Concentration is the unwavering focus of attention on a single object in consciousness.
Meditation is the effortless flow of sustained concentration.
Reflection is when objects in consciousness are directly experienced as they are, free of mind, with no degree of separation.
Concentration, meditation, reflection. These three constitute samyama – detached awareness.
Through mastery of samyama, the essence of wisdom is illuminated.
It is applied in stages.
The three aspects of samyama, are more intimate and internal than are the five self-restraints previously described.
But even these are external to the seedless absorption of samadhi.
Thoughts arise from no-thought, play out, then vanish. In the emptiness between thoughts, the mind is capable of self-reflection.
When thought is absent, the flow of mind is stilled.
When mental distractions disappear, what remains is one-pointed awareness.
One-pointedness is when the arising thought and the vanishing thought are the same – with no gap between.
In this state, the mind passes beyond the realm of forms and sense organs – beyond observation of attributes, ideas of purpose, and perception of apparent change.
The three properties of specific forms are: potential characteristics, manifest characteristics, and the unmanifest source common to all forms.
The interplay of these three properties creates the appearance of evolutionary change.
The practice of samyama on the triple-nature of specific forms leads to an understanding of past and future manifestations.
The sound of a word, the object it denotes, and the thought conjured up by the word are confused by the ordinary mind as being the same. By practicing samyama on the distinction between these, the yogi comes to understand the meaning of sounds made by all living things.
By practicing samyama on the flow of thought-images, knowledge of previous existence arises.
By practicing samyama on others, knowledge of their thoughts arises.
However, the object of another’s thoughts – being distinct from thought itself – cannot be known by the practice of samyama.
By practicing samyama on the essential nature of his own form, the yogi gains control over the emanations that make his body visible to others.
In this way also, he gains control of the emanations of sound, smell, and substance of his body, and can thus vanish completely from the senses of others.
Some actions in life bear fruit quickly, others ripen late. By practicing samyama on the karma of his life, a yogi comes to know the exact time it will end. This can also be known through signs and omens.
By practicing samyama on empathy, compassion, and non-attachment, one gains union with others.
By practicing samyama on any attribute of an element or animal – such as the strength of an elephant – that attribute will be attained.
By practicing samyama on the inner light, one perceives the subtle, the hidden, the mysterious and minute.
By practicing samyama on the sun, one gains knowledge of the planetary worlds.
By practicing samyama on the moon, one gains knowledge of the positions of stars.
By practicing samyama on the pole star, one gains knowledge of the movement of stars.
By practicing samyama on the center point of the body, one gains knowledge of the systems of the body.
By practicing samyama on the throat center, one gains control over thoughts of hunger and thirst.
By practicing samyama on the “tortoise” nerve duct in the chest, one becomes immovable.
By practicing samyama on the radiant center of the head, one attains visions of perfected beings.
Also, all these things can be known without samyama – on the spontaneous clear light of Realization.
By practicing samyama on the heart, the working of one’s mind – and the minds of others – can be known.
The bondage of experience results from a failure to discriminate between the highest aspects of personal identity and the true Self – which are completely different. The spiritual aspect of personal identity is merely an agent of Self – which is totally independent and exists for its own sake. Practicing samyama on personal identity as separate from Self leads to Self-knowledge.
Through samyama there arises a spontaneous realization, and the powers of hearing, touch, vision, taste, and smell reach beyond the sense organs to the realm of extra-sensory intuition.
They are powers in worldly experience, but obstacles to samadhi.
When the bods of sense experience are loosened and the mode of transference understood, the consciousness of a yogi can enter another body.
By mastering the vital force that governs the upper chest, the yogi can rise above water, swamps, thorny paths and the like, and ascend at will.
By mastering the vital force the moves the abdomen, the yogi can emit a blazing radiance.
Through samyama on the relationship of the ear to the Void comes divine hearing.
Through samyama on the relationship of the body to the Void, comes the lightness of cotton and the ability to move through space.
Through samyama on awareness without the body – the great incorporeal Awareness – the veil that obscures the light dissolves.
Through samyama on the five aspects of forms – gross manifestation, elemental nature, subtle characteristics, interplay of the three gunas, and significance to the observer – the yogi obtains mastery over forms.
Thus he can become the microcosm and attain all other powers, as well as perfect the body – which is no longer subject to the laws of form.
Perfection of the body includes beauty, grace, strength, and the crystal hardness of a diamond.
Mastery of the senses comes through samyama on the mechanism of perception, on the essential nature of the sense organs, on the sense of personal identity, on the interplay of the three gunas, and on the experience being created.
Thus the yogi can move at the speed of thought, perceive without senses, and transmute matter from one form to another.
Through samyama on the distinction between the spiritual component of personal identity and the true Self, one becomes all-knowing and attains mastery over all things.
Through indifference to all these powers, the seeds of bondage and sorrow are destroyed and unity is attained.
When divine beings appear to flatter and invite the yogi to join them, attachment and pride must be avoided, otherwise he will fall once more into ignorance.
Through samyama on the smallest movement of time and on the succession of moments, one attains the capacity of discernment.
Thus one can distinguish between identical objects that cannot be distinguished by species, characteristics, or position in space.
Wisdom born of discernment delivers one from ignorance. It comprehends all things at once – what has been and what will be – in an eternal moment without succession.
When the mind is as clear and empty as Self, liberation occurs and Unity obtains.