Learn more in this talk with Esther.
We’ve arrived at the final limb of the eightfold path – Samadhi – meaning ‘liberation’ or ‘realisation’. These words are sometimes associated with a kind of ‘otherworldliness’ – almost as if to reach the state of true freedom we have to transcend ourselves and our lives.
And there’s a reason it’s called realisation – it’s because reaching Samadhi is not about escapism, floating away or being abundantly joyful; it’s about realising the very life that is within us right at this very moment.
Reaching Samadhi is not about escapism, floating away or being abundantly joyful; it’s about realising the very life that is within us right at this very moment.
The ‘great whole’
Yoga is a spiritual practice meaning the individual awareness dissolves into the ‘great whole’ … but what does this mean?
As humans we can often feel as if we’re separate or that somehow our lives are incomplete and lacking something. If only we could afford that new car, or get that great job, or reach that ‘ideal’ weight, or even manage headstand away from the wall (!) somehow our lives would be complete!
Whether what we’re seeking is material or spiritual, a helpful question to ask is “who is doing the seeking?” Often, if someone asks who we are, our answers are tied up in the story of what we’ve done, what we’d like to do, our job, our roles of daughter, son, mother, father, wife husband…And usually within these stories is a sense of something we’d like to change, achieve, improve or get rid of.
Letting go of the story and the seeker
Breaking the word in half, ‘sama’ means ‘same’ or ‘equal’, and ‘dhi’ means ‘to see’. Samadhi encourages us to let go of these stories, this seeking, and ‘see equally’ – without disturbance from the mind, without our experience being conditioned by likes, dislikes or habits, without a need to judge or become attached to any particular aspect.
Instead of attaching to happiness or a sensation of ‘bliss’, Samadhi is about seeing life and reality for exactly what it is, without our thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, pleasure and pain fluctuating and governing it. Not necessarily a state of feeling or being, or a fixed way of thinking; just pure ‘I – am – ness’.
The message of Samadhi is that completeness is not to be found in the past or the future or the stories we build around our lives – it’s to be found in the present moment.
More on the Eight Limbs of Yoga…
Guided programme: for a good grasp of each of the eight limbs through informative talks, yoga, Pranayama and meditation, EkhartYoga members can follow our Eight Limbs of Yoga programme.
Further reading: The Eight Limbs of Yogas explained.