Practicing “Samyama”

Question

How to use 'samyama' on one object?

—Bharat, India

Answer

Dear Bharat,

You must be studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Samyama, as Patanjali explains, represents the last three steps of his eight-fold path put together: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (union).

In his own words in the Yoga Sutras (3.4): Trayam ekatra samyamah: “These three comprise samyama.”

In his following Sutras, as you know, Patanjali teaches how Samyama on various objects gives specific results. So your question is: “How can I do that?”

In samyama you become the object of your concentration. Yogananda explains that the yogi becomes the atom and therefore knows everything about it. He becomes the universe, or he becomes the light.

So if you want to work toward samyama, you have to decrease your identification with “Bharat,” with your little self and person. This work to transform our self-identification is not only done in meditation, but in daily life. I therefore highly recommend Swami Kriyananda’s book, “Sadhu, Beware.”

Once I asked Swami Kriyananda, “How can I get rid of ego-identification?” I expected some meditative tricks, but instead he recommended to read and practice what he had written in Sadhu, Beware.

In meditation work intensely on the first step: dharana, concentration. Fix your mind on one object and train your one-pointed focus. Try to inwardly see and feel that object. Absorb yourself in it as intensely as you can. In time lets hope you reach the dhyana-state, where you become one with that object. And with more time this leads to samadhi, complete oneness. Once you have that, you have achieved true samyama. Then you can place that samyama on any object and know all that can be known about it.

In short: work on the thought, “I am not Bharat. I am consciousness, pure life, I am formless.” It takes time. This will free your consciousness in meditation for true samyama.

God bless you, jayadev