Week 7: The 5 Types Of Mental Distortions According To Patanjali (Sutras 6-11)

The aim of our Yoga practice is to, after paying attention to and gaining mastery over our thoughts through discernment and understanding, “whether…[we find that our thoughts are] valid or invalid…ultimately…set aside [these mental modifications/distortions/vrittis in order]…to find [true] peace [beyond these thoughts (which is different from the peace that comes from Sutra 5)].

But before we push out all thoughts[, our next Sutras remind us that], we [must] try to analyze…[our thoughts] and eliminate one set after another…[since] [w]e can’t just throw everything into one garbage pail [or out all at once].”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sutra (Threads) or Lessons 6-11: Pramana Viparyaya Vikalpa Nidra Smrtayah [Sutra 6]

Pramana: correct or right knowledge | Viparyaya: misconception, incorrect knowledge | Vikalpa: verbal delusion, imagination | Nidra: sleep | Smrtayah: memory (grouping all 5)


Some thoughts are nice, some are terrifying, others are truthful, beautiful, sweet (and a number of other descriptions), many are incorrect, but, no matter what form they show up in, all thoughts are still considered to be one of the things/distortions that get in the way of seeing and understanding our true self, and they must, therefore, be removed from our minds at some point in order to attain true enlightenment or self-realization.

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