ता एव सबीजः समाधिः॥
ta eva sabijah samadhih
Those levels of meditation discussed previously (ta) all (eva) involve the use of a seed (sabijah) to experience profound contemplation or complete absorption (samadhih).
PRACTICAL LIVING Here we will summarize the past four sutras because the topic of meditation can become overwhelming. In essence, Patanjali is stating that the four states of meditation he just described all require an object of focus, something that the individual connects with. This process is gradual and requires preparation and a sustained interest (see Sutra I.1 and Sutra I.2). The process is gradual because most of us are aware that the ‘I will lose 10 lbs in one week’ attitude does not yield long term effects. The lack of interest leads to distraction, and without preparation we will be jumping steps and have an unstable foundation.
Below is the gradual process of meditation with an object as is described by Patanjali:
savitarka samapattih is when an individual chooses an object to focus on and the mind focuses on the word and the image related to the object. This object is external to us and can be anything from another human being, to work, to an element of nature. The mind will use memory to link to anything related to that object.
savicara samapattih occurs when an individual now moves to a more subtle object of meditation and the word and its meaning is what one focuses on. For example, instead of an external object like a friend, we now focus on the concept of love. Since this object is more abstract than an external object, a more stable mind is required for this state of meditation. Memory is still used to link with this object, though emotion rather than cognition is more a part of this state.
nirvitarka samapattih is when that individual, having practiced focusing on an object for long periods of time, now only sees the object itself (without the memory and ideas linked to it). The mind is calm and clear, allowing only the object to be experienced. In this state, one is using an external object such as the friend mentioned above. Though now, only the person itself is experienced, just as they are (without all of the associations one makes when thinking of a person).
nirvicara samapattih 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.
IN THE YOGA WORLD In all of the states of meditation mentioned above, the mind still has impressions (samskaras). In other words, those impressions which can manifest as attachment, avoidance, over identification or fear, can still come back and influence our state of mind. There is still work to do. Yes, this is a long journey and it does require commitment. Having said that, we are already experiencing moments of concentration and meditation at work, at home, during our hobbies whether we call it that or not. Anytime we are deeply involved in something, and our interest goes deeper and deeper, we are practicing the gradual process of meditation described above!
INSPIRATIONAL PERSON Bev is a beautiful example of this gradual and ongoing process of meditation. She is an amazing woman with incredible commitment to yoga, to growth, to living a rich and meaningful life! We met in India several years ago, she would fly from Australia, I would fly from the USA. Our paths have crossed in India several times and every time I see her (personally or on Skype) my heart smiles, my mind relaxes and I feel inner joy from a growing friendship. She teaches me in so many different ways: her personal life, her dedication to the teachings of yoga, and her enthusiasm for life! Thank you, thank you, thank you Bev! I feel deep gratitude for our friednship and it warms me to know I have an inspirational friend on the other side of the globe 🙂
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 all of this brings us inner tranquility!