तत्र ध्यानजमनाशयम् ॥
Only the minds born of meditation are free from karmic impressions.
Yoga Sūtra chapter 4, verse 6
Each thought, word and action in this life create our karmic impressions (saṃskāra) and determine our character both in this life and the next.
Through the yoga practice we are able to feel more of ourselves, but what does it mean to feel more yourself? Is it to simply exist with all the good and bad, all your likes and dislikes, achievements and failures? Does it include your anger, jealousy, fear and just accept them?
Yoga teachings say that being yourself means to be who you truly are and that is pure awareness, and nothing to do with body or mind. You are not your body or your mind although you have a body and mind. Being yourself means to transcend the thinking mind and simply dwell in the space of beingness. This can be described as a very relaxed state, everything seems to be fine, we are worry free and feel whole.
Part of this state is experienced in dhyāna (meditation) which means pure contemplation that is uninterrupted. Having the mind fixed on an object of awareness (for example the breath) uninterrupted by thought allows us to enter this state of meditation.
No thoughts are interrupting us asking “why are we so happy?”, “is this gonna last?” , “why did this thing happen to me?”
Instead we are fully present and just aware, feeling the spaciousness of each moment. It’s the most beautiful feeling on earth. Free from craving and aversion, no identification with thought, we enter a state in which we are truly ourselves – pure consciousness.
One of the many interesting things about meditation is that it cannot be done forcefully, it’s not simply flicking a switch – it is a state that happens to us while we fix our awareness uninterrupted on an object. The only thing we can do is be still, let go, and observe objectively. The result of our efforts will be peace and bliss beyond measure.
Being in this state will also prevent our mind from being conditioned by things like social media, advertisements, other people’s views, music, movies etc. the mind can re-learn how to be clear again.
The yoga practice helps to get to this state due to a hightened level of concentration you need, that is brought up during your āsana practice, for example in a headstand or steady conscious breathing. The result is that you are free of thought and you enter what we call “being in the zone”, a meditative mindfulness that takes all your attention without leaving any room for thinking. This could be considered a sister state of meditation. You are so immersed into the present moment that thoughts cannot enter your consciousness. We all know this state of mind, it happens somewhat regularly in life, during situations that require deep concentration and are fully immersive such as: playing music, rock climbing, surfing, painting, writing, gardening, having sex, playing video games, laughing, listening to jokes (real good ones), watching tv etc. The list is almost endless but the most healthy way to create this state is probably through yoga practices. All of the above examples require either something or someone to engage with. When it comes to meditation you don’t need anything or anyone.
It is in this state of meditation and identification with pure awareness when suffering ends momentarily and we feel lighter and relieved. No thoughts means no worries. For worries to come you need to think of either past or future situations, the same goes for anger, fear, jealousy and hatred. All these negative feelings cease when you are mindful and in the present moment.
This being “in the zone” keeps us from engaging with negative feelings and emotions. The more we are in this meditative zone the less mind impressions we create. It is easier to enter this state when there is something to do, but what if there’s nothing to do and you are alone? Thoughts start sneaking in and invading our mindful state creating a disconnection to our true nature, our life source or to the Divine.
There is an old yogic saying: Know Yoga, Know Peace. No Yoga, No Peace.
It is these invading thoughts during meditation when our true yogic skills are tested. Skills that when compared to the mastery of a handstand seem far more challenging. The strength of our mind is needed to be at peace when the world is still.
“If you know how to let go and be at peace, you know everything you need to know about living in the world “– Ajahn Brahm
The amount of kindness we can bring up from within is the key to be at peace in difficult situations. Kindness will let you allow life to be as it is with all it’s good and bad, no conflicts between you and reality, allowing life to be and not wanting it to be better or anything different but accepting this very moment as it is. In other words, being kind and accepting the present moment. Then a whole new life experience arises, all of the sudden everything we do becomes wonderful. Be kind to your inability to accept and like every moment, there is some room for the allowance of imperfections.
I like to call this state of acceptance kind-fullness. This kind-fullness is a powerful tool we all need in our lives, we all know how hard it can be when overwhelmed by our thoughts. If we can get into a mindful state every now and simply more aware of cars driving, clouds passing, birds singing and our breath then suddenly we have an effective antidote for our otherwise very chatty mind. Life becomes brighter, richer and more connected. Simple thinks like eating or walking and breathing turn from a normal life experience to a five star holiday retreat.
Your body mind, job, family and friends turn into the best things on earth, even your mother in law will be acceptable, no kidding!
Kind-fullness is what we all need in our lives to feel more whole in this human existence. The only thing we need to do is re-wire our thinking mind. Step by step integration of kind-fullness during the day will eventually become a habit. Daily meditation practice in the morning and evening is an excellent way to calm the mind and free ourselves from moments of worry. A calm mind is the best base to help mindfulness and kindness to rise. The more we are in the states of mindfulness and kindness the easier it will be for us to maintain them. We will always get better in what we train, unfortunately modern life is determined to make us train complaining, blaming and fear and things like social media are doing a good job training us how to desire and how to be jealous of others.
Now more than ever it is important to go back to the simplicity of life and learn again how to be happy in each moment.
– Dean Galip