Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pratyahara

"Withdrawing the senses, mind, and consciousness from contact with external objects, and then drawing them inwards towards the seer, is pratyahara." (Yoga Sutras)

Better still, from Wikipedia:

"Pratyahara is the fifth element among the Eight stages of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga. At this stage, the consciousness of the individual is internalized in order that the sensations from the senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell don't reach their respective centers in the brain. It is also termed as the 'withdrawal of the senses'. With this, the Sadhaka, or disciple, is free to meditate without distractions."

Given our fast paced, sensory overloaded lifestyles, this whole concept of pratyahara seems so unattainable. We never sit still long enough to just be. If we do sit still for a spell, we are still adding to our sensory input (excluding sleep) by way of conversation, reading, watching tv or whatever.

We all wail the same complaint that we never have time to sit and just be. Why is that?

Me? I am guilty as charged. I can't even get myself to practice daily meditation, so how can I ever expect to get to this stage? But, hope springs eternal. I figure if I at least put it on the horizon, somewhere along the line it will be a closer target.

I can't help but think how lovely it would be to be able to achieve such a state where the world's distractions do not exist; at least they are suspended somewhere in time like call waiting. Where I have the luxury to wander within my own mind and explore what is in it. On one hand, it sounds so grand and glorious.

On the other, it seems totally terrifying!

8 comments:

Greyscale Territory said...

Fascinating post!

And love the soft shadows in monochrome!

Hey Harriet said...

A great read and a beautiful shadow shot :)

Gina said...

Beautiful photo..really appealing and interesting info too, thanks for sharing :D

The Summer Kitchen Interiors said...

Qutie a beautiful shadow- very calming!

smith kaich jones said...

What a great photo with this post. I remember once, years ago, laying in the tub at night - just candlelight, staring at the plug handle thingy at the foot of the tub & just becoming quite hypnotized & the next thing I knew I realized I'd been absolutely without thought or feeling or anything for a few minutes. Awareness back on. It was pretty wild & pretty wonderful & I've never even gotten close to that again, but I've also never forgotten it.

:) Debi

M.Kate said...

very nice shot!!

Sandra Evertson said...

Beautiful!
Sandra Evertson

Paula Scott said...

"The mind has a natural tendency to roam between the sensory inputs. In this situation, as there are no longer any other significant sensory inputs, when the mind gets tired of hearing, it is forced to turn inward." (from Wikipedia)
Which is what happened to you, Debi! Neat, huh? I wish I had it within me to do this at will.
Thanks, everyone for all the great comments!

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