The Seventh Limb of Yoga: Dhyana

The seventh of the eight limbs of yoga is Dhyana.                                                            Dhyana (Jhana in Buddhism) isYogini meditation, where the ego and the mind are at rest, and thoughts come and go in pure self-observation. Practicing Dharana, or concentration, can serve as a transition from the chattering mind state to the quieted mind state of Dhyana. With practice this self-observation meditation can lead to a completely still mind, empty of all thought.

It is not easy to get into the Silence. That is only possible by throwing out all mental-vital activities. It is easier to let the Silence descend into you, i.e., to open yourself and let it descend…It is to remain quiet at the time of meditation, not fighting with the mind or making mental efforts to pull down the power or the Silence but keeping only a silent will and aspiration for them.

– Sri Aurobindo, The Integral Yoga

However, in order to be able to practice Dhyana, in order to let thoughts and mind chatter come and go and eventually dissipate, we must learn how to relax the mind and remove stress. Meditation, complete stillness, is possible when our minds are calm and cool. The first six of the eight limbs of yoga are practices that help us to de-stress our lives so that we may reach the state of meditative stillness that is Dhyana.

True meditation leads us to wisdom (jnana) and awareness (prajna), and this specifically helps in understanding that we are more than our ego. For this, one needs the preparations of the postures and the breathing, the withdrawal of the senses and concentration…True meditation is when the knower, the knowledge, and the known become one. This is only possible when one is in a stress-less state. 

– B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life

To actualize the blessedness of meditation you should practice with pure intention and firm determination. Your meditation room should be clean and quiet. Do not dwell on thoughts good or bad. Just relax and forget that you are meditating. Do not desire realization since that thought will keep you confused. 

Sit on a cushion in a manner as comfortable as possible, wearing loose clothing. Hold you body straight without leaning to the left or right, forward or backward. Your ears should be in line with your shoulders, and your nose in a straight line with your navel. Keep your tongue at the roof of your mouth and close your lips. Keep your eyes slightly open, and breathe through your nostrils…Many thoughts will crowd your mind, ignore them, letting them go. If they persist be aware of them with the awareness which does not think. 

– from the Fukanzazengi (Zen Buddhist text)

As in the ocean’s midmost depth no wave is born, but all is still, so let the practitioners be still, be motionless, and nowhere should they swell.

– Sutta-Nipata

I felt in need of a great pilgrimage

So I sat still for three days

And God came to me.

– Kabir 15th century Indian poet

About Julianne Victoria

I am a Spiritual Counselor, Shamanic Healer, Writer, & Creator. I hope to help heal, teach, and inspire others on their souls' journeys and in this life. © Julianne Victoria and Through the Peacock's Eyes Press under the Common Law Copyright
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24 Responses to The Seventh Limb of Yoga: Dhyana

  1. sv says:

    Reblogged this on E'n'M.

  2. As a side note (no need to post this) I have used the same, or a very similar, peacock photo. It’s mazing at how affective this image is at conveying meaning. 🙂

  3. PS My point is that when, or if one makes a earnest practice of an Eastern modality, whether it is the Buddha-Dharma, Yoga, Hinduism, Jainism or Taoism, many of the words cannot be satisfactorily translated because it’s simply not possible because we don’t have English equivalents, and that is why learning the language or origin is so useful, along with reading lots of primary Sutras/Suttas/Scriptures to understand the true meaning of the words, as well as experiencing the experience to which the word is merely a signpost (as all words are,of course!)
    🙂 🙏

    • Yes, very true…and though I am just beginning to study Sanskrit, I have a background in language and linguistics, which I draw on in trying to “translate” the essence or vibration of the meaning of various religious and spiritual terms, ideas, and views into English words that describe the feeling of what the words mean. That may not make sense to many, but psychically sensing the meaning of things/reading the energy of the words is part of being able to explain things. Of course this is difficult to explain in words! 😉

      • Yes, that makes perfect sense. It’s all semantics, after all. I’ve been studying Pali and Sanskrit for over 16 years, and it certainly helps, but as the Buddha says: I’m just a finger, pointing at the moon. If you focus on my finger, then you miss the moon, the real message. (paraphrased, obviously) 😉
        Your blog is great! As you said, it’s difficult to explain in words, but in blogging, words are pretty much all we have.

      • Thank you! I like your blog as well and will be back to read more. Namaste 🙂

  4. Nice introduction and assembly of quotes. 🙂
    Just a side note: Jhana is Pali and Dhyana is Sankrit, for the same phenomena, but both are used in Buddhist teachings, it just depends on the time period and school of Buddhism.
    Samadhi, Dhyana/Jhana, Mindfulness, etc are elements of the practice of Meditation, but not synonyms. Their quite distinct events (not to imply that you implied otherwise, besides the clarification that Dhyana is very much a Buddhist term, in Sanskrit)
    There are basically 4 stages of Dyana, as well as 4 “formless” Dhyanas, in the Buddha Dharma, and although attaining these aren’t essential for Awakening, they do play a significant role.
    The word Zen and Ch’an are the Japanese and Chinese words for Dhyana, and why meditation is so highly emphasized in Zen and Ch’an. (JustFYI) 🙂
    Namaskar 🙏

  5. Powerful and refreshing. Thanks for this.

  6. Hmm, well I certainly have great respect for anyone who can manage to get the mind chatter out of their brains. I fear I fail at this one horribly. The more I think that I mustn’t think, the more I find myself thinking about it.

  7. Ajaytao2010 says:

    I Nominate you for a Bouquet of Awards – 8 Nominations

    Please Choose any 2 of the awards
    please accept it and oblige

  8. vam says:

    A great introduction to the way to transcendence, to the frontier of our being dissolved in peace and consciousness. Wondrous, totally refreshing, considering how aligned we usually are at the other one formed of matter – the body and its urges.

  9. “It is easier to let the Silence descend into you, i.e., to open yourself and let it descend…” Yes, it is with so many other things, too, this difference of trying hard vs simply allowing. Or trying hard not to try hard…:D One of the deep old programmings often absorbed early in life in the Western culture is that nothing is of value unless you have tried or worked very hard for it…

  10. Mamta says:

    It is a very good read.

  11. Powerful in every way. May all being meditate. It will change the world we have created.

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