विशोका वा ज्योतिष्मती॥३६॥
visoka va jyotismati
Or (va) we can visualize and connect with a radiant light (jyotismati) within us, which is a place of serenity and one that knows no pain (visoka).
PRACTICAL LIVING In this sutra Patanjali reminds us of the philosophy that Yoga is based on: Samkhya (see History). Samkhya states that every living being is composed of two parts: one which is always changing (body, thoughts, emotions), and one which is unchanging (jyoti – this inner light which knows no suffering). It is said that this light resides in the center of our chest. Ancient texts mention that in the body there is a heart, which is the home to a lotus, which has a light sourced by inner peace.
The visualization of this light may be beneficial for some people, bringing them to a calmer mental state. When combined with breath awareness, this could be a powerful meditation, taking us from a state of agitation or distraction to one of clarity and joy. Below are some ideas to put this sutra into practice:
- Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the head, neck and spine in a straight line. Bring awareness to the breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly through the nose. With each inhale, visualize a light in the center of your chest (choose a color that brings you calmness) getting brighter. With each exhale, visualize yourself spreading that bright light all around your body.
- If you enjoy chanting, you can use one of the following ideas to either mentally chant or verbally express as you exhale: “jyoti”, “I am light”, “visoka va jyotismati”. Inhale and feel yourself filling up with peace, exhale and chant either out loud or mentally to yourself.
- Another meditation technique involving the concept of light is called trataka. This involves placing a candle flame a few inches in front of you. Focus on the flame for 5-10 minutes, keeping your gaze on the flame without distraction. Then close the eyes and concentrate on the image of the flame that remained in the mind.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Different traditions and texts describe this place of inner peace in various parts of the body such as in between the eyebrows and on the crown of the head. The precise location is not important. Each individual will find a place that they connect to, that feels “right” to them. Once found, this space can lead us to a place beyond fear, anxiety and worry. If this sounds like the right tool for you in this moment of your life, choose one of the above suggestions and begin a daily meditation practice. Begin with 5 minutes and increase the amount gradually.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON In Brazil we say that when a woman gives birth she “gives light”. Last week two of the most wonderful human beings I know “gave light” to Santiago. I could only think about this wonderful little being for this sutra. A newborn brings light into the world. Santiago saw sunlight for the first time when he was born. He brought light into his parent’s life like no other human being could. For a parent, the object of meditation becomes this child, this light, this miracle of life. I can’t wait to meet you little Santiago! You have already brightened the world so much by simply being born 🙂
Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!
Thanks and next week we will look at how detachment and looking for another person’s experience can help us on our paths.