Sutra 1:18

As our insight into the transient and illusory nature of our our emotions and beliefs evolves through the practice of concentration, our compassionate inherent characteristics begins to surface. This compassionate state evolves to a point where subtle impressions within the subconscious mind which gives rise to actions, reactions, and intentions associated with fear becomes non-existent. At this point, even the inclination to protect oneself ceases to exist. As this happens, a yogi’s identification with ego disappears, as does the object that is being meditated upon. This state of universal inclusiveness where the personal self merges into the universal creation of no boundries is known as asamprajnata samadhi.

Sutra 1:18

The highest level of concentration is the outcome of asamprajnata samadhi. Through further practice (abhyasa), even the subliminal (shesha) content of mind and all its latent impressions (samskara), from all past experiences, conscious and subconscious, that form the ego or mind, are transcended and as a result cease to exist (virama). The observer, the process of observing and the observed all collapse into one. The knower becomes the known.

From this we can deduce that Patanjali is telling us that when the majority of the world sit in Meditation, they are not meditating, but attempting to meditate. In this sutra Patanjali explains different states of awareness, and degrees of concentration before the consciousness evolves enough to make contact with meditation.

Without non-attachment to your desires and intentions, and acceptance for where you are in life, your mind will flutter at dizzying speeds. If the mind is not still, then there will be no concentration, and if there is no concentration, then there is no Meditation.

These days, self promotion creeps even into affairs of meditation and devotion. It is quite easy to find people trying to establish their proficiency in meditation, without having a clue about the ardous prerequisites that precede this elusive quest. Whenever His Holiness, The Dalai Lama is asked about his experience in meditation, he is quick to fire back with a mischeveous smile, "Just a little bit above zero." He is well aware that the quest of self-realization is the noblest, but the most elusive of affairs to embark upon. Yet the miracles bestowed upon you along the way merits the journey.

We daily enhance the self through cosmetics, jewelry, social standing, or material status to look appealing, and be appreciated in the eyes of others. We strive to secure our self worth in another's eyes based on our looks, and status in society, easily mistaking it for love. Hardly ever does it dawn upon us that this effort is nothing more than a desperate attempt to secure our social connections associated to our Drive and Affiliation Inclination, and has nothing to do with love.

Since we place our hopes on the shifting likes and dislikes of someone else, and rely upon the beauty of a body that is rotting, shame of rejection; and pain of abandonment begin following us like vultures do carcus. Soon follow instances of rejection, whether real or imagined, they are perceived as a threat to loss of social connections. Since the reaction to this emotion is based in the sympathetic nervous system, we take it as threat to our very survival and react accordingly with anger, anxiety, and/or depression.

Since there will always be someone better looking and more successful, frustrated desires will eventually lead to feelings of envy, jealousy, and hatred for others. Attention is focused on one object but the thought may wonder. This is when the attention is brought back onto the object of concentration by effort.

But what is wrong with this type of concentration? I have a nice career, make lot's of money, and have plans to grow my business to another level. Why would I want to cultivate my concentration, the process of which could be uncomfortable and even painful?

The power of concentration is not developed for attainment of material success, nor to surround yourself with people who can be impressed by such. It is We must not remain content, however, with the lower forms of concentration. These may bring us physical health, prosperity or success, because concentration always gives power; but even though we acquire more wealth, greater honor or increased bodily strength, we shall find that one part of our being still remains unsatisfied in spite of all our worldly acquisitions. Never will it be content until we awaken and begin to work for our higher development.

Nor should such work be regarded as selfish, because all human beings are bound together and as we unfold our own spiritual nature we cannot fail to benefit others. The same life runs through and through everywhere; and only he who can seize hold of that subtle spiritual being hidden in every heart, will know how to solve the riddle of this human existence for himself and be able to render lasting help to his fellow-men. That one alone lives happily and fearlessly. Now we are fearful because so many things are hidden from us: we fear the future because we do not know what the future may bring ; we fear death because we are not sure what may come after. For this reason we must learn to focus the mind and turn it within, then by its brilliant light we shall understand all things and attain the vision of Truth.

The purpose of meditation is to gain that vision. Nor must we stop until we have seen by direct perception our true Self and our relation with the Supreme. That must be the purpose of all our spiritual practice. When the mind becomes fixed on the Supreme Being, when through meditation we are united with that Power, then we have fullness of vision. This is called the superconscious state or Samadhi. As we concentrate on That which is All-Light, the darkness of mind and body will vanish; for what we constantly think upon, that we become.

There is only one Power, one Intelligence, one Mind, which is God, and our mind is nothing but a reflex of that Universal Mind. As it works separate from that Mind, it remains unintelligent, ignorant, powerless; but when it becomes united with It, it attains a state of complete illumination: "After having attained which no other gain seems greater ; being established wherein man is not overwhelmed even by great sorrow."

If you analyse the information the universe is giving you, than you can make choices in response to that information by analysing the needs of society by looking into what emotions are driving them.

  • 1:18 virama pratyaya abhyasa purvah samskara shesha anyah
  • VIRAMA - cessation, stopping, receding.

  • PRATYAYA - cause, cognitive principle, content of mind, cognition.

  • ABHYASA - practice.

  • PURVAH – preceding, coming before.

  • SAMSKARA – deep impressions, imprints in the unconscious, deepest habits, subliminal activators, traces.

  • SHESHA – residual, subliminal.

  • ANYAH – the other.