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Yoga SUTRAS | The Four Keys to Happiness

Updated: May 29, 2020

Are you passionate about having a calm, serene, and peaceful mind? If so, this sutras is for you!



When you encounter a happy person, use the friendliness key.


When you encounter someone sad or unhappy, use the compassion key.


When you encounter someone successful or lucky, you’re going to use the joy key.


When you encounter a wicked person or a hater, use the equanimity key.

The Expanded Meaning of “The Four Keys to Happiness”

Purpose: “In order to preserve an elevated state of mind, be happy for those who are happy, cultivate compassion for those who are sad, feel joy for those deemed to be lucky, and experience equanimity toward those perceived to be wicked.”

In this world where there’s so much stress and negativity, I think everyone is thirsty to just be calm and happy. Would you like to not just be happy but to also sustain your happiness and your well-being? This is totally possible by understanding the “4 keys to Happiness” (which really have to do with how you relate to others).

There’s a saying in yoga, “if you really want to know if your yoga practice is working, take a look at your relationships. If the relationships are becoming healthier, more positive, then their practice is working and that’s a really good sign”.

So much of life revolves around relationships: how you relate to family, friends, co-workers, loved ones, strangers, and with people you connect with on the internet and through social media. If you can master these relationships, you can master your mind state.

Remember: You’ll never be able to control others around you, but you can always control how you respond to others.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali states, “In order to preserve an elevated state of mind, be happy for those who are happy, cultivate compassion for those who are sad, feel joy for those deemed to be lucky, and experience equanimity toward those perceived to be wicked.”

In order to sustain your happiness, in order to keep you in an elevated state of mind, you need 4 keys (or 4 locks):

1 = friendliness

2 = compassion

3 = joy

4 = equanimity

Friendliness, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the only 4 keys/locks in the world - just 4. By having these four keys, you’ll always be empowered to open any lock that you encounter.

#1 KEY says, “when you encounter a happy person, use the friendliness key.”

You’re going to notice when someone in your life is happy– and you might even notice that sometimes it might bring up the opposite reaction within you. You might be down that day, and you see somebody being happy and you just go into a negative reaction or you have a judgment or whatever it is, and the important thing is that whatever that negative response is to somebody else being happy, that you are aware this comes from what’s called your pain body or your ego or what we sometimes call the small self. The self that just thinks about you. If you’re not feeling good and somebody else is, then you’re jealous. Have a sense of humor with your pain body. You want to develop this relationship with it where you see it, you recognize it, and then it will have less and less of a grip on you.

#2 KEY says, “when you encounter someone sad or unhappy, use the compassion key”.

Being compassionate, requires an open and courageous heart. It takes courage, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage to be attuned to the great sufferings of the world. We see racism, we see innocent refugees that are displaced because of war and environmental destruction. And when one group suffers, we all suffer; and we we all belong to each other.

The beautiful thing is that research shows that when we’re compassionate and give, when we’re generous (with our presence, attention, knowledge, money, etc.) that we also equally receive.

#3 KEY says, “when you encounter someone successful or lucky, you’re going to use the joy key”.

If we’re honest, we can really fall short on this third key, and we’ve probably been both the perpetrator and victim. Examples of this are: a friend gets into a great relationship or a friend t

moves away, a co-worker receives a good promotion, a student surpasses their teacher’s knowledge or level of notoriety, or somebody else gets more followers on social media - basically someone else is successful. What is your response to these life situations or what do you do? We often see them as lucky which can stir up a strong reaction within us.

When you compare ourselves to others, whether you feel inferior or superior, you create tremendous suffering. This is the opposite of sustaining that elevated mood, the elevated mind of just being happy. You feel this because you feel disconnected - disconnected from abundance consciousness. You get jealous because you think there’s not enough, or the other person gets that other thing, or the other person is taking something from you. This is the opposite of abundance.

We can choose another way of moving through life by focusing on abundance. When you focus on abundance it grows and it also grows gratitude and joy. These benevolent qualities get reinforced and becomes the pattern. You wire this into your personality, which creates happiness or an elevated mind. You also become this magnetic personality of happiness and abundance, and then you’ll attract more and more of that to you into your life.

#4 KEY (last key) says, “when you encounter a wicked person or a hater, use the equanimity key”. This might be the most difficult of them all.

If you can, it’s best to avoid these energy vampires – people that suck onto you and leech your good energy.

Usually the bigger your pain body is, the more unresolved trauma that you carry with you, the more likely that you are to encounter these difficult types of people.

A big ego equals big problems, and no ego equals no problems. So the bigger one’s ego is, the bigger their pain body is, then they’re going see that playing itself out in this world of form through experiences, people, and relationships. However, the more pure your energy is, usually the less conflicts and issues that you have. This is why practice is so important. Practice of resolving traumas and old stories, and moving through those demons, and liberating those.

The next time somebody says something hurtful to you; ask yourself, is it true? If it’s not true just let it go. And of course, no happy stable person is going around the world trying to hurt other people. Only hurt people try and hurt other people. Have that wisdom and that clear understanding; it’s not about you - it’s about them.

It’s okay to receive fair criticism; you can take that in when it comes from a good place, from a place of love. But when it comes from hate, toxicity, negativity, then it’s not yours to take; it belongs to them - so let them keep it. And therefore, you will maintain a calm, happy, elevated state of mind.

Next Step

Now that you know the four keys, the next step is to put them into action - put them into practice.

Bring friendliness when you see happy people. See somebody happy, whoever it is, feel happiness for them.

When you see somebody suffering, feel compassion for them.

If somebody’s successful, even if it’s somebody that gets something that you want, feel joy for them. Be in that abundance consciousness.

Lastly, when you encounter somebody wicked, mean or nasty, keep your mind steady and as soon as you can, get away from that person and remember that whatever they say, whatever they do, it’s not about you.

When you use these four keys with those four locks, you will maintain that elevated state of mind.


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