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Transcending The Mind

A short video on the role of concentration in meditation and entry into samadhi. It was filmed during a class given on a yoga teacher training course in Spain in 2019.

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So, this is um, this is one of the things that people find difficult, because, it feels like, when people learn to meditate, um, one of the things that they assume, is that meditation is about learning concentration. So, they think, they think you’ve got a meditation object, you’ve got your mantra, you’re trying to bring your attention to it, you keep failing, but you have this, people can have this idea that they, whenever they lose it they’ve somehow failed to do what they are trying to do, and then they think that the goal if they’re really good at meditating, they’ll be to stay on the object, all the time. It’s what people imagine in their heads, because we’re used to, they’re kind of goal orientated. As people, we’re taught that you have to learn something, and then you get good, and you can do it, and that’s the goal, and you’ve achieved it. So, people think that if you, that being good at meditating is staying on the meditation object, some kind of exercise and concentration. But it isn’t and, um, so what really happens, what really happens is that we’re bringing the mind to a state of peace. Bringing the mind to a state of peace.

Normally the mind is quite agitated, it’s moving around, um, we call it “vritti” in Sanskrit. We’ll come to this when we come to the Yoga Sutras. “Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodaha”, yoga is the stilling of the agitation of the mind. So, normally our mind is quite agitated, it’s moving around a lot. And meditation is actually bringing the mind to a condition where it’s still enough and calm enough, or you could say more accurately it’s bringing our attention to a state where it’s still enough and calm enough, that it then transcends the mind. Okay, normally we’re kind of fixated with objects of the mind, thoughts, memories, fantasies, feelings, you name it, we’ve got hundreds of different things going on. But it’s all things of the mind. They’re all mind objects, everything that we’re, things that you see, things that you hear, things that you taste, the objects of the senses, these are all mind objects. Everything in our life, it’s all mind objects, and we’re normally fascinated by them. And for a lot of people, even the idea that there’s something beyond the mind, they can’t even imagine that there could be something beyond the mind. And actually, we exist beyond the mind, we always, we always exist beyond the mind. All these objects of the mind are just objects. We always exist beyond them. But we’re normally so obsessed with them, so fixated with them, that we never notice who we are fundamentally; what’s really happening.

So, the goal of meditation is to bring your attention, bring your awareness to a state where it’s so, where it’s, it’s balanced, but energized, and the mind is calm. And in that state, we then transcend, we then transcend, and that’s what samadhi is. Samadhi is the transcendence of the mind, and then we begin to see reality, we begin to see ourselves. So, it’s not about concentration, it’s not about being able to concentrate on one object. As you can imagine, I mean that, that sounds like quite a useful skill to have, but it’s not that, it’s not that fantastic. Imagine if you could just concentrate on something for 20 minutes, and you do it, and then you’ve done it. I mean, you haven’t, we haven’t really gained anything, right? I mean in terms of wisdom, or liberation, or bliss, or you know, you’ve just concentrated for 20 minutes. So, you know, if that was the object of meditation, then it wouldn’t be a particularly useful skill. So, it’s about something else, and something very, very incredible, you know, very, very incredible. Something that does lead to wisdom, and does lead to bliss and does lead to liberation. So, So, this is the goal, coming to a, a balanced state of consciousness, yogah chitta vritthi nirodaha, yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. And that’s what we’re, that’s what we’re trying to achieve.