क्षीणवृत्तेरभिजातस्येव मणेर्ग्रहीतृग्रहणग्राह्येषु तत्स्थतदञ्जनतासमापत्तिः॥४१॥
ksina-vrtteh-abhijatasya-iva maneh-grahitr-grahana-grahyesu tatstha-tad-anjanata samapattih
When our mental agitation (vrtteh) has dwindled (ksina), the mind acts like (iva) a faultless (abhijatasya) crystal (maneh) where the perceiver (grahitr), the process of perception (grahana) and the object being perceived (grahyesu) merge and are in complete harmony (samapatti).
PRACTICAL LIVING In Sutra I.2 we discussed the idea that the mind is often colored with conditioning that has been accumulated throughout our lives. The thoughts, belief systems and values that we receive and absorb as we grow up determine how we perceive and experience the world. Through commitment to our practices (Sutras I.32-39) the mental agitation calms down. The mind then acts like a flawless crystal – reflecting any object that is beside it, without any distortion. When a bright blue tulip is placed beside a crystal, for example, the crystal reflects the exact color and shape of the flower, creating a ‘crystal clear’ image. If, however, the crystal has cracks or is dirty, the same tulip will be reflected as being brown or having a different shape. Usually our minds reflect distorted versions of reality. With practice, we become more aware and begin to see the people, situations and life itself just as it is.
Perception is often a result of comparison. For example, last time I visited India in their winter, I was shocked to see people in wool sweaters and ear muffs when it was 80ºF. For them, in comparison to 120ºF, this was cold. For me, coming from -15ºF, this was unbearably hot. Who is perceiving correctly? My point is that our experiences are greatly affected by our previous experiences.
How often, for example, have we misinterpreted conversations, remarks or situations? Sometimes we are made aware that we misperceived someone’s reaction, but there are probably numerous situations that were left in our experience as results of a ‘dirty crystal’.
IN THE YOGA WORLD Yoga is hugely a path of becoming aware of the faults and dirt in our ‘crystals’ and polishing those up so that we can experience life more as it is, rather than as a product of our subconscious ‘colored crystal’. The more we become aware of the coloring on our crystals, the less drama we have. As a consequence, we become calmer.
This calmness allows the 3 categories of objects of meditations to merge:
- the perceived object (grahya) – objects outside of us
- the process of perception/comprehension (grahana) – the 5 senses and the mind that organizes sensory data
- the perceiver (grahita) – the sense of ‘I-am-ness’
In other words, once the mind is calm enough, the yogi perceives the object so clearly that there is no difference between the entity perceiving (the mind), the process of perception (the senses) and the object itself. They merge and the state of samapatti is achieved. Yes, if this sounds a little confusing it’s because we are talking about more complex states of awareness that most of us have not experienced yet. But don’t be discouraged! Patanjlai comes to our rescue 🙂 This text is all about trying to understand how the mind (citta) works and finding the appropriate tools for each individual to enhance awareness.
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Every year I spend a few weeks with Danila. This woman radiates love. Like acrystal that radiates the colors that lie around it, Danila radiates light. Her smile is contagious. Her sweetness in relating to others is touching. Her devotion to her family, her job and life are inspiring. When she speaks, her words are wrapped with a deep sense of gratitude. I love every single moment I spend with this beautiful being. Thank you Dani for filling me with love, with positivity, with gratitude for life! Te quiero mucho!
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 the different categories of meditation.