Samadhi is enlightenment. Samadhi means “joining together” or “a state of wholeness”. Within many spiritual traditions Samadhi refers to the deepest state of meditative consciousness or enlightenment. Swami Rama– Master of the Himalayan Tradition described samadhi as the highest state of wisdom. And Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra’s claimed that samadhi was the final limb and ultimate reward of yogic practice.
Patanjali’s second sutra or aphorism explains the aim of yoga philosophy and practice. Yoga chitta-vritti-nirodhah. This translate to “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”. Or “yoga is samadhi”. The aim of yoga practice at every level and in every moment is to attain the highest of all states – samadhi.
But, what is samadhi?
For Patanjali samadhi is not about communing with God. Gods existance or not, was of no concern to him. “Oh yogi,” he says “you have to know yourself on all levels.” You have to understand your body and how it works. You have to know how your body affects your mind. It is only then that you can begin to look into your mind. Only when you understand your mind and discover what is conscious and what is not – that you begin to understand yourself. And when you understand your Self, you understand the Self of all – the Absolute Self (Brahman). This is called Absolute Truth. This is samadhi.
The Katha Upanishad – an ancient Indian text – described samadhi as a feeling of tranquility that is never disturbed, no matter what happens. While experiencing the tranquility of samadhi, your mind becomes so balanced that you are able to enter the fourth state of consciousness – turiyaor the superconscious state.
All of us have experienced the first three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming and deep dreamless sleep. However a few – yogi’s who practice the inner yogic path – become aware of the fourth state – turiya – superconsciousness or universal consciousness. By attaining turiya – you come in touch with the source of knowledge and infinite love. You gain access into the library of intuitive knowledge.
Turiya is acute, heightened perception not limited by human or ego needs. In the state of turiya– the yogi is still susceptible to mundane challenges – but because all conflicts within and without are resolved – nothing in the world can disturb him.
The Fluctuations of the Mind
Until we reach the state of samadhi – our minds fluctuate between sankalpa (intentions) and vikalpa (imagination). Both sankalpa and vikalpa have positive and negative effects.
Sankalpa helps with discipline and enables us to focus on and achieve goals. But sometimes these intentions can become obsessions that prevent us from growing or achieving higher states of being.
Vikalpa – our imagination may be a wonderful source of creatively – helping us see alternative ways of being. But imagination may also give rise to fear, doubt, mental lassitude – preventing you from achieving your potential.
Hardwired for Tranquility
Yoga practice disciplines body and mind – giving you control over both – so you may stop the mental fluctuations at will. With regular yoga practice we train and develop neural pathways to achieve a states of tranquility. Over time our bodies become hardwired to maintain these states of tranquility – making it possible for us to attain Superconsciousness or Samadhi.
Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you programs that enable you to unlock your personal genius.
Nitasha’s yoga training began in childhood and she has been trekking into the Himalayan peaks to meet her teachers and to teach for over 25 years. Her wisdom on traditional yoga and meditation practices is immense. Her personal practice is one of dedication, perseverance and humility.
She is a Senior Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals and leads Yoga training and retreats globally.