The 7th Limb of Yoga: Dhyana
“Dhyana is retaining one’s tranquil state of mind in any circumstance, unfavorable as well as favorable, and not being disturbed or frustrated even when adverse conditions present themselves one after another” ~ D.T. Suzuki
Meditation is the process and Dhyana is the state of being you are trying to achieve.
In the early stages of meditation, there is an awareness of the observer (you), and the observed.
For example, in a guided meditation, where someone is helping you to detach from all thought and sensation, you, the person listening, is the observer, the awareness that you bring to yourself in listening is the observed.
Yet, in this practice there is awareness, or the ability of the mind to still be active with at least one of the senses.
This is the initial stage of meditation, where awareness is present, it brings about many healthy and blissful benefits. Your body will achieve normal homeostasis. You will be calmer, more relaxed, and better equipped to deal with stress.
Dhyana is then, the state that follows meditation, and can be called, glimpsing the soul. A moment where you enter a peak state, like when time flies or when you feel that time stands still, a transcendence of time.
Glimpsing into the soul can also be referred to as ‘slipping into the gap’.
The space between your thoughts is the gap. This is the space of infinite possibilities, unbounded creativity and complete silence.
This is your soul space.
You will have moments of stillness, but are unaware of such stillness until you come out of the state. The soul exists beyond space and time, and therefore cannot be experienced within the parameters you are used to in measuring an experience like memory and time.
As the soul transcends, so do these elements necessary for measurement and sound. Silence is absolutely necessary to get to this state and there is scientific studies that back up its healing powers.
Studies show that noise (at various levels) causes elevated levels of stress hormones to be released in the body. Making it harder to making decisions, solve problems, losing concentration, decreasing motivation and overall brain functioning.
Silence first began to appear in scientific research as a control or baseline, when scientists compared the psychological effects of noise and music.
It was discovered that:
- Silence is more relaxing for the brain than the relaxing music.
- Two hours of silence per day prompts cell development in the brain related to the formation of memory, allowing the brain to ‘recover’ its cognitive abilities and restore what was lost through exposure to excessive noise.
- Silence helps new cells to differentiate into neurons, allowing our brains to work at better understanding our internal and external environments. This helps us make sense of our lives and gain perspective, which is vital for our overall wellbeing.
Once you are alone and silent, you may know you’ve traveled to the gap by certain feelings or reduce sensation after:
- Unexplained happiness
- Ease in the body or no feeling at all
- No memory of what happened
Meditation is then a pathway to the state of Dhyana, which is a higher state of consciousness, self-awareness and love.
Love begins to reign the seventh limb of yoga.
Love flows from you, however, it’s not an attached state of love. Love with attachment is to objects or people.
Love with detachment is the vibration of pure love for something bigger.
In yoga, this type of pure love is called Bhakti.
Bhakti is an innocent love for the sake of merging in oneness to the Divine. You can equate this to the type of love that an infant has for his or her mother. He or she longs to be bonded and merged with her and has totally surrendered himself or herself to her.
In Dhyana, love flows through you and creates a higher vibrational frequency within you.
This divine love has the capacity to heal, create miracles, and has compassion and empathy for all. The ego falls away in Dhyana and you transcend the confines of the mind.
Finally, attainment of Dhyana will not happen by willing it to come.
The greater you seek it, the more it will slip away from you. Your preparedness for the seventh limb of yoga will come with the consistent practice of the other six limbs.
Then, like a lotus flower, opening, flourishing and emerging from muddy waters, Dhyana will seek you.
There are 7 other Limbs of Yoga I go through in my 8 week private yoga program, ‘The Transformation Journey With The Eight Limbs of Yoga’.
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