This week in class we are considering the seventh limb of Yoga, Dhyana (meditation).
A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don't know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox's or a bear's, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.
Below the relatively superficial levels of the mind - beneath the emotions we are ordinarily aware of – lie layer on layer of the unconscious mind. This is the "cloud of unknowing," where primordial instincts, fears, and urges cover our understanding. The deepest flaw in the mind is what Einstein called the "kind of optical delusion of consciousness" that makes us see ourselves as separate from the rest of life. Like a crack in glasses that we must wear every moment of
our lives, this division is built into the mind. "I" versus "not-I" runs through everything we see.
To see life as it is, the mind must be made pure: everything that distorts must be quieted or removed. When the mind is completely still, unstirred even in its depths, we see straight through to the ground of our being, which is divine.
Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran
The homework is to note that the first six limbs of Yoga prepare you for the next two limbs of Yoga: Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (a state of super-consciousness or absorption). If you do not have a meditation or contemplation practice consider what it takes to start one. See if through systematic effort in meditation you can succeed in breaking through the surface level of consciousness. Below this is the unconscious where our habits of thinking and acting live and the obstacles we create through self-will: the fierce, driving compulsion to have our own way, get what we want, and stamp ourselves separate from the rest of life. Then learn for yourself how contemplation can lead us to transcend all duality and experience the unitive state, where nothing is separate. This state is shanti, perfect peace.
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607
Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003