The final class in the eight limbs of yoga series will begin by releasing your shoulders and hips to prepare you for three seated meditations to bring you as close to an experience of samadhi (bliss) as possible.
Samadhi is a merging with your Divine Consciousness and True Self and so we will begin with a meditation to call on spirit, move through a meditation to connect with your beauty, bounty and bliss and finish with a meditation for your radiant body. Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita says describe samadhi as a profound state of meditation when your breathing becomes slow, steady and even (pranayama) and the windows of the senses close all outward senses (pratyahara). With samadhi your mind is quiet, free from its usual activity, emotions, desire, fear and anger. Eknath Easwaran says when all these sensory and emotional tides have ceased to flow, your spirit is free, mukta. Samadhi comes and goes, but generally one arrives at samadhi enters samadhi in a long period of meditation and after many years of practice.
Samadhi can be described as an equal and balanced way of thinking. Your mind is clear pure and untainted by judgments and you see things as they really are. This blissful stated is usually achieved through meditation.
Nischala Joy Devi describes samadhi as merging with Divine Consciousness. Can you think of a time in your life when you have had an experience of merging with Divine Consciousness? Maybe it has been sometime in nature? Maybe a sense of timelessness or union when expressing yourself creatively. Perhaps it was and experience of connection with another living being. It could have been a time of emptiness or connection during meditation or yoga practice.
The end of book one of the Yoga Sutras describes the progressive withdrawal of individual consciousness (chitta) into the ocean of Universal consciousness (chitt). Nischala Joy Devi translates chapter one verse 41 of the yoga sutras like this, “As a naturally pure crystal appears to take the color of everything around it yet remains unchanged, the yogi’s heart remains pure and unaffected by its surroundings while attaining a stated of oneness with all. This is Samadhi.”
With Samadhi, we remember our Divine Selves and see only the Divine Selves in others. The turning of our minds and emotions are temporary distractions, and the truth brings us back to our Self. Even though we temporarily take on other personalities and character traits, when we remember our True Self, we can come back to our pure and unchanging Divine nature.
Can you think back to a time this week when a circumstance has disrupted you from your center and you did not act from your True Nature? Now with loving kindness, notice how you did come back to your Divine Self, your True Self. This momentary change of character or personality was not the truth of who you are, but a temporary distraction that might have lasted minutes, hours, days or weeks, but an invitation for us to return to our center.
Through ahimsa, loving kindness, dharana (gentle awareness) and dhyana (continuous awareness) we can come back to our Divine Self. We can remember that this is a practice and do it again and again. Nischala Joy Devi tells us that when we steady our minds and our heart samadhi, bliss or infinite love, will become more frequent.
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