Sutras 1.12 - 1.14: Starting Your Sadhana

1.12. These thought-streams are controlled by practice and non-attachment.
1.13. Practice is the effort to secure steadiness.
1.14. This practice becomes well-grounded when continued with reverent devotion and without     interruption over a long period of time.

One thing we often look for in life is the "Easy Way" to do things.  Some of us like a challenge and will charge into any task.  Effort is all over the spectrum, but so is enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm for our practice is what gives us the positive motivation to go down the path and continue.

Any sort of devoted Yogic practice is called sadhana.  It is meant to be unique to each individual.  All of us are born into this world with many lifetimes of accumulated karma that we have to address sooner or later, so why not start now?  Sutra 1.12 is straight forward when it states that the thought streams are controlled by practice.  What about non-attachment?  That is the ultimate goal OF practice.  It's an odd dichotomy, practicing at letting go.

What do you think non-attachment is?  We hear about it a lot in eastern philosophy.  Let's go back to my last post of what the nature of thought is: the amount of attachment you have to anything is directly correlated to the impact it has on your life.   There is a difference between detachment and abstaining.  When one abstains from an activity and still suffers, they are attached.  I could quit drinking coffee today, but I would have one hell of a headache, therefore, just by abstaining from this activity does not make me detached.  I did quit smoking cigarettes about 10 years ago.  I am not bothered by them one way or another.  That is detachment.  The truly non-attached can preform their duties in the world without any thought to their consequences.   Non-attachment is also not indifference.  There are three types of fundamental actions in the universe, but I will get into those in the next set of Sutras.

Sutra 1.13 flows like a river throughout sadhana.  In some way the yogi is trying to secure balance in all things.  The hatha yogi tries to hold a position effortlessly.  While chanting mantra, bakti yogis try to perfect the meter and pronunciation while getting lost in devotion.  In this stage of practice, you are trying for the sake of trying.  Getting in to the habit of practicing in the first place is a huge step.

Ninety to one hundred days is generally where people tend to lose interest in practice.  This is what separates the sincere seeker from the dabbler.  Sutra 1.14 makes this clear.