Last month the 200 hour teacher trainees were assigned to study sutras I.33-I.37. Janan Scott wrote this poem in response to the instruction to persistently focus on 1.34 (pausing after the breath flows in and out) and 1.35 (steadily observing sensations as they arise from moment to moment).
Lid against lid, lashes meet
like soft teeth sliding into place.
I trace along the dotted line,
unzipping myself from the crown of my head
to the backs of my heels, until my skin falls away, inside out.
And now unencumbered by this outer shell
I am opening to the delight and curve of each comma,
wandering through what is delicious and unapprehendable,
upswing, spiral, space, the places of betweenness and pause.
1.33 maitri-karuna-muditopeksanam sukha-duhkha-punyapunya-visayanam bhavantas citta-prasadanam By cultivating an attitude of friendship toward those who are happy, compassion toward those in distress; joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are non-virtuous, lucidity arises in the mind.
1.34 pracchardana-vidharanabhyam va pranasya Or [stability of mind is gained] by exhaling and retaining the breath.
1.35 visayavati va pravrttir utpanna manasah sthiti-nibandhani Or else, focus on a sense object arises, and this causes steadiness of the mind.
1.36 visoka va jyotismati Or [streadiness of mind is gained when] the mind is pain free and luminous..
1.37 vita-raga-visayam va cittam Or [the mind becomes steady when it has] one who is free from desire as its object. One can meditate on the pure-minded yogi