Yoga philosophy has been around for more than 2,500 years. The Yoga Sutra texts have been around in written form for at least 1,500 years. These texts describe the yogic path. They also provide helpful wisdom in understanding the nature of human beings. The Sutras describe four kinds of people along with how we should approach with them. While this advice isn’t absolute – it is an interesting point of departure and something to think about.
Yoga Sutra 1.33 lists four basic character dispositions of people: those who are happy, sad, virtuous or wicked.
- Approach those who are happy with friendliness.
- Approach those who are sad with compassion.
- Seek out those who are virtuous.
- Avoid those who are wicked.
Certainly people are more complex than this and people change all the time. Still, at its core, I think this is very wise advice. Particularly because it describes “approaching” people which by definition requires we assess, re-assess and possibly change our approach each time we encounter someone.
Regarding those we “seek out” – because we are persons in relationship with others, those very relationships help form who we become as human persons. In the end, who do you want to spend your time with?