Week 15: On Spiritual Rebirth (Sutra 19)

“Those who merely leave their physical bodies and attain the state of celestial deities, or those who get merged in Nature, have rebirth.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sutra (Thread) or Lesson 19: Bhavapratyayo Videha Prakrtilayanam

Bhava: existence, birth | Pratyayah (pratyayo): content of mind (mental modification) | Videha: bodiless (gods/spirits) | Prakrtilayanam: merged into nature

When union with the Prakrti/true self is obtained in the physical body, our consciousness leaves the Earthly plane in what can somewhat be described as an “out-of-body experience.”

Patanjali calls this experience “rebirth” for the Yogic practitioner.

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Week 14: What Does It Mean To “Be In The World But Not Of It” (Sutra 18)

“[U]nderstand the nature completely, then bring it under your control and then push it aside and get liberated…There is no other way except to understand it, handle it properly and then rise above it.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sutra (Thread) or Lesson 18: Virama Pratyayabhyasa Purvah Samskaraseso’nyah

Virama: complete cessation | Pratyaya: content of mind (mental modification) | Abhyasa: by the practice | Purvah: of the previous | Samskara: impressions | Sesah (seso): remain | Anyah (nyah): the other [samadhi]

What does it mean to “be in this world, but not of it?”

Well, in Yoga, the simple answer is to be in a state of consciousness referred to as Samadhi.

It is important, however, to remember that, according to Patanjali, there are two types of Samadhi, Distinguished Samadhi (Samprajnata Samadhi) , and Undistinguished Samadhi (Asamprajnata Samadhi), which have nothing to do with the common use of the word distinction that we often use to elevate something to a more honorable place than something else in our Western societies.

The difference between Distinguished Samadhi and Undistinguished Samadhi is in the technicality of how identity, or the “I” self, is present or not present/perceived within the two given states.

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Week 13: Contraindications For Samadhi | A Lesson For All Yoga Practitioners, But Particularly For Healers, Teachers, And Those Who Are In Service To Their Spirit, A Cause, Or To Others (Sutra 17)

“There is a danger [when practicing Samadhi]…but we have to face the danger of it. That is why you have to prepare yourself with purity…[The danger is the selfishness of ego, itself, so] your new-found powers…should [, therefore,] not be used for selfish purposes.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sutra (Thread) or Lesson 17: Vitarka Vicaranandasmitanugamat samprajnatah

Vitarka: reasoning | Vicara: reflecting | Ananda: rejoicing | Asmita: pure I-am-ness | Anugamat: due to the following, from accompaniment | Samprajnatah: distinguishing, discerning; [samadhi: contemplation]

Going beyond practicing Yoga for personal attainment, to using our personal attainment to serve others by holding the space for their healing, growth, and transformation is, I feel, the highest honor, and goal, of our work. It is also, I would go on to suggest, the highest function of Samadhi when one has the ability, or “calling,” to be a healer, a teacher, or a person in service to a cause or to humanity.

First, we purify ourselves from our own attachment to pain and other ego-satisfying clingings, such as desires, and then we build our capacity to hold a safe transformative space for others to do the same, without running away from their sadness, pleasure-seeking behaviors, pain, and suffering in the same way that we did not run away for our own sufferings or desires, but instead gain mastery and control over them by facing them head on.

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