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Even Mick Jagger knows about vairagyam.

You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need. The Rolling Stones

Often in life we have an opinion about how we want a situation to go, and we spend many hours plotting how we can control our present to make the perfect version of our future unfold. Of course, ultimately we don’t have control over much in our lives, and for all our plotting and planning, sometimes there is the wildcard that, when drawn, keep us based in the reality that there are forces greater than ourselves at play in the universe.

Since I got the drain inserted under the wound on Friday, I have learned that there may be a further complication; it could be that in the original surgery my bile duct was not grafted to the new liver’s duct to a sealed closure. What this means is when they took my liver out, they made a cut somewhere far down on my common duct, took large piece of t

he healthier liver’s duct and stitched them together. Because of the seeping wound, they are thinking that between the two ducts the graft may have not fully healed and is leaking, causing seepage at the wound site. An ERCP has been scheduled for tomorrow morning where they will look into the body to see if the ducts are leaking. They will also insert a stent into the common duct. If the drain that is currently placed into the wound stops draining as a result of the stent, then I will consider myself very very lucky; this means I won’t have to go back into surgery to have the leak corrected having resolved itself with the stent. If, on the other hand, the drain continues to extract more fluid, even with the stent in, I will have to go back into surgery for another large operation. In either case, I have no control over the situation, and trust the doctors wholly. We have to wait and see how the ERCP goes, and from there it will be clear to the doctors who will make their informed decision and explain it to me.

In the yoga sutras, there are two principles that correspond together to help to control the mind while enabling detachment from the mind’s fixations. The idea of practice (in sanskrit, abhyasa) and non-attachment (viaragya) keep the mind disciplined and the path to enlightenment free of attachments.

Practice leads us down a road that we learn to stay on through its repeated, continual nature, and non-attachment enables us to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked into the pains and pleasures of daily life and all the obstacles to the practice.

Abhyasa means cultivating a positive lifestyle through our thoughts, actions, words and spiritual practice, and being persistent about it. In this way, the practice becomes well established; consistency over a long period of time without a break is crucial to train the mind. From this long term, repeated practice, a deeper sense of who we are unfolds, which increasingly provides a direct experience of who we really are, without the attachments, without fear.

Vairagya is the practice of gradually letting go of the mental colors (the positive and negative colors of thoughts) that lead one away from the spiritual, colorless thoughts. Vairagya, or non-attachment, is the essential companion to Abhyasa, learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding our true nature.

Yoga Sutra 1.12 Says: Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah It translates to : The fluctuations of the mind are ceased through practice and non-attachment.

I love this sutra. One of my teachers describes the indian musical genre of a raga as being like the mind – up and down like a rollercoaster. Consider how listening to music with many ups and downs in tempo and melody makes the listener feel. The opposite of raga is vairagyam, like a quiet stream of one note, no up and down, just sameness, just a still mind and a joy-filled soul. This is how it is to be in the colorless practice of vairagyam.

I am actively practicing detachment as there is nothing worrying me in the present tense; everything is as it should be and everything will be taken care of. Tomorrow things will become clearer, so I will rest back, and let the course of action reveal itself in due time. Svaha!

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