Pratyahara, dharana, dhyanam, and samadhi
Pratyahara is the state of the individualised mind where the movement of memory and the movement of the senses has discontinued. So the mind is inwardly and outwardly surrounded by space.
Pratyahara equips the mind with the capacity to bring in dharana. It enables the mind to be in the state of dharana.
The individualised mind is held by the inner and outer space: that is dharana.
The individualised mind in its purified form, in its purified condition is there but now all its energy is focused on the inner and outer space. Its attentivity is related to the inner and the outer space. It is as if enveloped in space, in emptiness, in silence. It has not yet assimilated the state of emptiness and peace as its experience, but it is held there.
If that state of the mind is sustained, then the individualised mind converts that state of being embraced, enveloped, wrapped in peace and emptiness into an experience and that experiencing of emptiness and peace is called dhyanam.
So there is only the experiencing of space, emptiness, silence.
In this state of the experience of silence, but still in its very subtle form, in a very purified state, the individualised mind is still there. The subtle consciousness of “I am” or “I am experiencing space”, “I am experiencing peace or silence”, “I am in the state of dhyanam meditation” is still there.
When that consciousness disappears, there is the state of samadhi.
Though it is a very subtle, harmless centre, because it is not running in the past, with the past or running outside your body it is harmless but yet it is the individualised mind, it is not yet that universal mind stuff – the drashta, the authentic seer. There are still the thoughts “I am”, “I am experiencing meditation”, “I am in the state of meditation”. But when that disappears, when that gets dissolved, there is the state of samadhi.
Beyond meditation, beyond dhyanam, is the dissolution of the individualised mind.
So samadhi is now a new dimension: in that state of meditation the sense of “I am” totally gets wiped out – the sense of “I am experiencing meditation” – that last segment gets wiped out.
Now the silence and the space have penetrated the sense of “I am” and dissolved it – that is samadhi.
From Yoga Beyond Meditation
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