In the newsletter articles on meditation in previous months, we looked at the various stepping stones which lead to the ULTIMATE state of meditation, which is known in the Yoga Sutras as samadhi. According to Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras in which meditation is explained (theory) and quantified (practice), samadhi has 10 stages that unfold in progression until the big enchilada of enlightenment is served. Olé to Kaivalya Samadhi—complete, final, and eternal union with All!
In the “lower” stages of samadhi, the desire to progress is present and compelling, as are personal elements of meditation (e.g., a personal religious symbol). In the “higher” stages of samadhi, the desire to progress falls away and transpersonal elements are encountered through completely purifying the mind (e.g., feeling at one with all beings without any separation). Another way to put it is that there is no attachment to anything because there in nothing separate from oneself to attach to since all is one.
Please keep in mind that Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras for a specific audience—monks in training. These teachings and practices were not intended for the general public, nor desired by them, since they were on a different path with different desires and motivations than those of monks. Also at the time the Yoga Sutras were written, monks were only male, so there is another historical-cultural factor to consider when you contemplate going on the meditative path as it is codified by Patanjali. Is meditation for everyone? That’s a great question for your contemplation.
A couple more questions to meditate upon are these: 1) Is meditation for you? and 2) What kind of meditation? May your meditations on meditation be fruitful and full of meaning.