A Raja Yoga Retreat Reflection

Garden ShrineThe summer retreat in Hawaii named, The Mental Sadhana of Yoga:  Climbing the Eight-Limbed Tree of Classic Yoga, was a beautiful three days of meditation, chanting, and listening to Babaji expound on Patanjali’s Raja Yoga along with the commentaries of Vedavyasa and Vivekananda.  As we learned of the Raja Yoga, we also had the opportunity to learn many Sanskrit words. We also were blessed with Babaji’s insightful Vedantic comparisons with Raja Yoga, and the chanting and reading of the Bhagavad Gita every morning.  

Retreat offers all of us a time of spiritual focus and absorption in Sat-Chit-Ananda, but how to carry that through in the days and weeks later? The summer retreat brought about a deepening of my practice and in gratitude to Babaji and all those rishis that have gone before him,I humbly respond with an offering of intention.  Light offering to Light.

Let me truly focus as I walk the spiritual path.
A focused practice that includes:  Svadhyaya (scriptural study), clear discrimination of the kshetra (the field) and kshetrajna (the Knower of the field), sincere Vairagya (detachment), and time of quiet for Dharana  (focusing inward), and Dhyana (meditation).

Let me embrace practice with form.
As long as I find this world of form to be real, so long shall I practice with form; a humble recognition for an Advaita Vedantist.  The first two limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga include a list of vows and practices called the Yamas and Niyamas.  While these appear to me now as a practice with form, one day with Mother’s Grace they will be seen as the natural expression of one absorbed in Formlessness.

Let me practice Ishvara-pranidhana (devotion to God with form).
With my thoughts turned towards Ramakrishna lost in samadhi as he contemplates Divine Mother, or Ramana Maharshi absorbed in the simplicity of Atman, I each day humbly offer my obeisance, my heartfelt surrender.  May I dissolve in their Divine Light.

Let me abide in that which I am, Pure Consciousness.
In meditation, let me be absorbed even for a moment, with the sense that all is Awareness, for then, little by little, this illusion of diversity will lose its hold on me.  A quote from Patanjali that summarizes the retreat:  “quelling and mastering the vibrations of the mind is conducive to attaining yoga — union with Reality.”

Om Tat Sat