#yogasutrachallenge: ‘The Seer’ is really only the ability to see, which, although pure, witnesses only the images in the mind - Patanjali Book II Sutra 20

This sutra is an interesting reflection of the nature of the relationship between the soul (traditionally referred to as ‘The Seer’, and the intelligent mind. The yogic view is that they are completely distinct: the soul is self-contained pure consciousness, and has only the intelligent mind as its object of awareness. The mind acts as a filter of the world for the soul: its awareness extends across all our experiences in the physical world – ‘the Seen’.

This view exposes two interesting traps we can easily fall into. One: often we mistakenly associate what our intelligent mind is saying we should feel or do, rather than what the soul wants. The voice of the soul is much harder to hear, and our culture is so driven by logic and analysis that gut instincts are often purposefully ignored or seen as something to be ‘overcome’.

Secondly, as the soul can only perceive the world through the filter of the mind, it’s important to keep that filter ‘clean’. The more we can let go of mental baggage, like tendencies to jump to conclusions, to only see things from one perspective, to judge harshly, to fear or worry and so on, the better the signal we offer to the soul to guide us on our path. It’s a two way street!