Reflections on Patanjali Sutras: The 5 fluctuations

“The five types of fluctuations are; (Knowledge, misconception, conceptualization, sleep & memory). The control of these fluctuations is achieved through yogic practice and dispassion.”

Sometimes we feel like we’re living in fog. Smoke screens form mental obstacles, which can block out our light and shield us from self-realization and the ability to comfortably meditate.

These obstacles interfere with our authentic and genuine self and flood our minds with self-doubt, insecurities and distractions.

Knowledge, or lack of knowledge can create ignorance; misconceptions weave fantasy stories, a wild imagination, although playful takes us away from what is real and tangible.   When we’re sleeping we have actually lost the ability to meditate, as we’re no longer conscious, and it’s our memories that have the sneaky ability to float into the future creating unwanted constraints, even though they are from the past.

What Patanjali is saying here is; we have the ability to control these ‘fluctuations’ by losing our attachment to them. That may be easier said than done, especially when we fear the unknown, or become caught up in our ego. When we quietly observe them (the fluctuations) without judgement or opinion we can practice, with self-discipline and commitment (to the path), we can let them go as quickly as they come to experience a deeper state of concentration or meditation.

I have been learning about the colouring concept and I resonate with this. When we become witness to these five types of thoughts, the colouring fades and the veil over the truth gradually thins so we can experience our true self.