We are back at it after a couple of months of rest and other online activity during this Corona period. Hope you all are doing well! :)
This time we will look into the seventh limb of yoga according to Maharishi Patanjali, called dhyāna. Hope you still remember our fictional character, Ben.
During this Corona period, Ben attended a lot of online yoga sessions. He realized something amazing and was blown away by the science of yoga. His latest realization came to him after his practice of dhāranā, the sixth limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
If dhāranā (focussing) requires effort then the effortless state he experiences afterwards is meditation, dhyāna. This was such a profound moment for Ben since he always had this idea that it takes several years to practice meditation or at least reach a proper stage of meditation. Nothing could be less true, it is all in the mind. If we want to meditate we just need to drop all efforts we make and sit as if we observe clouds moving.
Each thought, feeling or even desire in the mind is like a cloud that passes in the sky. It comes and then goes. Through the effortless states of meditation we come to realize that our minds can rest if we just see how everything passes.
Often we are overwhelmed by whatever we feel or think. Sometimes this becomes too much and we feel like running away from all the stress or anxiety we experience. To overcome this we must meditate. In our modern society with so much information overload, it is bound to happen that we get overwhelmed from time to time. Meditation is a perfect way to rest while being alert. This is a different type of rest which has a different quality to it compared to the rest we get from sleep.
Many Yoga masters throughout the ages knew that meditation is a form of worship or prayer. It is a way of listening to the nature around you without reacting to the stimuli. In our modern times we forgot to give ourselves some time to just push the reset button. Meditation is the reset button we all crave for amidst the chaos of modern times.
Meditation is such a universal practice that it serves a purpose no matter where you are, how much available time you have or even what religious or cultural background you have. To let our minds rest from all the thinking, is what everyone would like to experience. Just like any breathing exercise, any form of meditation is helpful for our mind and thus our overall well being.
If you want to experience dhyāna right now at home, be sure to check out Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s amazing daily live guided meditations.
Wishing you all the best in this uncertain period. Let us know if you need any further guidance on your path of discovering your true nature.
Next up will be the last limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, Samādhi.