Meditation riding the chariot of sadhana

The book Chariot of Sadhana holds a wealth of information for the person serious about their meditation practice. Based on the work of Drs. Martin and Marian Jerry, and Mahamandaleshwara Swami Veda Bharati, this book explores the connections between the science of meditation and what the doctor authors call psycho-technologies. The information in the book is firmly grounded in the classic work of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and the profound understanding of meditation that the Himalayan tradition has in its custodial care. The major impetus of the work concerns the advanced stages of meditation known in the Yogic tradition as samadhi (absorption). The authors explore some of the benefits that the psycho-technologies have for understanding a major aspect of meditation practice, dispassion.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras explain that the most highly prepared student of meditation, whose ultimate end is samadhi, is one who has an understanding of the experience of what is termed ‘practice’ and ‘dispassion’. Practice for the prepared student is their continued understanding of the subtleties of absorption, and along with this their ability to be completely dispassionate towards the goings on in the mind-field. For the western student this might seem odd based on the often watered down explanations of the meditation practices that circulate. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras explains five different levels of this absorption. The first four being related to gross, then subtle thoughts, the feeling of ecstasy that is experienced during the practice, and the subtle sense of I-ness experienced therein. The lower stages of absorption are crowned by a state called asamprajnata samadhi, that is, an absorption beyond wisdom, a supreme absorption with no object required..

These authors have a firm understanding of the hindrances the beginning student might have even getting to the lower states of meditation. This understanding has come from their sincere practice of the meditation methods and their clinical understanding of the effects of the psycho-technologies. A combination that is rare in today’s world.

Since the beginnings of our western investigation into the ways of the adepts, we have been intrigued with the profound understanding that they have of the mind. Many of the techniques of current psychotherapy are based on what scientific psychology, related now to counseling techniques such as the psycho-technologies alluded to here, has observed with the meditation adepts.

The psycho-technologies the doctors refer to will not be new to many; although, their relationship to the revered practice of meditation will be. The two paradigms are energy psychology (popularly presented as EFT here) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Two of the authors, being a medical doctor and psychologist, have seen the benefits of merging what they understand about meditation with these seemingly new developments in wellness. The outcome of these two techniques results in dispassion, dispassion being a primary means for developing an understanding of our internal world, an understanding of ourselves. The doctors have seen the techniques of EFT and NLP produce this dispassion in their practice and note how it could support and even speed the progress of the serious practitioner. This is the greatest benefit of the book, to show the serious student, the adhikari, the possibilities available to them for progress through the mental/ emotional difficulties they might experience as a meditator. In the end this book helps reaffirm Patanjali’s axiom that Yoga is samadhi (spiritual absorption).

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