The Context of Your Reality In The Realm Of Connecting With, And Expressing, Your True Nature/Self
The last two limbs of the Eightfold Path are focused entirely on your devotion to, and understanding of, your true self as an expression of divine creation.
Dhyana, limb seven, is the time on your path dedicated to meditation and to the full integration of all aspects of your being. This step on your path is where you do the hard, and important, work of integrating all of your previously cultivated social, physical, and mental aspects in order to then use them effectively to connect with, and to then reside within, the subtler, more pure, aspects of your expression. This stage, because it requires intense focus, acceptance, and understanding, is also marked by your full devotion/commitment to connecting with your true self/expression.
This stage on your path marks a graduation; it where you demonstrate your qualification to do the work of connecting with your spirit on a deeper level in order to fully come into all of who you are. When you get to this step, you will have already developed (through hard work, effort, and practice) the ability to be a morally sound actor in the world who knows how to effectively use her/his body and breath to regulate physical functions and to calm the mind, and you will have also gained enough restraint and control over your senses and desires to then use your full power of concentration to devote yourself to the singular aim of connecting with your divine aspect and bringing it into full expression in the world. Because you will have balance/equanimity when you reach Dhyana, and therefore be undistracted by worldly things, in this stage, you can then fully immerse yourself into the work of cultivating a connection with the ever-present unchanging consciousness that animates all of creation and honor its expression through “you.”
In Dhyana, you will commit yourself to yourself on the deepest possible level so that you can then fully observe yourself objectively with the clearest mind attainable and truly see what is there to be experienced and expressed. As you wait in this state of alertness and clear inner vision, your true self can then reveal itself to you and you are then able to, with enough openness and surrender, reach the consistent and integrated state of Samadhi, which marks your union with your divine expression.
The words consistent and integrated are important here, because attaining a state of union with your divine expression can occur spontaneously after the deliberate practice of surrendering (in the form of meditation, ritualistic practices, and by other means, for example), but the experience of your human consciousness connecting with cosmic consciousness must also, I feel, become normalized and integrated into everyday experience since you will continue to exist in human form for as long as you are alive.
This experience of union with cosmic consciousness, which is the most beautiful full-body, blissful, state that one can possibly attain, from my occasional experience of it, is about more than just being in an eternally good-feeling state of being. I know this because after my first connection with my divine expression, I was still tasked with the responsibility of living in reality in America and on Earth. Nothing else compares to that bliss, but the work, after connection, then becomes to carry the seed of awareness within one daily so that we can then nurture and sustain it’s presence through integration into our everyday life. I always, therefore, look to a few really stellar human examples for how to effectively water the seed of this connection in my practice as my examples of what the full embodiment of Samadhi is truly supposed to look like, individuals whose examples of fully living life after experiencing this connection stand out as true testaments to the beauty of fully embodying our expressions as aspects of the divine spirit.
Numerous examples abound, from sages and enlightened saints, to the fictional or real character of Jesus Christ (who despite the fact that I am not a Christian, serves as one of my favorite examples of this). These figures, after connecting with the truth of who they are, come back to reality to serve others by spreading their knowledge and by living as examples of our embodied divinity. And, by doing so, they illustrate different ways that we can integrate our knowing of who we are into our lives, as we live amongst the illusions and facades of our collective maya in societies and so forth. Samadhi, is to me, in most cases, unless we somehow die after our union with the divine, always about coming back to our Earthly reality in, and with, greater and greater love.
When the illusions of maya threaten to occupy more space within the collective human expression than our true spirit, Samadhi is about serving as a pure vessel through which this spirit can come into our human plain on such a consistent basis that we literally become the true embodiments of true Love in action, in whatever shape, form, or, expression we happen to be tasked with bringing this light through within. And I further feel that this is so that once we have managed to liberate ourselves from suffering, we can then hold out a hand to help guide others out of it as well, effectively expanding our bliss out from the cosmos more fully into our world.
I also further feel that this Eightfold path, that ends in Samadhi is more cyclical than progressive, and that we can find ourselves revisiting different parts of it at different stages throughout our life experience (hence the metaphor of past lives and reincarnation, and our karma [or actions] coming back to shape our present), but, if we follow it’s route diligently and with consistent devotion and practice, we can always find our way back home to the blissful union with our truest and greatest self/expression which is always worth connecting to.