Continuing with Patanjali and the spiritual journey:
What are vrittis?
A vritti is a modification of mind. Our own mind. We have many vrittis, they swirl around and around in our mind as thoughts, like a poor wee mouse stuck on a circular treadmill, unable to get off it.
they are thoughts and perceptions according to how our inner being translates them
Some of these vrrittis can cause us great torment, as a vritti is either painful, or not painful. (which is not actually rocket science)
And we all have and do this: again, this is part of the human experience in a lifetime. To do with destiny and the path which we must traverse in a particular incarnations. We are to undergo certain experiences pertinent to a lifetime, and these experiences, including those experiences of our ancestors, impact how we perceive everything. This is just the way it is. Some of our modifications are lovely, like happy times. And some, for many of us, are quite horrible.
There are five vrrittis, or modifications of mind, either painful or not painful:
right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep, and memory are the vrittis
And why do vrittis actually matter?
They matter in that they:
- keep us chained to whatever is happening
- and the effects of what is happening
- we get 'stuck' on the never ending cycles of action and reaction, or, more often, reaction leading to another reaction, when a vritti is painful. Sometimes this 'painful' is actually only us taking things personally, and again, this is a human trait which we all have
- they keep us feeling bad about ourselves when we get caught up in the painful vrittis, with accompanying angst
Rather than trying to psycho analyse the whole vritti thing, I would recommend that we just accept them. We accept that it is part of everyone's make-up, and we can do things about all of this, for ourselves and for our loved ones. It takes a bit of time, but we can all help ourselves out a lot here.
Unfortunately, a lot of effort has gone into yoga aspirants trying to sort out the whole vritti thing. I did too. And, even more unfortunately, this creates problems which are great obstacles in one's life:
- it keeps us stuck in the whole action/reaction scenario, because, unwittingly, we are 'feeding' it, by always trying to psycho-analyse
- it keeps one in the less positive aspects of ego. Honestly, it does. Always obsessing about things and oneself is not a good expression of ego.
- it totally stops and blocks spiritual advancement. Even more importantly, it wastes our life if we are always psycho-analysing, and halts us living a good life.
The other elements which contribute to vrittis, are liking and disliking. Which, again, we all do. Can we achieve a state of being whereby we are not controlled by the five vrittis, which are painful or not painful, nor by liking and disliking? I do think that we can, and, even if they are only decreased by a small amount, we can experience:
- great inner peace
- acceptance in many areas of life
- and a sublime happiness
This is why vrittis matter.