In My Mind's Zen Garden

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Dhyana

Dhyana is the seventh limb of Yoga, and is the act of meditation. To Westerners, meditation is a technique for promoting relaxation and reducing stress. But in Yoga, the aim is to get to the eighth limb, which is Samadhi, union of the individual to the infinite. This is done by stilling the mind to a single point of inner calmness and awareness.

Basic Technique

There are many techniques for meditation. The basic Yogic method is to sit in lotus posture with the spine erect and the eyes closed. Focusing on one’s breath and reducing the mind to a single point of concentration, thus relinquishing all thoughts going through the mind except for the calm stillness. A common analogy would be to imagine a lake or body of water in which no waves or ripples exist. Complete, calm, stillness.

From a spiritual aspect of Yoga, meditation focuses on God, and the divine nature of our universe. From a mind aspect, we bring the mind to a halt except for the inner concentration of oneness and awareness. We focus on the inner eye (typically called the third eye) or mind’s eye, and losing our sense of individuality as it merges with higher consciousness. A perfect example is to imagine our individual self as a bubble. The space within the bubble is our individual self. The goal of meditation is to burst the bubble so that we merge with the greater space around us. And in essence, we become one with the Universe, as the individual self (ego) loses itself to everything surrounding the individual self.

The goal of all previous limbs of Yoga before this seventh limb was to prepare the mind for meditation, and to get to the eight limb.

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