Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pantanjali on Practices for Quieting the Mind

In Sutra 1.33-1.39 Patanjali goes on to list examples of the many kinds of things that we can apply our attention to in order to still the mind. The list is diverse. There really is a practice for everyone. In fact in 1.39 Patanjali basically says that: "The mind can also be stabilized by meditating on any suitable object". (-Maehle translation)

Other practices that Patanjali mentions that can be used to quiet the mind:

1.33 "Clarity of mind is produced by meditating on friendliness toward the happy, compassion toward the miserable, joy toward the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked."
1.34 "Or from exhalation and retention of breath (prana)"
1.35 "Or by contemplation on an object that helps to maintain steadiness of mind and consciousness."
1.36 "Or inner stability is gained by contemplating a luminous, sorrowless, effulgent light."
1.37 "Or by contemplating on enlightened sages who are free from desires and attachments, calm and tranquil, or by contemplating the experiences of dream-filled or dreamless sleep during a watchful waking state.

I am grateful to have found a practice that works for me. I did my fair share of "practice shopping" early on. I spent a few years trying classes in this style of yoga or that style of yoga. It wasn't until I settled in to one practice and was consistent about it that change started to happen. The focus on the physical body and breath as my meditation object works for me. The focus on bandha is subtle enough work to last me for a lifetime. Perhaps next lifetime I will be ready to focus on a quality of light?

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