एतयैव सविचारा निर्विचारा च सूक्ष्मविषया व्याख्याता॥४४॥
etaya-eva savicara nirvicara ca suksma-visaya vyakhyata
Through these (etaya), the next two levels of meditation with subtle (suksmah) objects (visaya), savicara and nirvicara are explained (vyakhyata).
- sa-vitarka-samapatti is meditation on an object relating to knowledge of the object, words related to it, thoughts and imagination
- nir-vitarka-samapatti is meditation where the memory has been purified and the mind no longer relies on thoughts to relate to the object.
In this sutra, Patanjali now defines the next two stages:
1. sa-vicara samapatti is meditation on a subtle object. What does that mean exactly? Well, instead of a person, a tangible object or an image, this involves concepts such as Love, Compassion, Surrender or anything that we are working cultivating more of in our lives. These objects of meditation are more of a feeling rather than a mental image. If, for example, someone is experiencing extreme lethargy during the winter, meditating on the concept of energy (virya) and experiencing the feeling of vigor will help that individual out of their present. On the other hand, if someone is struggling with anxiety or agitation, meditating on the feeling of calmness and peace could be very beneficial.
2. nir-vicara samapatti is meditation that does not even require a subtle object. With a pure mind, the person experiences profound joy, bliss and peace, which are not linked to any object.
We can see these four categories of meditation as four different stages on a spectrum of practice. Just like Sutra I.17 described, Yoga is a process. It requires commitment, discipline, enthusiasm and ideally the help of a teacher/mentor who can guide us throughout the journey.
IN THE YOGA WORLD There are no specific descriptions of what “subtle” means. Yoga asks us to begin wherever we are (self-acceptance) and proceed in our own rhythm. Therefore, the four stages of meditation should be seen as an individual path: no two people will have the exact same experiences. Our objects of meditation will change as we find it is appropriate. It is like peeling layers off of an onion – we cry a little bit at each stage, but it gets juicier and juicier, getting us closer to our True Nature 🙂
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Oh my Jodi! What an extraordinary human being! This woman is so devoted to connection. As far as I have known her, she spends her days, hours, minutes connecting to others and connecting people to each other. Her subtle object of meditation is CONNECTION. Her bubbly and charismatic personality unites people and brings smiles to those around her. One of my first friends in this chapter of my life, she has connected me to several people, helping bring purpose and laughter to my life. I am forever thankful for our friendship lady! Love you 🙂
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 results of moving on the spectrum of meditation!