8 Limbs – 7 Dhyana – Meditation
In this mediation practice we will be seated in Virasana, so please use a brick or prop to sit with Sthira/Stablitiy and Sukham/Comfort. We will be preforming Bhramari Pranayama, Kapalabhati Kriya, Bahya Kumbhaka, Maha Mudra and Bandha which will evolve into point to point breathing with HUM SA Kriya. The preamble will give you more meaning and purpose to the mediation practice and the practice maps out the ability to guide the mind into a deeper state of meditation, Dhyana.
Dhyana, meditation is the 7th limb of the 8 Limb Path of the Yoga Sutras. Meditation is a tool, to use the mind to go beyond the mind. It is the clarity of mind to abide in the timelessness of now, present in the here and now. An uninterrupted flow of consciousness toward that object. The goal of practice according to the Yoga Sutras is 1.2 Citta Vritti Nirodha, stilling the roaming tendencies of the mind. The point is to focus on a point.
As we did in our last session focusing on 6th Limb, Dharana, one-pointed awareness on an object to training the mind puppy to sit and stay. Watching how the mind puppy chases its tail, chews on a bone or naps avoiding practice. Our hand command to get the mind puppy to sit and stay, roll over and lie down was the point to focus on becoming more absorbed in the moment. A recap of the ‘hand instructions’ for the mind puppy are,
- 1.34 Breath Awareness specifically the exhale and nature pause after exhale slowly preparing the mind to rest in stillness
- 1:35 Sensation either physical, energetic or mental
- 1:36 Light that is healing, inspiring and transformative that frees you from your suffering
- 1:37 focus on a virtuous person, diety or mantra to stabilise the mind
- 1:38 focus on the meaning of your dreams and the state of dreamless state of sleep Nidra
- 1:39 focus on anything that is useful and pleasing that stabilises the mind
The next phase of meditation, Dhyana is the attention subtly shifts away from the object and toward the flow of your own awareness. The to rest in pure perception, consciousness. The highest form of meditation stills the fluctuations of the attributes described as Rajas Guna the mind over stimulated, over active, obsessive like the puppy chasing its tail or Tamas Guna when the mind is sleepy, disassociated or depressed. The highest form of meditation stills these fluctuations and brings the mind into a state of absorption. In this absorption, the mind is Sattvic serene, clear and calm in which can recognise the difference between the Buddhi one’s inner knowing and Pure Self, True Nature Pakriti. This is Dharma Megha Dhyana – The Highest Wisdom.
This deepening of meditation evolves, resting one’s attention on the object of the Self. The Yogi attains the Self by merging into the flowing Light of Awareness that illumines their own nature as a Self…what lights the Self/Soul/True Nature/Prakriti, is Purusha – Pure Consciousness. Meditation is stepping into and merging with the flow of the Light of the Self that can be experienced as a pulsation called Spanda, a vibration called Prakasha and the I-AM-NESS called Vimarsha. This is said to be the physical essence of pure consciousness in manifested form.
However, you will come across obstacles along the path which cause negative thinking, emotional distress, instability felt in the body and disturbances in the the breath that mirror the mind (Yoga Sutra 1.31). These are:
9 Obstacles 1:30
- Dullness, inability to put one’s thought into action
- Apathy, Depression, Laziness, Heaviness
- Self-Doubt, Skepticism
- Carelessness, Negligence
- Lead and Controlled by Senses
- Lack of Concentration
YS 1.29 Suggest the solution is to turn inward, focus on one thing at a time YS 1.32 and cultivate loving awareness, friendliness, joy and compassion YS 1.33 in practice, so you can attain the state of Yoga! Yoga is a state beyond the mind. Words limit our understanding of this state as the mind creates language,concepts etc. however it is described as true liberation, freedom, wholeness, oneness, completeness, absorbed in the light of Pure Awareness. So we practice and practice the art of surrendering the mind stuff and rest in the timelessness of now.
- Viveka – Keen discernment
- Guided by Buddhi – Intuitive Knowing
- Abhyasa – Diligent focused practice
- Viaragya – Letting go to sensory observation
This practice is a back bending practice. We have been sequencing in this way to lead us to this practice so we are strong, stable and comfortable to skilfully practice resting the mind Dharana on breath, sensation, light and mantra to stabilise the mind (puppy). Remember Vinyasa Krama is a special or intelligent arrangement to progress in steps. We will start off with simpler forms of back bending and process in steps to do more challenging forms. This will hopefully give your mind time to do the same, to enter an uninterrupted flow of consciousness towards what the mind is paying attention to and open to that state of full absorption in the timelessness of NOW!