Their cessation is brought about by persistent
inner effort and non-attachment
Of these two, abhyasa, the inner practice,
is the effort to be firmly established in oneself.
It becomes firmly grounded when continued for a long
time, without interruption and with reverent devotion.
Man is not only his conscious mind. He has also nine times more than the conscious – the unconscious layer of the mind. Not only that, man has the body, the soma, in which this mind exists. The body is absolutely unconscious. Its working is almost non-voluntary. Only the surface of the body is voluntary; the inner sources are non-voluntary, you cannot do anything about them, your will is not effective.
This pattern of man’s existence has to be understood before one can enter into oneself. And the understanding should not remain only intellectual. It must go deeper, it must penetrate the unconscious layers; it must reach to the very body itself.
Hence, the importance of abhyasa, constant inner practice. These two words are very significant: abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa means constant inner practice, and vairagya means non-attachment, desirelessness. The coming sutras of Patanjali are concerned with these two most significant concepts, but before we enter the sutras it has to be firmly grasped that this, the pattern of human personality, is not totally intellectual.
If it was only intellect then there would be no need for abhyasa – constant, repetitive effort. You can understand anything immediately if it is rational, through the mind, but just that understanding won’t do. You can understand easily that anger is bad, poisonous, but this understanding is not enough for the anger to leave you, to disappear. In spite of your understanding the anger will continue, because the anger exists in many layers of your unconscious mind – not only in the mind, but in your body also.
The body cannot understand just by verbal communication. Only your head can understand, but the body remains unaffected. And unless understanding reaches to the very roots of the body you cannot be transformed. You will remain the same. Your ideas may go on changing but your personality will persist. And then a new conflict will arise and you will be in more turmoil than ever, because now you can see what is wrong and still you persist in doing it, you go on doing it. A self-guilt and condemnation is created. You start hating yourself, you start thinking yourself a sinner. And the more you understand, the more condemnation grows, because you see how it is difficult, almost impossible, to change yourself.