The Context of Your Reality In The Realm Of Connecting With, And Expressing, Your True Nature/Self
The last two limbs of the Eight-Limbed Path are focused entirely on your devotion to, and understanding of, your True Self as an aspect/expression of divine creation.
Dhyana, limb seven, is the time on your path dedicated to meditation and to a fuller 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 beyond the body-mind-ego.
Dhyana marks a graduation; it where you demonstrate your qualification/fitness to do the work of connecting with your Self on a deeper level in order to fully come into all that you are, leaving behind/putting aside your mental fluctuations that keep you bound to/in form.
When you get to this step, you will have already developed (through hard inner 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 focus and 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 in 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 your Self on the deepest mental 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 after enlightenment.
This experience of union with cosmic consciousness, which is the most beautiful full-body, blissful, state that one can possibly attain, 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 compares to the bliss of divine connection, but the work, after connection, then becomes to carry the seed of awareness within you daily so that you can then nurture and sustain it’s presence through integration into your everyday life.
You are, therefore, best served looking to really stellar human models for how to effectively water the seed of this connection in your practice as 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 your Self as an 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 one somehow dies after union with the divine, always about coming back to Earthly reality in, and with, greater Love/compassion (even while being grounded in clear discernment).
When the illusions of Maya threaten to occupy more space within the collective human expression than our species’ True expression, Samadhi is about personally serving as a pure vessel through which the eternal Truth can come into the human plain and do so on such a consistent basis that one literally becomes the full embodiment of Love in action, in whatever shape, form, or, expression one happens to be tasked with bringing this light through.
Once you move beyond enlightenment to liberate yourself from suffering, you can then hold out a hand to help guide others out of suffering as well, effectively expanding your own accomplished bliss out from the Absolute and more fully into the world.
I also further feel that this Eight-Limbed path that we just explored in this four part series, which ends in Samadhi is more cyclical than progressive.
You may find yourself revisiting different parts of the path at different stages throughout your life experience to deepen our understanding and experience with the Truth until we reach final liberation (hence the metaphor of past lives and reincarnation, and our karma [or actions] coming back to shape our present).
If you follow your path diligently and with consistent devotion and practice, however, you can always find your way back home to the blissful union with your truest and greatest Self/expression which is always worth connecting with and is always here “waiting” for you.