Meditation is the process of bringing the attention inward to stillness, inner silence, pure bliss consciousness, the witness state, samadhi.
Once we have some inner silence, even just a little, we have the opportunity to begin to operate from that level of infinite potential in us.
You will recall that in meditation we use the thought of a sound with no meaning, the mantra, to systematically allow the mind to go to stillness. It is in letting go of any meaning, language or intellectual content, and just easily picking up the thought of the mantra, that are able to dive deep into pure bliss consciousness. The nervous system also goes to silence with the mind, and our metabolism slows way down.
With samyama, we begin to go the other way. After our meditation time is up, we rest for a minute or two and we transition into samyama. We begin with an easy state of not thinking, just resting in our silence. If thoughts are coming, we just let them go without entertaining them. In samyama practice we do not entertain the mantra either. We start by not favoring anything but being easy in our silence, however much silence we have from our just completed meditation session, and naturally present in us from our months or years of daily meditation. This is the starting point for samyama — silence.
The only prerequisite for doing samyama practice is having some inner silence. For most people this is after a few months of daily deep meditation, as covered in the early lessons.
Now we are ready to begin samyama practice. Here is how we do it.
With samyama, we are initiating meaning in silence. We do it in a simple, easy, systematic way. First we create an impulse of meaning in silence, and then we let it go in silence.
Let’s begin with “Love.” It is a good place to start with samyama. In samyama it is suggested you use your most intimate language, the language that goes deepest in your heart, whatever it may be.
In your easy silence, pick up, just once, the fuzziest feeling of the word “Love” in your own language. Don’t deliberately make a clear pronunciation, or mental images of this or that scene or situation that represent Love to you. Just have a faint remembrance of Love, and then let go into your silence, the easy silence you are in as you pick up the faint meaning of Love. Don’t contemplate Love or analyze it during samyama. Don’t think about it at all. Just come to it once in a faint, subtle way, and then let go into silence. It is a subtle feeling of Love we are coming to, nothing more, and letting it go. Like that.
Having thought “Love” once, be in silence for about fifteen seconds. If any thoughts come, let them go easily. Don’t look at the clock. With a little practice your inner clock will tell you with good enough accuracy when fifteen seconds is up. Just be easy in silence for about a quarter of a minute. Then pick up the faint, fuzzy meaning of “Love” again, and let it go again into your silence for about fifteen seconds again.
That is two repetitions of samyama – twice picking up Love at its subtlest level of thought, and twice letting it go into inner silence.
As with all advanced yoga practices, the real benefits from samyama are to be found in long term daily practice of a particular routine of sutras. If we keep changing sutras around every day or week, and are irregular in our practice, the results will not accumulate. If we want to strike water, we will do best to keep digging in the same place. In advanced yoga practices we can do samyama after every meditation session before we go into yoni mudra kumbhaka (if doing that then) and our ending rest period. Samyama is a continuation of our meditation practice. First we are going in with meditation, and then we are coming out with samyama.
For this purpose, a balanced series of nine sutras are given here. The suggestion is for each to be done for two cycles of samyama, two times with about fifteen seconds in silence for each sutra, and going straight through the list in order like that. In a few days they will be memorized and easy to navigate through using the method of samyama, going gradually deeper in practice with each session. The sutras are:
Akasha – Lightness of Air
Each sutra is to be taken in its entirety, with the fifteen seconds in silence afterwards. For example, “Inner Sensuality” is a single sutra followed by fifteen seconds of silence. It is for pratyahara, introversion of senses. “Akasha – Lightness of Air” is also a single sutra, followed by fifteen seconds in silence.
The meanings for the sutras can be translated to your deepest or first language, as discussed above. All except “Akasha,” which is a sanskrit word meaning, “subtlest ether, inner space.” We know from physics that we are ether, empty space inside, nothing really solid in here at all. Our body is that, and when we do samyama on “Akasha – Lightness of Air,” we begin to feel very light.
If you do each of these nine sutras twice in your samyama session, it will take about five minutes. If there is a particular one you feel the need to do more of, then add that on to the end and do samyama with it for another five minutes. The cycles remain at fifteen seconds, and we just keep going with that for five minutes, by the clock for that last five minutes. If there is no preference, then you can do the lightness sutra for five minutes at the end. It is very powerful. It is a mental kundalini technique that brings much energy up through the nervous system. It is not uncommon to experience physical symptoms such as panting (automatic bastrika pranayama) and “hopping” during samyama with the lightness sutra. If this happens, make sure you are sitting on a soft surface like a mattress. There can be various symptoms manifested with the other sutras as well. We are moving the infinite inner silence within us, so the manifestations coming out can be very real and noticeable. Patanjali calls these manifestations “supernormal powers,” or “siddhis.”
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Level 2 Teachings
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