7.23.12
Patanjali’s Meditation

“Dhyana is the continuous flow of cognition toward the object of meditation.”   -Yoga Sutra, III:2

Dhyana is meditation, the 7th limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga.  The goal of Patanjali’s yoga is a steady mind and meditation is the path. Sharon Gannon and David Life write, “Dhyana is an effortless state that can arise only after you have trained yourself to sit still and concentrate on one object without distraction.” (Jivamukti Yoga)  It is the realization of one-pointed focus, continuous and unbroken, upon the object of meditation.  It is merging with the object of meditation and transcending body consciousness and separateness.  It frees the mind from thinking, from the constant chatter, from any fluctuating at all.

Meditation, like all of yoga, is a practice.  It is extremely challenging physically and mentally to sit still, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.  Far more troubling to me than establishing a daily asana practice has been to work my way into a meditation practice.  There are endless methods to meditate, but they all begin with finding a comfortable seat.  Once you have established your seat, whether it be in front of an altar or not, the choice of object to meditate on is endless.  You can think about union, connection to God, repeat a sacred mantra, watch the breath or focus on a chakra.  Truly, you can meditate on whatever feels right to you and this may require trying out different methods.  To meditate, simply sit down, close your eyes, draw your attention inward and be still.  See if you can create more space between the thoughts and eventually let them fall away.

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