We’re back to Patanjali, making our way through Book 3, The Extraordinary Powers [Vibhuti Pada] of the Yoga-Sutra. This pada concerns itself with the final three limbs of classical Yoga: concentration [dharana], meditation [dhyana], and integration [samdhi] – and devotes a major portion of the text to the powers [siddhi] that accrue as meditation stabilizes into pure awareness. While acquiring siddhis is a motivating force for many seekers, the harsh truth is the pursuit of power is a slippery slope. The challenge – what some would call the test – is to touch those siddhis and keep on walking. Although vibhuti is often translated as “extraordinary” or “supernatural powers,” I prefer the literal meaning: “that which extends far.” More on that in the dharma talk excerpted below.
Here are the sutras we read last week:
Concentration locks consciousness on a single area
In meditative absorption, the entire perceptual flow is aligned with that object
When only the essential nature of the object shines forth, as if formless, integration has arisen.
Here’s an excerpt from my talk:
Here’s a clip of chanting the new sutras:
Here’s the dharana I gave before meditation:
Finally, here are the Mary Oliver poems I read at class. This first one strikes me as a near perfect articulation of vibhuti….. The second, well read it and see what you think. From where I sit, it’s all about living the non-dual life, what some circles refer to sahaj samadhi, samadhi with open eyes!!!
I wanted to speak at length about
the happiness of my body and the
delight of my mind for it was
April, night, a
full moon and —
but something in myself or maybe
from somewhere other said: not too
many words, please, in the
muddy shallows the
frogs are singing.
Okay, the broken gull let me lift it
from the sand.
Let me fumble it into a box, with the
Okay, I put the box into my car and started
up the highway
to the place where sometimes, sometimes not,
such things can be mended.
The gull at first was quiet.
How everything turns out one way or another, I
won’t call it good or bad, just
one way or another.
Then the gull lurched from the box and onto
the back of the front seat and
Okay, a little blood slid down.
But we all know, don’t we, how sometimes
things have to feel anger, so as not
to be defeated?
I love this world, even in its hard places.
A bird too must love this world,
even in its hard places.
So, even if the effort may come to nothing,
you have to do something.
It was, generally speaking, a perfectly beautiful
The gull beat the air with its good wing.
I kept my eyes on the road.