Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi
What are Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi?
Dharana + Dhayana = to Samadhi which for the 1% of people on this planet is the supreme goal of practicing yoga. This 1% of spiritual people are known as monks, baba’s, sadhu's, and believe that the physical world we all live in is an illusion, the body and mind will stop one day but the soul is eternal. So they train themselves with spiritual techniques and mastering deep meditation so that they are connecting with a higher power to learn what is true knowledge.
Dharana & Dhyana are the 6th and 7th limb of sage Patanjali's Ashtanga yoga and is the level where the mind starts to look inward, to be able to connect with the spiritual world. Spiritual powers of flight and the ability to seemingly not breathe are achieved at this level of concentration. The lower elements of earth, fire, water, and air do not exist for the practiced yogi.
Four types of Dharana
There are 4 types of Dharana that are practiced for the overall outcome of being in deep meditation. They are to be practiced in the right order with the first being
- External observation, which means to look around your immediate environment. The surroundings you look at are to be natural landscapes with nothing made by the hands of people.
- External concentration follows observation and means to focus your attention on one particular object in your surroundings. Again you must be in a natural environment and concentrate on something like a spot on a river, the leaf of a tree or any constant in nature.
- Internal observation will come next and is the practice of focusing on your breath and body. Your eyes are closed in this method of Dharana and it is to help in relaxing your mind so that outside distractions in the landscape will have no effect on you. Here you can begin to close off the world to focus on one thing.
- When you come to the 4th practice of Dharana, known as Internal concentration, you will be in meditation with a calmed mind that is able to think of nothing.
The goal of these 4 stages of Dharana is to make the yogi weary enough to make going into meditation easier, and by focusing on external objects you are straining your eyes and making them tired.
Dhyana is a deeper and more focused form of meditation and can bring you great knowledge of what is real in the world. You can connect with deities who will guide you in things you wish to see, from the past, present or future. You can look at your chakras and notice the ones that need to be cleaned and the attachments that still need killing. Concentration on this level is achieved because your mind is calmed and has the ability to be still. To have a still mind you have to kill all the things that go through your mind and that keeps your thoughts busy. These are called desires and attachments and should be cast into the fire as soon as possible.