“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”
T.S.Eliot

Yoga Sutra – Chapter 1 Sutra 17

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“Discernment follows the form of reasoning, reflection, joy & unity”
Translation by Paul Harvey

The process of meditations is a gradual movement from distraction toward containment. You can experience this on a gross level in a short meditation and you can experience this on a more subtle level over years of meditation.

When you start off meditating (assuming you are not in a monastery or a retreat) the mind is occupied with everything and anything, this is the nature of mind.

meditation01Then gradually ( = waiting patiently & softly, without expectation, without judgment) the mind settles a bit and releases some of its preoccupations. The first thoughts to go are the “easier” ones, those that stay are more immanent and can take a bit more waiting.

meditation02

When the mind is settled it is able to start focusing on one object. At first the mind may still dance around and the relationship with the object comes and goes.

meditation03

With some practice the mind is able to hold an object steadily and for a longer period of time.

meditation04

Eventually subject-object duality ceases to cloud perception.

meditation05

Practice tips:

  • asana and pranayama practice shorten the time it takes to make this journey.
  • a simple and supportive object to place your attention is on your seated position.
  • a caring teacher can give you a supportive meditation focus, choosing a focus for yourself indulges your mind (like a kid will go for candy).
  • one effective meditation practice will carry you through years of practice, don’t change it like you change socks.
This entry was posted in Meditation, Models & Metaphors, Yoga, Yoga Sutra, Yoga Texts. You are welcome to read 5 comments and to add yours

5 Comments

  1. Posted August 31, 2009 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    The last diagram is difficult to follow since it shows the two objects still existing even though it is supposed to show no subject or object.

    I did a translation and commentary of the yoga sutra. I translated 1.17 as:
    The observational linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force occurs with analysis, reflection, introspective happiness or focus on self consciousness.

    My translation which has word-for-word meanings to the Sanskrit and has a commentary can be seen here: <a href="https://sites.google.com/site/michaelbeloved/yoga…” target=”_blank”>https://sites.google.com/site/michaelbeloved/yoga

    • Posted August 31, 2009 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment Michael.

      Indeed, the last diagram is hard to follow 🙂 I would be happy to see your inspired drawing.

      As time flows through me, my temptation to explain the unexplainable diminishes. There is a place where no words or diagrams can take us, but inspiration can gently guide us in a right direction.

  2. Paul_Harvey
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Curious as to how asmita jnanam can be justified as being without subject or object?

    • Posted July 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Hello Paul,

      I am excited and honored to have your presence you here in the comment threads 🙂

      I am not sure I can answer that or if it can (or should) be answered. I can think of two resources to consult and shed more light on it:

      *Samkhya
      I recently contemplated on some parallels between Ashtanga/Yoga & Samkhya where I thought I saw a relationship between Yoga's Pratyahara/Dharana/Dhyana and Samkhya's Mahat/Ahamkara/Manas.
      Though I didn't mention it – my udnerstanding is that Samkhya's constructs are not "real" – they occur simultaneously and are offered as a means of teaching and discourse. It seems to say that (1) "individuation" happens; (2) There was something before "individuation" happened.

      *Sitting on a hot stove
      Robert Pirsig, in his inquiry into Quality (which I have often substituted in place of the word God when we came across it in our studies) provides an excellent demonstration:

      Any person of any philosophic persuasion who sits on a hot stove will verify without any intellectual argument whatsoever that he is in an undeniably low-quality situation; that the value of his predicament is negative. This low quality is not just a vague, woolly headed crypto-religious, metaphysical abstraction. It is an experience. It is not a judgment about an experience. It is not a description of experience … The value itself is an experience

      More on that here: http://www.iamronen.com/2010/05/reading-lila-sitt

      Could it be that asmita jnanam is experience on the bleeding edge of understanding?

    • Posted July 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Paul,

      Asmita Jnanam cannot be justified as being without subject or object. The mere mention of the word asmita and the emphasis on the word jnanam means that there is a specific recipient of experience or information. If there is asmita there is automatically a self which is a recipient of experience and that establishes both a subject and an object or a subject which is anticipation of an object. There is no way around that.

      There is also the asmitarupa, and in that compound Sanskrit word, rupa is clear as the form of the involved self, which is the subject of the investigation into the nature of reality.

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