1.18 – virama pratyaya abhyasa purvah samskara shesha anyah
– Regular immersion in contemplation without mental fluctuation brings contemplation in which only mental permeation subsists.—translation Bernard Bouanchaud.
– The other kind of samadhi is asamprajnata samadhi, and has no object in which attention is absorbed, wherein only latent impressions remain; attainment of this state is preceded by the constant practice of allowing all of the gross and subtle fluctuations of mind to recede back into the field from which they arose. – translation by Swamij.
Well, I hope everyone finds themselves well-rested following the Christmas break and that Santa found you. He located me and brought me lots of goodies and lovely things but he did not bring me Samadhi. And what, pray tell is Samadhi?
I’m so glad that you asked. It is the thing we’re working towards – union. It’s the most concentrated level of meditation. It’s the state of complete control over the functions of consciousness. At this stage, the “I” dissolves into source. It is unchanging reality – not the ever changing aspects of matter (prakrati) but pure awareness, pure consciousness, Spirit, Purusha.
And trust me, everything I know about this subject comes from a book because I’ve never experienced Samadhi in any form or format. For the best part of this week, I’ve struggled (off and on) with writing this column. How can I get a hook on what I don’t understand or haven’t experienced? I waited, patiently I’d thought, for the column-writing fairies to descend and get the job done but they appear to be as slack and idle as the dishwashing fairies around these parts. Well, regardless of details, there’s a column to be writ and now would be the time to be writing it. Just get it done….
And there we are… right back at persevering practice.. abhyasa. These aphorisms don’t work in isolation. This is a systematic approach to the question of “How do I obtain liberation from suffering?” The answer is “You practice and there’s a whole truckload of techniques you can practice, but you practice.”
And then you practice some more. Not because you have a goal. Not because you want to be an extra two units of “cool” factor ahead of the rest of your class. You practice because that’\s what yogis do. They practice yoga – on the mat, in traffic, in the supermarket, when talking to their therapists, their bankers and their mother-in-laws. They practice being present in the moment (that would be the putting in the work part) and they let go of the results.
And what do we get for all that practice? We get peace. We get greater mental and emotional stability. We cultivate a sense of equanimity. Our behaviours become more “God-like”, because are in greater communication with the God-spark that lives within each of us. We’re more like to see the God spark in the people around us and I’m not talking about just the great leaders, the gurus, the teachers with 1.2 million followers on their Twitter accounts. We see the God-spark in the tiredness of the cashier at the supermarket. We see it in the frustration of the young mother trying to balance two kids, a stroller and a door that won’t open easily. We see it in the grandmother playing with her energetic toddlers in the park. We see it in the face of the cop writing us a traffic ticket.
And as we practice, more and more of our mental disturbances slide away, discarded because they no longer serve any purpose to us. Our mental concentration improves. The big details slide into the background, and then the smaller ones, some more, some more, some more, until there is no separation left between “me” and the “other”. I am one with Divine Source. There is no “me’ left. My personality is now at the service of Source. There are no more fluctuations of the mind. It’s clear, without ripples or hindrances.
And even if we can’t imagine it fully, this is the promise of Yoga. Practice and let go. Practice and let go. And you too will experience the wonders of Grace.
That’s all for now.Thanks for reading and Namaste,