The present moment is the only way for us to connect with existence. We are always out of tune with existence because we destroy the present moment through our past conditioning. Interpreting based on past conditioning leads to misconception and wrong understanding. Please understand, all of your fear, all of your greed, all of your worries – everything that you think as part of your identity – whatever you think as a disturbance in your life can be resolved with this one understanding.
Having compassion towards this moment allows us to be in the flow of existence. We always abuse the present moment with the past, with our previous conditioning. If you are open, fresh, and alive to the present moment, without any past conditioning or words, you can handle situations directly and respond to them in the most intelligent way.
This is what Patanjali, a great enlightened master from the Vedic tradition, refers to as “right knowledge”. According to Patanjali, there are three ways to gain right knowledge: “pratyaksha anumana agama pramanani”, which means, right knowledge is gained through perception by the senses, our cognition of the sensory information, and listening to the words of an enlightened master. Wrong knowledge comes through interpreting based on our past conditioning. Right now you are programmed. You are conditioned. You live based on conditioning and you take decisions based on your conditioning. You do everything based on programming. Our whole process of cognition is wrong because it is based on past conditioning. It does not allow us to be fresh, to be open, and to respond to situations as they actually are.
Just look at gossip as an example: When we gossip, when we pass causal judgments on a person based on our past conditioning, we reinforce the misconception we have created. We think our words are not powerful, but even the very simple words that we create, such as “he is bad, he is torturing me,” get imbibed and we start thinking that it is the truth. Words do not allow us to approach a person or a situation in a fresh way. This is the most dangerous part about gossip: we ourselves start to believe it and judge all of our future interactions with the person based on our wrong perception. I tell you, do not start rumors, even in a jovial way. You will be caught by your own rumors. This is how prejudices are created.
We can avoid wrong understanding through awareness and unclutching from our past conditioning. Whenever we approach a situation or a person, we can consciously avoid making judgments and putting our judgments into words. This allows a fresh energy to flow through us. We can be with the situation as it is, without analyzing it, judging it, or interpreting it. This will automatically lead to right cognition. The final level of right knowledge is gained through listening to the words of an enlightened master and applying those teachings to each situation we encounter.
Taken from Nithyananda’s Talk on Yoga Sutras on 24th March, 2009 in Montclair, California, USA