To encourage you to discover the Yoga Sutra on a deeper and extra private degree, artist and Sanskrit professional Melissa Townsend shares three visible meditations tailored from her guide The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali–A Visual Meditation; Book One, Samādhi Pādah
“These paintings are the results of my spiritual practice,” she says. “It’s showing up, engaging deeply with each sutra, listening to what arises, and grounding myself in the creative process.”
You can use Townsend’s artwork earlier than your subsequent meditation practice to see if it provides you a deeper which means of the Yoga Sutras. Start by studying every sutra’s translation and commentary and chanting it a couple of occasions. Then, merely sit and let your eyes relaxation on that sutra’s accompanying picture for a number of minutes. If you keep in mind the sutra, it may be good to mentally chant it as you take a look at the artwork, however it’s not essential. Finally, shut your eyes, meditate, and see what comes up for you. Afterward, you may need to paint or draw your personal interpretation or expertise of the sutra, or write about what comes up for you a journal.
Sutra 1.9 Meditation
Use It to Ignite Your Imagination and Encourage Abstract Thinking
Translation: Imagination is assumed based mostly on phrases—with out precise substance.
What does vikalpa imply? Interpretation:
In Patanjali’s definition of creativeness (vikalpa), a thought or concept exists solely by way of phrases. It has no goal actuality or precise substance separate from the phrases that describe it. Someone can say “a red-winged horse,” and a transparent picture seems in your thoughts—however there isn’t any precise red-winged horse aside from the picture in your thoughts that the phrases created.
Vikalpa can be translated as “conceptualization” or “abstract thinking.” This can embrace metaphors (a “heart of gold”) or ideas like time, area, or soulmates.
It additionally consists of all of the many subjective methods we categorize concepts, individuals, and issues to offer them which means and to assist us navigate and make sense of the world. All such conceptualizations are finally imaginary and as a lot a product of phrases as the incredible red-winged horse.
See additionally Decoding Sutra 1.15: Dispassion is the Conscious Mastery of Desire
Sutra 1.14 Meditation
Use It to Get Inspired to Commit to Daily Practice
Translation: Practice is firmly grounded when it’s continued for a very long time, with out interruption, and with full religion (proper angle).
What does abhyāsa imply? Interpretation:
This sutra expands the definition of follow (abhyāsa) and states that to ensure that our apply to be efficient, we should often and sincerely work at it.
The paintings I created for this sutra exhibits drops of water that may slowly fill a pool till it turns into a reservoir. The blue of the water mirrors the blue pearl of meditation (a glowing mild that many individuals report experiencing once they meditate). The droplets and the pearl each symbolize the constant, intentional work of stilling the thoughts.
While engaged on this piece, I used to be impressed by a picture of an enormous underground reservoir created slowly and painstakingly by the Fremen, the fictitious indigenous dwellers of a hazardous, barren desert in the Frank Herbert novel Dune. Just like the water collected so diligently by the Fremen, our apply turns into deeper drop by drop. These gather right into a pool, then fill a lake—and ultimately turn into an ocean that sustains us.
See additionally Decoding Sutra 3.1: Embracing Sadness Through Deep Focus
Sutra 1.35 Meditation
Use It to Explore Your Senses as a Route to the Divine
Translation: The expertise of delicate, divine ranges of the senses additionally establishes steadiness in the thoughts.
What does samadhi imply? Interpretation:
Each of the 5 senses is usually a car for delicate, divine experiences that may convey peace and steadiness to your thoughts and transfer you towards samadhi (union with the absolute)—the eighth and ultimate limb of yoga. Sensory experiences—corresponding to visions, sounds, tastes, aromas, and bodily sensations—can come naturally as a perform of grace, or they are often the end result of sure methods and practices. These sensory perceptions can convey nice calmness and peace and function a gateway to an expertise of transcendence.
About the Author
Artwork, translation, and commentary from The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali–A Visual Meditation; Book One, Samādhi Pādah by Melissa Townsend. Learn extra at melissa-townsend.com.
See additionally A Yoga Sequence to Help You Balance Effort and Surrender