I have been doing yoga for about 2 years only. A lot of yoga but for a brief time. Although I have been accused of being ansana boy at times my response has consistently been that daily practice and frequent multiple classes are a clear indication of my devotion. Although there are many aspects of the asana and pranyama practice that I find enjoyable and meaningful, I have increasingly come to view Savasana as my favorite part of class.
I have reflected on the nature of my experience in savasana and tried to understand it in relation to my seated meditation practice which I have more recently started. I know that it is different in many ways. First I have recall that I have some mentation but cannot remember the specifics. Second I realize that the connections among the fleeting thoughts that float by is very loose. Third, time is very distorted: it could be 10 minutes or an hour. Finally, I can best judge when I am in this deep preconscious state as I break out, like a scuba diver emerging to the surface from beneath crystal clear water. But I struggled. Is this a meditative state I asked myself and my teachers without any certainty.
But today I think I found my answer.
Meditation on the Nature of the Mind
So, today, let us meditate on nonconceptuality. This is not a mere state of dullness, or a blanked-out state of mind. Rather, what you should do is, first of all, generate the determination that ‘I will maintain a state without conceptual thoughts.’ The way in which you should do that is this: “Generally speaking, our mind is predominantly directed towards external objects. Our attention follows after the sense experiences. It remains at a predominantly sensory and conceptual level. In other words, normally our awareness is directed towards physical sensory experiences and mental concepts. But in this exercise, what you should do is to withdraw your mind inward; don’t let it chase after or pay attention to sensory objects. At the same time, don’t allow it to be so totally withdrawn that there is a kind of dullness or lack of mindfulness. You should maintain a very full state of alertness and mindfulness, and then try to see the natural state of your consciousness—a state in which your consciousness is not afflicted by thoughts of the past, the things that have happened, your memories and remembrances; nor is it afflicted by thoughts of the future, like your future plans, anticipations, fears, and hopes. But rather, try to remain in a natural and neutral state.
“This is a bit like a river that is flowing quite strongly, in which you cannot see the riverbed very clearly. If, however, there was some way you could stop the flow in both directions, from where the water is coming and to where the water is flowing, then you could keep the water still. That would allow you to see the base of the river quite clearly.
Lama, Dalai (2009-10-01). The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living (p. 313). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
Thanks for reading,