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What is Samadhi

The last of the 8 limbs, ashta-anga, in Patajanli's Yoga Sutra is Samadhi. The complier and 7th century commentator Vyasa writes "Yoga is Samadhi".


This is a 5 mins excerpt from my weekend workshop Clinical Pranayama, recorded in 2006. Here I speak on samadhi, and give an example of a small samadhi experience which was a regular part of my previous career when I was doing a lot of Eastern Bodywork as part of my Naturopathic clinical practice. I also explain the difference between the small samadhis and the big samadhi (with the absolute).


Maya results when trying to measure the immeasurable.

Measurement has three components -- the subject which measures, measurement itself and the object which is measured.

Objective knowledge via measurement of Self is incomplete, thus the strange incompleteness of what stares back in the mirror.

De-objectifying Self therefore is the means to go beyond a merely historical, objective self-knowledge.

De-objectifying Self is the aim of Yoga.

De-objectifying Self

Let's start very carefully. There is a sense of self. It would be too much to say that one has a self.

In fact, this language causes a split (viyoga) in that primary sense of self, that subjective beingness which is alive with freedom and creativity and whose beginning, end and depth is unknown. Primordial awareness, Jnana, splits into a sense of self wondering about itself and objectifying itself therefore. Jnana imagines itself as objects, entire interdependent chains of objects, entire worlds. This is the cosmic view. But back to the local view.


We wonder , does 'the self' survive death? Where does 'it' go during sleep? Self, that is to say, ourselves become objectified this way, and then questions pertaining to objects are illegitimately applied to 'it'. What's its location in space-time? When did it come into existence? Who created it? When will it die? So many traps. So now, let's get back to experience.


We know from common experience that the usual sense of self can be carried into dreams in the form of lucid dreaming.

We know from less common human experience that this can even be carried into deep sleep, which is described as the terrifying 'Great Void'.

And finally, we know from even less common human experience that this sense of self is commensurate with Sat Chit Ananda. But for most of us, experience stops at lucid dreaming.


With careless language use, we open to wondering about self (ourselves) as objects, wondering about 'the self'.

Thinking about 'the self' is self-objectification, it is Viyoga and for which Yoga is prescribed and which is the practise of dhyana until samadhi, until beingness is non-dual awareness with no presence of objects.


But we begin with a sense of self which identifies with body and mind. The body is surely limited in space and time, but what about mind? If mind began with the body as a fetus, as a new born then it too will perish with the body. This is a real possibility to consider.

This sense of self is identified with death, being identified with the body/mind. It fears death. It wonders 'Is there something of me which survives death?'. It conceives of the 'soul', an atomic entity which sort of floats from place to place through time, dragging one along from one life to another. This sense of self is tied to materiality, temporality and mortality, and is stuck in a repetitive, cyclic existence, or Samsara.


Note that materiality is a a subjective condition while 'matter' is a concept to try to contextualize the primary subjective experience. And as a concept, it falls flat. The same for Time vs. Temporality.

There is no Time, no Absolute Time as a thing which awareness watches like an object outside of itself, as if an object. Again, there is no time, only temporality.


And further, Relativity Theory says that we do NOT share a common, single clock... because there isn't one, there is no absolute time existing apart from Jnana, apart from subjectivity, the primordial subjectivity that we are. No, instead temporality exists as a condition within Jnana. Temporality, materiality and mortality arise interdependently within Jnana as self-experience.

And nor do we share a common, uniform space. Instead, we are overlapping, individual space-time frames of reference. We are subjective, individual points of reference, like so many eyes, so many selves. But objectification, objectification, objectification.

Maharishi Yajnavalkya says...

There is a sense of self. It is identified with materiality, temporality and mortality. Full Stop! Do not think about self any further. Neti Neti. -- Brahadaranyaka Upanishad

I will lead you...

From Impermanence/Asat to Satya

From Materiality/Temporality/Tamas to Luminosity/Jyotir

From Mortality/Mrtyu to Immortality/Amrtam

You will find me in the Brahadaranyaka Upanishad, but also everywhere else that you look. I am Sat-Jyotir-Amratm. I am the Primodial-Light-Immortal.


Me and Missy taking a lunch break during a workshop on Ayurveda in 2014.

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