Samadhi - The 8th Limb of Yoga
The subtleties of the 8th limb of yoga can only be understood when we begin to train the mind to focus through our meditation.
According to 'The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali,' there is a gradation of Samadhi (translated as equanimity). The subtleties of this final limb of yoga can only be understood when we begin to train the mind to focus through our meditation. Dharana (one-pointed concentration) leads to Dhyana (continuous flow of meditation) which ultimately leads to Samadhi, the superconscious state where we gain the power to transcend the mind. When we surrender and allow ourselves to let go of control over the mind, then the truth can be revealed.
These last 3 limbs of yoga all work together. For instance, when we begin to meditate on an object, over time the meditation begins to deepen and flow without the mind interjecting thoughts about the object. Then, we start to lose separation between us and this particular object. Pantajali uses the example of putting a red flower near a crystal: "the crystal appears to be red like the flower. It becomes one with that; it accepts that. Likewise, the mind accepts the idea of your meditation and takes that form." -Book I, Sutra 41. Samadhi is ultimately a state of being, not a practice itself. The practice is Dharana & Dhyana and that consistent meditation and purification of the mind. When it becomes effortless, Samadhi can occur. If thoughts still arise in the mind, these thoughts (referred to as seeds) still sprout ideas and pull us away from the final state of Samadhi.
In today's modern world, it's easy to get distracted and think that Samadhi is this unattainable place, so why even try? But Samadhi isn't just about becoming a statue through meditation. To me, Samadhi is a journey; a journey towards our higher consciousness; a journey towards finding something greater than ourselves, finding the connection with the Divine and the universe. When we lose separateness through meditation, then we can start to feel a deep connection to each other. When we don't have to think about being mindful and we just are. When we see each other as pure love. When we live our yoga. That is enlightenment. That is Samadhi. I urge you to make your practice consistent. Practice asana to purify the body and practice meditation to free the mind. Over time, it'll get easier and your path will become clear. Samadhi is right there waiting for you.
Meditation technique: Focus your awareness on an object. It could be a symbol like 'Om' or a yantra from one of the chakras or even a candle flame. Try to absorb this image in the mind and when thoughts start to distract you, come back to this image and come back to the breath. Use the same image for a month and practice anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes everyday. Maybe magic will happen.
Learn more about Samadhi at BambooMoves Baltimore.
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