- For the rest of us asamprajnata comes from faith, vigor, memory, absorption, and discerning intellect. -CT
- For the others, this asamprajnata samadhi could come through faith, vigor, memory, contemplation and discernment. – SS
- But, for others, the state where only subconscious impression remain is preceded by faith, vigor, memory, absorption and discernment. – EBF
Now Patanjali is pointing to the techniques needed, for the rest of us who are not avataras, to attain the state of samadhi that is without an object of contemplation.
These techniques are further explained in the second chapter of The Yoga Sutras.
Patanjali is saying that the only way to achieve this level of absorption is to have faith and trust in something greater than yourself, the power of self to remain steadfast in ones journey of growth, to have a good memory of the mistakes you have made and the lessons you have learned, to be able and willing to control the mind to be one-pointed and the intellect to see clearly the real and unreal.
Faith here means clarity of mind. When you see clearly you understand what merits your trust.
This is why I have asked you so many times “How do you understand the cosmology of the universe?”
It is critical that you are familiar with your own understanding of creation.
I think it is far less important the details of your understanding than that you have that understanding itself.
What is it that you believe? What is the metaphysical construction of the universe? What is Divine? Where do you fall into the Divine Plan? What do you have faith in? What can you put your trust in?
Faith is the belief in the goal of the enterprise. It is required for the yogin. Faith is like a mother, supporting the yogin to the very end.
Faith gives rise to internal longing, a longing to understand and know the Divine. This longing gives us the power, the vigor, to practice. By practice, I do not mean a little exercise every day like asana, or a little prayer or contemplation that one forgets as soon as they walk out the door. Practice means a wholehearted endeavor, an energetic endeavor that infiltrates every cell of your being and every moment of your life. It is a way of living.
Our faith spurs our longing and power to practice. Our memory keeps us on track, reminding us throughout each year, each day, each moment to keep up the practice. We remember what the pitfalls are for us as an individual. Our memory helps us to recall Divine knowledge or scriptural knowledge. Our memory helps us to keep the goal in mind.
Memory here is referring to keeping an undisturbed state of mind. Rather than letting the mind run away with its every whim, it is controlled, it is kept on the path.
This requires that we know our mind. That we have enough devotion to our faith to show up fully in our practice. Practicing leads to mastery of the mind so that we can keep a clear state of mind, remembering always our devotion.
Samadhi here is referring to the practice of samadhi, the practice of concentration. The practice of placing the mind on one point, eventually to the point that there is no deviation. The practice of one-pointedness gives rise to being totally united and absorbed with the object of the mind. Once absorbed you have full knowledge and understanding of your point of focus. When you know everything about something you have the power of that object or the power of your understanding of the object. This gives you mastery over the object of concentration.
The ultimate act of discrimination is that of differentiating between Pure Consciousness and Nature.
Discernment also means to know what is beneficial and what is not. To know how to show up in the world in a way that does not stunt one’s own spirit but rather spurs it to know its own Divinity.
To start this means creating healthy boundaries.
What is helpful and what is harmful to you? This means in your daily activities, in the people you are around, in the food that you eat, the music that you listen too, the books that you read, and dialogues that you partake in with yourself and others.
The Practice needs to be completed all together! Not broken up.
Inviting the Divine into your spiritual practice is a must, you can not expect to receive the grace of God without having a relationship first. In Indic traditions when you pray you are praying to all the different aspects of God, the physical form of god through the picture or image, the energetic form of God through speech and sound, and the celestial aspect of God through love.
The use of alters or visual images allows for the devotion to the physical. The use of mantra and prayer represents devotion to the subtle aspects, and your uninterrupted love is your devotion to the celestial.
In the east pujas and ceremonies are a way of inviting the Divine into one’s life. They are not used just when you are practicing, they are not optional, they are daily rituals, a way of life. A way of being with God every day, all the time. A way to have God with you in all the aspects of your own life.
When you invite a friend over you make special preparations. You clean, you put out flowers, you offer them nice food and drink, you may even light candles. You should do all of these and more when inviting God into your life. Show the Divine your love by creating a beautiful and loving experience, just as you would for any honored guest.
The act of prayer itself is not a place for you to ask for the mundane. It is a place to welcome God, asking for a Divine hand in your life and guidance on your path.
Create Your Own Prayer Ritual
Write out your own prayer, and anything else that you want to create as a part of your prayer ritual. Use your personalized prayer ritual prior to this practice each day from here on out. Maybe you even make this a lifelong ritual.
Object of Mediation
Patanjali is clear that as we become more advanced practitioners that we can not spread ourself to thin. We must commit to one object of meditation, master that and them move on.
Select an object of meditation. It needs to be a gross object, something material. A good example is candlelight meditation, where you focus on the flame. It can be a rock, a person, a book, or anything else that is not abstract.
Do 5X Rounds each side.
- Choose a Mantra. You can use the one you have been using or you can choose a new one. Choose a mantra that is going to be a permanent mantra for you for the time being.
- Say your mantra to yourself 5 times out loud.
- Say your mantra in a whisper 5 times.
- Say your mantra silently in your mind 5 times.
- Start ujjayi, create a nice long breath, balancing the inhalation and exhalation.
- Inhale into the belly for a count of 2 and pause for 2.
- Inhale into the chest for 2 and pause for 2
- Inhale into the shoulders for 2 and pause for 2.
- Exhale slowly, smoothly and completely, pausing for 2.
- Reapeat for 5 minutes.
- Draw your attention into yourself. Removing your awareness of the objects of your senses.
- Focus your minds eye on your object of meditation.
- Practice for 10 minutes.
- When you feel your mind wander be so gentle in bringing it back. *Remember we are like infants in this journey. Treat yourself as you would your own child.
If you have not noticed already, Yoga Nidra is a powerful practice for keeping a heathy, helpful quality of mind. When you have time in your day, when you feel stressed or anxious, when you feel tired practice Yoga Nidra.
- What do I have faith in?
- What is one thing that I want to include in my life that I do not already do, something that I think will benefit my spiritual growth?
- What is one thing that derails my spiritual growth that I want to avoid?
- My Prayer and Prayer ritual is…?
- My Mantra is….?
- My object of meditation is…..?
What does this remind me of? Other stories, scriptures, or teachings.