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Lost in the Bliss

December 23, 20233 min read

I find it fitting that we're wrapping up our exploration of the Eight Limbs Of Yoga at the end of a calendar year...

In the beautiful tapestry of yogic philosophy, Samadhi stands as the eighth and final limb, calling practitioners to a pinnacle of spiritual experiences. Rooted in ancient wisdom, Samadhi is a transcendent state where the boundaries between self and the object of focus blur into unity.

But the journey from being a basic human to an enlightened one doesn't happen overnight.  At least not for most people.

During this series, we explored each of the Eight Limbs:

1.  Yamas: five moral restraints to apply, keeping our relationships, as well as personal energy, harmonious.

-Ahimsa - nonviolence

-Satya - truthfulness

-Asteya - nonstealing

-Brahmacharya - moderation or celebacy

-Aparigraha - nonhoarding

2.  Niyamas:  five rules of conduct to help us detach from the world and the ego so that it becomes easier for the meditator to let go during deep meditation.

-Saucha - purity

-Santosha - contentment

-Tapas - zeal, austerity

-Svadhyaya - self-study

-Isvara-pranidhana - devotion to a higher power

3.  Asanaphysical postures performed to allow the body to sit comfortably and in stillness during meditation.

4.  Pranayamacontrolling of the breath, causing the mind to quiet, as well as storing up prana needed while in deep meditation.

5.  Pratyahara: withdrawal of sensory perceptions, allowing one to turn inward.

6.  Dharanadeep concentration, perhaps on a mantra, an object, or on each individual chakra.

7.  Dhyanacomplete, uninterrupted meditation.

8.  Samadhi: the final stage where the individual consciousness has dissolved into pure cosmic consciousness.

Returning now to the topic of this post…

Samadhi is a state where the object of our concentration remains, yet we lose the ability to distinguish it as separate from ourselves. Imagine being so immersed in an action that time, space, and sensations dissolve, leaving only a profound connection with the present moment.

This state of absorption varies in intensity, ranging from the everyday occurrences when we are completely engrossed in an activity, losing ourselves to the flow, to the profound depths that erase all negative imprints and patterns within our minds. It is a journey from the mundane to the sublime, a progression through layers of consciousness toward ultimate union.

The essence of Samadhi is described in the prayer of Saint Francis: "Through self-forgetting we find." In the art of self-forgetting, we unearth the treasures of our own sacred moments. It is a surrender of the ego, a letting go that allows us to transcend the limitations of the self and merge with the divine essence of existence.

In those moments of complete immersion, whether in the gentle rhythm of our breath, the fluidity of playing a musical instrument, or the focused intensity of a creative endeavor, we catch glimpses of Samadhi. These are the moments when the self dissolves, and we become one with the object of our attention, losing ourselves only to discover a profound unity.

Now that you've learned about the Eight Limbs, I'd encourage you to spend time with each aspect, exploring the depths that each Limb has to offer.  

This isn't a spiritual checklist.  It's also not a test where you reach enlightenment after you've done all the things "correctly."  This is a path to walk on.  You'll stumble, you'll pause to enjoy the view, you'll sit and rest.

Samadhi, in its various forms, is a reminder that the path of yoga extends beyond physical postures and breath control. It is a journey of self-discovery and spiritual evolution, leading us towards the realization that, in self-forgetting, we find the boundless expanses of our own sacred existence.

SamadhiEight Limbs Of YogaYoga SutrasYoga PhilosophyBlissEnlightenment
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