- by Swami Yogatirthananda Saraswati (Switzerland), From YogaMag May 2002
After equanimity, which turned out to be an essential survival ITY, fixity meant giving equanimity a direction, and this direction is sankalpa.
I saw 'Child of the Himalaya' at the cinema. It is a wonderful example of fixity, where fixity is essential for survival. For if the village and the leader of the village are not 100% determined to get food for the winter, the village will not survive. I admired the intensity, and thought that fixity should be lived with that attitude of life and death, the goal set must be reached with that kind of intensity.
Is physical illness a distraction or a possibility to step out of everyday life and fix the mind on the goal? I realize that there are many ways the goal can be kept alive – action and working towards the goal is only one way.
A walk in the beautiful autumn forest is an almost magical way of keeping the mind steady; surrounded by so much beauty, no mind would possibly want to wander away from it. Everyday interactions are not a hindrance to keeping the mind fixed; it is a matter of will and practice, of training the witness. There are days of total non-fixity, indulging in daydreaming, turning one thought over and over again, giving it various forms and expressions. There is almost a battle between this thought, with its underlying fear/desire, and fixity, with its underlying goal and faith in the sankalpa. Even though fixity is lost, the battle revealed different facets of the desire for recognition and success and the fear of rejection and failure.
Fixity is also a test of sincerity and veracity. Absolute honesty about what one wants – the SWAN theory is a great help here – and acting in utter sincerity all the time towards that aim.
Sometimes I wish I were Sita with her mind always fixed on Rama. Unwavering one-pointedness, unwavering faith under all circumstances is fixity. I have seen how difficult it is, and how all depends on faith: faith in guru and God, faith in the sankalpa, faith in (maybe) a short-term goal which is not in conflict with the sankalpa, faith in oneself and one's ability to reach the goal – with the help of guru and God. Sita represents and lives all these aspects of faith.
Besides sankalpa and faith, I am adding a third item, which is an important element to fixity, namely, patience. I needed patience on a day when almost everything went wrong or in a roundabout way. There was a lot of postponing, delaying, making new arrangements that could not have been imagined beforehand. Fixity implies also enormous flexibility and adaptability in order to juggle circumstances to suit the goal.
Clarity, courage, patience and faith are the main ingredients of fixity. Serenity is an attitude, a discipline; equanimity is the outward expression of it; regularity is the discipline of uniting a set structure with adaptability; fixity is the outward expression of this discipline towards one goal. At one moment in the practice of fixity, there is the need to let go, and to resume in all humility the principle of 'Thy will be done'.
One question keeps coming up: Why are some thoughts and desires so persistent, why is the mind fixed on them, why are there obsessions while on the other hand a consciously set goal is so difficult to keep? Is it the strength of some samskaras, is it the strength of desire, is it the weakness of the will at the moment of setting the goal? Maybe the only aim that can be attained with fixity is the aim to serve; maybe all other resolves and goals must be linked to the aim of service.
I am trying to balance action and non-action. It is getting hard to manage inner turmoil with the everyday activity. Arjuna is fixity in action, Sita is fixity in inaction; both know when to let go and surrender without losing the aim.
I had a yoga class with two drug addicts. One came completely stressed and out of breath and the other one twenty minutes late. At the end of yoga nidra, both said: “Why can't we be like that all the time?” While talking of the need for stress and tension, of the need to inhale and exhale, and of the need to manage both relaxation and tension, I was reminded again of fixity. What is needed is the knowledge of when to act and when to let go. Talking to the two young people, I saw how difficult it is. They are avoiding the challenge of changing from tension to relaxation by opting for one state only – through the help of drugs.
Incredible fatigue of fixity, I feel exhausted by this ITY. Is it possible with a conscious effort in fixity to solve mental patterns? Can fixity be a tool to deal with one's SWAN (strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs)?
I can see that patience and letting go are part of fixity, but they are not the same as resignation. Resignation has no faith and is therefore the total opposite of letting go. In order to have fixity, faith must be kept alive.
I am aware how fixity is the external expression of regularity, balancing a structure, a set frame with adaptability to unforeseen events and situations. It is more difficult as other people are concerned, while regularity was much more a personal discipline. Fixity in action with a well tuned mind and time management turns everyday life into a pleasant flowing stream, for oneself and the others involved.
In a way I am relieved that fixity is over. It was a difficult time, it showed me how unfixed my mind was, how much discipline I needed to stick to a set period and how much faith in myself, in guru, God, in life or destiny. The traps of distraction and prevarication are ever present and require a most vigilant mind and honesty.
There were five distinct periods: (i) an initial time of effort which was tiring, (ii) days which seemed to flow along with the sankalpa, fulfilling and enacting smoothly and effortlessly the goals set, (iii) a time of resignation, of giving up, (iv) a time of falling prey to distraction, and (v) a period when the initial motivation and one-pointedness had to be kept alive in order to live fixity.
Also the difference between the first six ITIES (serenity, regularity, absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity) and the second set of ITIES (equanimity, fixity, non-irritability, adaptability, humility, tenacity) is becoming very clear. There is even less chance of cheating, as the outside world and life throws the result back at me – mercilessly. The interaction with the outside world is no doubt an added challenge.
I feel that whatever sankalpa or set goal relates to the act of giving makes fixity much easier to practise. The greater context of giving is necessary in order to maintain fixity. Acting without expectation, giving without expectation, without wanting any results, has been the key to fixity.
Continue reading article here: ITIES 7–9: Equanimity, Fixity, Non-Irritability (yogamag.net)
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