What do I really know about samadhi? That eighth limb of yoga… super-consciousness or this ecstatic state of bliss? When I came into yoga and started studying the eight limbs, I thought I would simply attack them one by one, in a sequential order of sorts. As time went on, I saw both the ridiculousness and the humor behind my delusional plan. Truth is, the limbs, the yamas, the niyamas, the need for meditation or concentration, those things come and go as we live our lives. There is no advanced yoga college for you to really isolate yourself and get an advanced yoga degree – except for daily life. Even our sticky mats are just petri dishes for experimentation and of course, practicing. Practice for when we put our shoes back on and go out to interact with life as it presents itself to us. I knew intellectually that there is no goal in yoga, except to stay present and pay with sweat equity. Intellectually I dropped the idea that I would or should ever experience samadhi. In reality, I had my hands full with the basics.
So now, after doing this kind of energetic, physical and spiritual work, plugging away – I have found that the last several months have brought an inner shift in me. I don’t know how to explain it except to say that things are vibrating at a different level. Tagging along behind this little shift in vibration for me is an occasional wave of bliss. I’ll be at the park with my kids or driving down the road, and my thought process just dies down to a straight line, as if it were a hospital heart rate monitor – you know, the kind you see in the movies when somebody’s heart stops. As the mind settles down, I am hit with a wave of complete awareness and peace, a feeling of being a part of everything around me. I have no resistance to the present moment, am just fully integrated into it. Everything in the world seems like matter-of-fact perfection. Sometimes it lasts for 20 seconds, sometimes up to 5 minutes. I am aware of it without language, and the minute I try to think about it, it’s over.
I was pondering these experiences, thinking that this must be a slight feeling of what enlightenment feels like. As I tried to find a word to describe it, the word super-conscious came to me. It wasn’t until one day, looking through some yoga lecture notes, that I came across the words super-consciousness next to Samadhi… and I wondered, is that what I am experiencing? A little taste of samadhi? I think so.
I’m laughing, thinking that Samadhi is something that we can work our way into, like a 10 step plan or big formulaic equation. I have absolutely no control over those moments, they just happen to me. When I’m in that little moment of bliss and understanding, I don’t experience any clinging to it. It passes away and as consciousness returns, it seems natural to just smile and move on. I also notice that there isn’t any ego in those moments, it’s just an awareness without words. I don’t feel like – hey now I’ve arrived!, it just seems as natural as sneezing and moving on. It’s definitely hard to describe.
One thing I’m learning that having a taste of samadhi (if that’s what it is), is different than enlightenment – or having a sustained experience that lasts instead of coming and going. What I do know is that trying to get that sustained state of super-consciousness is a definite way to push it away! Even looking forward to the next super-conscious experience pushes further from the present moment.