. I stayed with the inhibition until a simpler desire arose, to share something about my lived experience of “teacher” through my relationships with my teachers.

Play Yoga

When I first dipped my toes into Yoga it was in a large group setting (30+ people with varying experience, some dropping in and out) in a lay “country club” setting. The teacher demonstrated on a small raised stage. She went through a regular routine (with slight variations) and everyone did what they could to follow along. I felt physically limited (which is why I was there in the first place). Despite my best efforts, I did not feel a change in my physical sensibilities. I was meeting my limitations (stiff all over especially in the shoulders) and felt stuck and unable to experience any physical improvement. The teacher knew of me but didn’t know me and rarely offered personal guidance.

The lessons were on Friday mornings. The realization that stuck with me from that period was that the quality of the previous day (the last workday of the week in Israel) greatly affected the quality of my practice. Much more than my intentional efforts during practice. If the previous day ended on a busy and anxious note, so was the practice the next morning. If the previous day ended on a soft and spacious note, so was the practice the next morning. That was interesting to me and became a seed for further investigation.

Ziva

When I first encountered Ziva I felt a rigor that resonated with me. One key difference in her teaching was in the relationship with breath. First, there was a breathing technique (ujjayi) and then EVERY SINGLE POSTURE came with explicit breathing instructions. This was difficult for me in the first month. Breathing made the postures even more demanding and made me feel even less capable. This was not an appealing experience … at first. But after a few lessons, breathing felt more integrated and actually enabled me to relate to my body in a different way.

At the time I was attending both weekly group classes and one-on-one lessons. In one of the early one-on-one lessons, Ziva placed me on a wooden contraption that looked like a small slide. I sat on it (facing “downhill”) with my legs straight forward and Ziva asked me to bend forward. What a revelation (and given the opening of this journal entry, I am genuinely surprised to be using this word here)! For years I’d been attempting this while sitting flat on the floor feeling hopelessly stiff. Suddenly I was flexible!

That experience, in my mind, exemplifies and demystifies the notion of a teacher. There are things that can only happen in a sustained one-on-one relationship with a teacher. I would even go out and limb and suggest that meaningful learning can only happen in such a setting (or … **clear throat** … revelation!).

Paul

Paul had been coming to Israel to teach for a few years and his yearly visit came a few months after I first met Ziva. I remember feeling excited to meet him and privileged that Ziva asked me to drive him to one of the open-to-the-public teaching events.

I don’t remember the drive. I remember arriving at a large gym hall packed full of rows of Yoga mats and their inhabitants. I remember the busy-ness of the space and I remember feeling intimidated. I remember uncomfortably squeezing into an empty slot. And I remember (with tears in my eyes as I write these words) hearing for the first time, from a distance, Paul chanting. He didn’t ask for silence, he started chanting. And the chanting slowly encapsulated the space until the space became pregnant with silence and chanting.

My next memory is coming up out of parsva uttanasana. My tendency was, at the time, to push and the pushing was amplified by the presence of both teachers in the space (even though neither were paying attention to me). So, I tried to do it really well, lifted my arms and neck until they aligned with my spine and coming up … and straining my spine REALLY bad. I made my way out of the space with difficulty, made my way to the car, and drove home to lay down on the floor and pray my spine would heal in time for the upcoming retreat (my first) with Paul.

I had spoken to Ziva about my spine, but I had not spoken with Paul. Fortunately, I was able to attend the retreat with a still sensitive spine. I remember the first morning of the first day. I arrived early to the teaching hall, sat down on the floor, and waited for others to arrive. When Paul arrived in the space he put his things down and walked around towards me. He passed behind me and gently ran his hand down my spine and assured me I was OK. He rarely says such things. That moment stands out in my mind as an experience of embodied trust. I can’t think of anyone else (other than my teachers) with whom I can experience such trust.

Over the years, pushing for short-term progress (that never came) eventually gave way to soft, gradual, and often barely noticeable progress. It is a kind of imperceptible progress, like watching grass grow. Over time it accumulates and, usually in retrospect, takes me places I never imagined I could go.

In the early years with Paul, I was an eager intellectual explorer. While studying the Yoga Sutra, I had many questions. Paul would usually refer me back to practice. In later years, when I settled into quiet practice, Paul invited questioning and reflection. It was as if I was out of phase with myself but he was in phase with an “underlying” me. He has always acknowledged AND seen through my temporary desires and held a long view and offered guidance accordingly.

The initial trust I felt towards Ziva and Paul has been deepened and reinforced by decades of demonstrated trustworthiness. I have had the privilege of directly experiencing seeds offered by my teachers, grow, when nourished with years of practice, into embodied teachings.

My teachers never asked me to have faith in them or in the teachings. I was never asked to follow blindly. I could always question. The practices they prescribed felt sensible and accessible to me. They never made promises and never took credit for outcomes. It was always about practice. And practice was always on me! This is how I came to experience trust. And trust led to a (surprising to me) quality of faith … and faith is elusive since I can’t quite place it … it is not quite in my teachers, not quite in the teachings, and not quite in myself … but there it is … I can feel it … fragile and resilient!

Teacher, Student & Teachings

It seems to me that the “authoritative teacher” mentioned in the verse is not a given, objective thing. Authority does not reside within my teachers. Authority seems to be a relational quality. It arises within a student-teacher relationship.

There is plenty of potential for bad turns in a teacher-student relationship. There were times that I desired someone to lean on, someone to just tell me what to do. I read and heard about “meditation” and “enlightenment” and I too wanted in on the spiritual action. I am grateful that my teachers were always there for me as teachers and never succumbed to my emotional needs and the fads that fed them.

The teacher-student relationship accounts for only two aspects of a triad. The third aspect is teachings. Authoritative teachings support and protect a student-teacher relationship. The presence of teachings points to lineage. Lineage carries a kind of trust that has been tempered by time (and it too has its vulnerabilities). The combination of teachers and teachings evokes in me a special flavor of belonging. When I am asked “what kind of Yoga do you practice”, the only valid answer that I have is to point to my lineage by naming the teachers … just like in ancient Yoga texts.

To this day I practice as if Ziva & Paul are watching me. Presencing my teachers transforms my practice, takes it and me beyond myself and evokes a devotional quality … a subtle form of trust.

Verse 5: Summoning Intimacy?

Verse 5 gives a first taste of the intellectual rigor that is present throughout the text. I thought hoped it was a local phenomenon, a peak in the intensity of the text, but though the intellectual intensity varies, it does not relent. Sometimes, after intellectual wrestling with a verse, I feel a need to take a step back and allow it to sink in and ask: what does it really mean? how does it apply to me in my life?

However, before zooming in on verse 5, I feel this is a good place to acknowledge the intimate relationship beween Samkhya and Yoga. It feels to me like Samkhya, in trying to focus on a bigger picture, is providing in some verses “brief headlines” which summarize and point to other knowledge domains. In this case, the brief mention (see below) of “direct perception by the senses” is in fact a pointer to an entire science of mind which is Yoga. So if you, like me, feel in exploring this verse that there must be more to this, you are right, there is 🙂

The verse makes a simple claim that there are three paths to right cognition: what I perceive directly with my own senses (I see the sun rising), what I can infer (from the color of the light outside my window I can infer it is sunny) and what I learn from a trusted source (my neighbor, who is indigenous to this place, looked to the sky and said that today would be a clear sunny day). That is it. Nothing else. Period. What does this imply?

I feel that direct sensing requires both internal and external presenc. Internally, I need to be clear and present in order to be available to perceive what is right in front of me. If I am nervous, agitated, or distracted I need to first settle down. Otherwise, the past and the future spin my mind around and I am simply unable to be present. I can miss things that are right in front of me and imagine things that are not there. If I am dull, slow and heavy I need to first freshen up. Otherwise, everything seems murky and confusing.

Then there needs to be an external presence. If I am sitting in a car rushing down the highway, the view flashes past me in a blur and I cannot relate to the places I pass through. I will not know the city like an elder who sits on the park bench every morning observing motorists like me flashing through the town. I will not know a forest like a hunter whose family has been hunting there for generations. I need to spend time with other people and places if I really want to know them. I need to spend time with my own breath in order to get to know myself (what is internal and what is external in THAT relationship?).

A feeling of presence is what I experience when these internal and external qualities converge. To what extent is presence available to you in your life? Can you discern, in your life, between the times and places where you are absent or present? When you feel absent are you able to tend to yourself and to become present once again? Or do the demands of life overtake you?

Inference is something we all do all the time. If you got up this morning and filled a cup of water from the tap you were inferring that since water came out of the tap yesterday (and many days before) it will also come out today. We infer consciously and unconsciously. For a decade my water came from a pump I installed in a well. After a dozen or so mornings (over a few years) when water did not flow from my tap, that unconscious inference became a modified (and more anxious) conscious inference. I stopped inferring that water would flow and came to infer that water will likely flow but also may not flow (in which case I could infer that some unplanned work was awaiting me).

Inference is as vulnerable as it is inevitable. First, it feeds on and relies on direct sensing. All the vulnerabilities of direct sensing feed into inference. If I wrongly perceive what is in front of me I am probably also making wrong inferences: garbage in, garbage out. Then, on top of that, inference is vulnerable to incorrect thinking.

The text uses a “fire on the hill” example: if I see smoke on the hill I can infer there is a fire on the hill (without seeing that fire directly) because I’ve seen smoke rising from a fire in the hearth. Then, in my actual rural life, I learned to make fires that don’t smoke. I made it with my own hands and perceived with my own eyes that indeed there was no smoke. So I thought to myself: did I just disprove a fundamental Samkhya argument? This became a cherished Samkhya lesson for me. The inference made in the Samkhya example is that where there is smoke there is fire. It does NOT infer that where there is fire there is smoke! My thinking was wrong. I was inferring incorrectly.

I find that paying close attention to how I think and infer is difficult and demanding. I was used to perceiving the lifting of a physical object as effort. I was less likely to appreciate quiet reflection as effort. When I lived a typical, modern, busy life, I prided myself on moving along quickly and getting things done. I did not prioritize slowing down and allowing for the more intimate form of thinking I now experience in stillness. Do you have space for quiet, reflective, intimate thinking?

And, finally, trusted teachings from a trusted source. I am guessing that In the original cultural context of Samkhya, this likely speaks to an intimate and (traditionally) long (decades?) student-teacher relationship. In such a relationship a teacher can share the right teachings at the right time in the right way. With that in mind, where do you get your information today? How trustworthy are your sources? Do your sources know of you? Do they care about you and your well-being? Do they relate information to you as it relates to you and as you can relate to it?

These can be demanding questions. If I do not have the capacity to engage with them in a meaningful way where does that leave me? Samkhya offers a brutally honest answer: wrong cognition. This means that potentially a lot of what I think I know is not reliable and possibly (probably?) incorrect. There is probably much more that I don’t know than I may care to admit. Where does that leave me? Where does that leave you? Where does that leave us?

In asking these questions for this journal entry, a surprising answer emerged: Intimacy! This verse feels to me like a summons to intimacy. Come back to my breath. Come back to my senses as they encounter the physical world I inhabit. Come back to my day-to-day relationships. Give more time to my direct sensory experience and less time to a mind wandering off in distant imagined places. Take time to notice how I notice. Take time to tend to myself when I notice that my noticing is not as good as I would like it to be. Find teachers. Become a teacher to others. Replace superficial, rapid, efficient, and triggering experiences with slow, meandering intimacy.

Close your eyes, inhale deeply and exhale softly and slowly. There. Intimacy!

Verse 4: But first … How do you know?

This verse is, in my mind, a turning point in the text. The next set of verses (4 – 7) is where I got stuck in most of my past study attempts. The proposition in this verse is deceptively simple, but in retrospect, it is like the calm before the storm.

When I initially encountered this section of the text I felt discouraged. I felt like I was being diverted from what really interested me. I wanted to know “what is the world? what am I?” But the text demanded that I first address the question “How do you know?”

And the answer(s) to “How do you know?” are not simple. This is where the intellectual rigor begins to ratchet up. In retrospect (in my current studies, I have already passed through and beyond this verse) I can appreciate the critical role these verses play. They are like the pillars of the structure that will be built on top of them. Without them I would constantly find myself asking “well, how can I know this?” In fact I did find myself asking this question, a lot. These verses seem to anticipate that and to preemptively answer that question.

These verses also demonstrate why a teacher (and a supportive practice!) is needed. They invite and deserve to be questioned and challenged. But it is very difficult to do this well on your own. You arrive at the inquiry with established biases. You, naturally, think you know better. You, naturally, think your thinking is reliable. But what these verses are really trying to point out is that your thinking has vulnerabilities. This means that you may think you know better and not be aware that, in fact, you don’t. You CAN know better, but you can also be wrong. This is where a teacher can help.

In fact, this verse explicitly points to this: “valid testimony” implies a source. That source is a teacher. Someone who has been where you are, has dealt with the challenges you are facing, has waded through the questions you have, has made the mistakes you are about to make, and has done so well enough to be able to sotly guide you towards correct learning through correct practice that will lead to correct cognition.

Finding a teacher is, I believe, the most challengiing aspect of Yoga (or probably any discipline?). Good learning requires a convergence of three elements: a motivated student, a capable teacher and reliable teachings. A sustained convergence of all three seems to be rare. I have witnessed my own teacher shift, over decades, away from the lure of teaching groups and back towards a traditional setting of a one-on-one relationhip where there is space for subtle and intimate learning.

TKV Desikachar did not teach different people different things.
Nor did he just teach the same thing to different people.
He taught different people the same thing in different ways.
The same could be said of T Krishnamacharya’s teaching.
Hence the context of the phrase the Viniyoga of Yoga.”

Yoga Studies

There is A LOT more (than is explicitly expressed in this and the coming verses) to be said about right and wrong cognition. But all that needs to be said cannot be conceived or captured in advance. It can only arise in context. It has to be said at the righ time as determined by a teacher responding to a student. What is the right time? The right time is when a question is alive in a student and a teacher feels that the student is able to hold an answer. The right time implies a lasting, intimate relationship and a life-long journey of applied learning. That is how you come to know.

Also, I have updated the creative process page to reflect the changes that the actual process has gone through. I myself was surprised, when I took the time to acknowledge it, how much more detailed and elaborate the real process has become.

Verse 3: Generative Causality

On this current experiment with the Sāṃkhya Kārikā, I made a choice to approach it as a generative process. Verse 3 is a great place to demonstrate what that means.

I feel that it is important to re-iterate that I am not really reading the text itself. Maybe one day I will acquire sufficient knowledge of Sanskrit to attempt this. But for now, I am reading commentaries. In the commentaries there is a recurring tendency to mention principles that have not yet been laid out.

For example, the commentaries for verse 3 mention some specific examples of evolvents and evolutes. However, in my summaries I only mention things that are explicitly mentioned in the sanskrit verse (my Sanskrit is good enough for that). Verse 3 does mention the concept of Mahat and I have also mentioned it in my summary. However I ommitted the other principles which were given as examples in the commentaries but are not in the verse itself.

This is a leap-of-faith on my part. I am curious to see if the text itself is really a generative process. In a good generative process each step builds on the previous steps by adding a change which enhances the overall picture that forms in my mind. For this to work, in a good generative process, the change that is introduced is minimal: it should induce a noticeable and coherent refinment of the image in my mind without conflicting with established parts of the image and without introducing distractions. References to unexplained future prinicples, I feel, are distractions that diminish the generative quality.

I suspect that these “future mentions” are offered with an intention of providing clarity. I also suspect that the commentaries are this way because they are a kind of historical recording of real-life teaching settings in which a teacher guided students through the text. Such references have a different quality in a living student-teacher-teaching relationship. The resonance of that experience does not translate well in the “transcription” of these settings.

As a case in point of this distractive quality: I initially viewed verse 3 as a kind of overview of the 25 principles of Samkhya. In fact, that was the title I’d given it before I decided to explicitly change titles into questions. One reason for this was the commentaries references to future principles. The examples drew me in to the specific of the map and distracted me from seeing the map as a whole. Once I Set aside the “future examples” I was left with a clearer and more focused understanding of verse3: it IS a map of the principles of Samkhya but, more importantly, that map is placed on a “causality-matrix”:

I believe this casuality-matrix is the real centerpiece of this verse. The specifics of what is in each location on the matrix can distract from the vitality of the matrix itself. I felt I had a decent grasp of causality until I was able to set aside my preconceptions and take in the implications of this seemingly simple matrix which shines a bright light on the elephant in the room: that which is neither caused nor causes?

Verse2: First-person, What-if

A couple of months ago , during a conversation with my parents, I shared with them the Samkhya painting journey I was on and the paintings I’d already completed. My father expressed an interest in seeing the images alongside the summaries I was working on. Sure enough, a few days after I published verse1 he reached out to me and had questions. And it wasn’t just him, my mother was with him listening in and engaging to a 90 minute converation about verse 1 of the Sāṃkhya Kārikā … what has the world come to?

My father tends to present questions as challenges. Being my father’s son, I am sensitized to this mindset. It was applied to me and I have applied it myself. If I am not attentive, it can still dominate and activate me. This tendency, I believe, speaks to an excessive sense of conviction. It is an echo of a mindset of “I think I know (and want to prove this wrong)” rather than “this challenges my understanding, but I sense there may be something to it and want to inquire further.” May father was in the latter but spoke from the former. This is a costly modality since it incurs an “excavation fee” to get through the rubble-of-resistance and expose the question that wants to be asked.

There is also something about Samkhya itself that can trigger this mindset. Samkhya is, after all, a rigorous inquiry into “What is”, and who doesn’t already have a strong (certainly unconscious, maybe conscious) sense of “What Is”? If you are vested in your understanding of “what is” Samkhya can feel challenging.

I am finding that the Samkhya challenge can be a double-edged sword. One edge cuts me when I use rigorous thinking to understand a Samkhya concept (that may conflict with an established belief). The other edge cuts me when the rigorous thinking of Samkhya demonstrates that my thinking may not be as rigorous as I thought it was.

The latter is happening to me right now. I have just started approaching the painting for verse 17. I started by re-reading my generative summary. I remembered having difficulty following some of the logic when I studied the verse but I thought I’d figured it out. Now, reading it again, something didn’t feel right.

Side note: I hope you stick around until verse 17 because it has the most demanding logical sequence I’ve encountered in the text (so far!) and it has led to a surprising painting process. But that is to be expected when you try to rigorously define Spirit 🙂

I have been applying a couple of tactics to help me deal with this ongoing “challenge” mindset. The first is writing in the first-person. I want to make it personal. I want to keep the exploration grounded in my direct lived experience and to avoid, if possible, hypotheticals. If you are following along, you, as a reader of my first-person summaries, can also read it, if you wish, in first-person and place yourself in it. If, however, you feel uncomfortable doing that, or experience objection to what is expressed, you can step out and remember that this is my attempt to make sense of the text and that you may want to explore a different approach.

The other tactic is to treat the entire exploration as a big What If? This can apply to a single verse, to a group of verses (where an idea is built up), and to the entire text. It applies both when I think I understand, and when I feel confused. In both cases, I say to myself “let’s see where this is going.” This stretches my relationship with the text and with understanding over a longer period of time. Verses overlap and inform each other. Earlier verses sow seeds that later verses, nourish, enhance, and refine. Later verses mature into flowers that give sense to the seeds that were planted in earlier verses. Understanding becomes less sharp and more of a fuzzy, living experience.

It is OK to hold understanding as tentative. Acknowledging this, now, here, in writing these words, makes me think that that is, in and of itself, a good practice.

Which brings us to verse 2: what if inquiry can have a meaningful impact on my experience of suffering?

Verse 1: An Old Beginning

I have chosen to begin sharing this inquiry into Samkhya on this equinox day of spring 2021. I don’t remember exactly when I settled into it, either late November or early December (2020). However, as you can read in the introduction, this is really an inquiry that begun over a decade ago but never really took off … until now. I think that somewhere around verse 11 I started to feel that I was settling comfortably into the text and the process I’ve been following.

Now, as I am about to begin sharing this inquiry publicly, I am wondering about all the human beings who, over centuries, have sat down with their teachers and encountered the opening word: suffering!