We all want to be happy, but happiness feels locked away. We try all these different keys to open the lock, but it feels like we can't find the right fit. When we can't get the lock to open, we suffer, wondering why nothing is working, why the world is treating us this way, why, why why. Yoga offers us four keys to four different locks in life. These are described in the Yoga Sutras, yoga's founding text. Some scholars say that if you can't follow anything else in yoga, follow this! All four of the keys have to do with keeping serenity in our minds while dealing with other people. Read on to unlock the mystery of happiness!
Dealing with Other People
the four locks
Literally, how do we deal with other people??? It's such a good question. We encounter tons of people in a day and each person is different. People can be lovely, annoying, successful, sweet, funny, mean, hardworking....the list goes on. The Yoga Sutras simplifies people into four broad categories:
These are the four locks. How we deal with these people is the key. The lock is the person, the key is our approach to the person. Keeping in mind that the goal is our peace of mind, what follows are the keys you can use when dealing with others (for your own happiness).
The Friendliness Key
toward the happy
When we encounter someone that is happy, we should be friendly. We should do everything we can to keep that person in our life, because these are the type of people we want to be around. Happy doesn't have to mean that they're always smiling. Happy is whatever you determine it to be. But the Sutras are clear that we should seek out these types of people because they will elevate our lives. The Sutras also speak of avoiding jealously and anger from someone having something we don't. When someone has something, be happy for them. Be friendly towards them. This can take alot of work, and that's where the rest of yoga comes in. Use your yoga to cultivate this within yourself. Be patient as you go (always).
The Compassion Key
for the unhappy
Instead of getting mad at someone who is unhappy or mean-spirited, we should feel compassion for them. We should try to give as much as we can to them, without sacrificing our own peace. Remember that each person has been through a lifetime of experiences that, in many cases, we are not privy to. Send them love and hope for healing. This compassion will reverberate back to us, and we'll feel better.
The Delighted Key
for the virtuous
When people experience happiness in their lives, delight in their joy. Instead of leaning into comparison, be happy for them. This has become difficult in the age of social media. We see everyone's lives and are constantly comparing our journeys. This is why dealing with people that are happy and successful is a lock. A lock is hard to open, hard to achieve. But, once we find that key, we'll feel better about it. And the Sutras tell us that the key is being a cheerleader for those people that are happy and doing good in this world.
The Disregard Key
for the wicked
There are some people who are not only unhappy, but are willing to go further to hurt others because of their unhappiness. These are the people to disregard; the people whom we should let go. Does this mean cutting all these people totally out of your life? I don't believe so. I believe it to mean - let go of that heaviness for the wicked things they do. Don't try to fix them, let them be. If possible, don't invite them into your company. If that's not possible, release the attachment. Disregard what they do, for if we don't, it will pull our own serenity down.
This month at JFY, we're working on these four locks and keys to find happiness. I'm excited for yet another month of strengthening our minds and bodies together! Let's go!
Founder Journey Forward Yoga