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Introduction to Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39 Stabilizing and Clearing the Mind

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Introduction to Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39 Stabilizing and Clearing the Mind http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-13339.htm PREPARING FOR SUBTLER PRACTICES: Stability
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      Introduction to Yoga Sutras 1.33-1.39
      Stabilizing and Clearing the Mind
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-13339.htm

      PREPARING FOR SUBTLER PRACTICES: Stability and clarity of mind are
      necessary before being able to experience the subtler meditations or
      samadhi (1.40-1.51, 2.12-2.25, 3.4-3.6).

      ONE-POINTEDNESS BRINGS FITNESS FOR MEDITATION: The specialized
      training of an olympic athlete rests on a solid foundation of
      generalized physical fitness. Similarly, generalized training in one-
      pointedness is necessary so that meditation practices can advance.
      The particular methods suggested in these Sutras relate to the
      removal of obstacles through one-pointedness, as suggested in the
      previous sutras (1.30-1.32). Here are suggestions of Sutras 1.33-
      1.39:

      FOUR ATTITUDES WITH PEOPLE: The first method deals with meditation on
      four types of attitudes towards people, including friendliness or
      lovingness, compassion or support, happiness or goodwill, and
      neutrality or acceptance (1.33).

      FIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR FOCUS: Five specific suggestions of objects for
      focus of attention are given, including breath awareness, sensation,
      inner luminosity, contemplation on a stable mind, and focusing on the
      stream of the mind (1.34-1.38).

      WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE: Lastly, you might practice one-pointedness on
      whatever you find pleasing and useful (1.39).

      DON'T SKIP THE BASICS: Skipping such basic training of the mind is
      tempting, but is a serious mistake for a student of meditation, and
      might result in meditation becoming nothing but a fight with your
      mind.

      FEW WILL GO BEYOND THESE: Many schools of meditation emphasize only
      one method, such as meditation on kindness (1.33), breath (1.34), or
      some other object (1.39), failing to note that, while extremely
      useful, these are only preparatory practices for the subtler
      meditations and samadhi, as described in later chapters (Ch 2, Ch 3,
      Ch 4). Most people will settle for the calming benefits of the
      preparation, and will not pursue the subtler meditations that lead to
      Self-realization.

      STABILIZING VERSUS DISCRIMINATIVE KNOWLEDGE: It is very important to
      note that these contemplations are used to stabilize and clear the
      mind. The later practices are used for discriminative knowledge (2.26-
      2.29. 3.4-3.6). For example, if you are contemplating on friendliness
      (1.33), this is not being done to discriminate that it is a part of
      avidya or ignorance (2.5), and thus, set aside. In the later
      practices, you are discriminating and setting aside (3.4-3.6) what is
      due to avidya or ignorance (2.5).

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