Quick check in: does your mind feel laser-focused and steady? Ready to handle any challenges in a reasonable, calm manner?
If your answer, like ours, was to throw your head back and roar with laughter because you’ve got countless distractions bouncing around your brain, we’re here to help. This week, we’ve got four meditation classes to help you feel clearer and more grounded. If you are new to meditation or it has been a while since you meditated, read on for some insight into why it can have such a profound impact on your life.
Meditation is the practice of learning to quiet the monkey mind or as Patanjali delineated in Yoga Sutra 1.2: citta vritti nirodhah: Yoga is learning to direct the attention of your mind where you wish it to go. Meditation encourages you to quiet the distractions in order to create space for clarity. It is the art of letting go and bringing the mind to the present moment. Meditation is a practice that takes time and effort, but it is worth every minute.
In Patanjali’s 8-Limbed Yoga path, he outlines Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dyhana as the three stages necessary to meditation that precede Samadhi or enlightenment. Each one takes us deeper into our seat of awareness within.
Pratyahara is defined as the “withdrawal of the senses.” Consciously tuning out smells and sounds and sights helps us tune in to our inner vibrations. Closing your eyes takes care of visual distractions, but not being pulled out of focus by the squeal of a fire engine or the scent of a skunk takes practice! A disciplined focus on your breath works well to filter out the external and turn inward.
Dharana: The sixth limb means concentration on a single-pointed focus. By intentionally focusing the mind on one thing, there’s no space for anything else. In a traditional Dharana practice, the focus is a mantra, “a tool for the mind” but you can also focus on an object like a candle or a flower.
In Dhyana, the meditator becomes one with the object of meditation and can maintain this oneness: in other words, you stop trying to concentrate and just concentrate. In that stillness, clarity or discernment has the chance to take root.
Distraction is easy. Focus is a challenge, but it is worth the effort. Presence can equal freedom because you’ve released any attachment to future results and accepted what is right now. Discipline, commitment, and patience are essential tools in developing a meditation habit. This week’s classes offer you support on your path! Enjoy.
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