' Samadhi '...

The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening by Steve Taylor..

Wakefulness in Indian Traditions.

Of all cultures in the post-Fall world, ancient India developed the deepestunderstanding of the state of wakefulness and the most sophisticated systems of self-development in order to attain the state. In the Hindu tradition (leaving aside Buddhism for the moment), this understanding is expressed through texts such as the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and in traditions such as Yoga and Tantra. In common with other traditions, Yoga philosophers made a clear distinction between temporary experiences of awakening and wakefulness as a permanent state. In its temporary form, awakening could occur as savi1calpa or nirvikalpa samadhi.

Samadhi literally means "ecstasy," and savikalpa samadhi literally means "ecstasy tied to a particular form." This means seeing the world as the manifestation of spirit, and realizing that we're part of its oneness and therefore one with everything in the world. However, in nirvikalpa samadhi the world of form disappears all together. It dissolves into an ocean of pure spirit, which one feels is the ultimate reality of the universe. (This is equivalent to the high-intensity awakening experiences I described in the previous chapter.) One has the same sense of oneness as savikalpa samadhi but without the concept of self. A person doesn't become one with the world they actually become it.

However it's also possible to live in a permanent, ongoing state of samadhi, called sahaja samadhi. In this state, samadhi becomes integrated into everyday life. You can live a completely normal human existence- working, eating, and interacting with other people, even thinking when necessary - and may appear to be a completely ordinary person. But inside, you have no sense of separateness, and are free of fear and desire. There's a continual sense of inner stillness, peace, and wholeness. As the Upanishads express it, the individual self - atman - becomes one with the spirit-force that pervades the universe, brahman. You become aware that your essential nature - and the essential nature of all reality is satchitananda (being-consciousness-bliss). Bliss or joy is the nature of brahman, so union with brahman means experiencing this bliss.

The main focus of Hindu spirituality, therefore, is union, which is one possible translation of the term yoga. Wakefulness in this tradition is about transcending the duality between subject and object, between the individual and the world. It's about realizing that, at the essence of your being, you are one with the whole universe. At the essence of your being is a blissful spiritual energy, a pure radiant consciousness, that is indestructible and eternal. This energy is also the essence of everything else that exists, and of the whole universe itself. When you experience this, you move beyond sorrow and beyond death.

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