Advanced Pratyahar Interest Withdrawal
Pratyahar Sensual Energy Withdrawal is a complicated practice which has many stages for accomplishment by the ascetic. It begins with massive ignorance about that the person self is. Due to this ignorance, the first stage of this practice even though vital, is misleading and must corrected as the student proceeds.
Think of a man who has no memory of his home besides the name of city in which the home is located. To find the house, he inquired a from several people who did not know the place. Finally, he asked someone who said that New York, the place he inquired of, was in a southern direction. Taking that advice and being relieved, he began travelling there.
It took some time but he finally reached New York. When he entered the city limits, he was exited but there were so many buildings that at first, he became disillusion. He thought, “Where is my place? Which is my home?”
Eventually he asked a man who was friendly to him and who recognized him. Pointing to a building, the man said, “That is your home.”
He entered that house. He was pleased to find the residence. It was spacious. There was a servant on the premises. This lady recognized him. He wandered inspecting the place. He did not have a memory of the layout. He quietly checked everything noting the items and their locations. Eventually after not understanding the layout of the place and being a bit confused, he queried the servant, “Where is my bedroom? Where is my office?”
The servant showed him those places. He was relieved.
Pratyahar practice is similar in that one begins with a wide sense of self. This is narrowed again and again as one proceeds. At first the entire psyche is involved in the effort just as for the man an entire city was attested as being his home. But as one progress this is narrowed again and again until finally one is left with a coreSelf and its adjuncts.
At first pratyahar concerns objects which are outside the physical body. The act is to retrieve all interest which was invested in these objects. There is a wholesale effort to do this and a specific targeted effect which is the withdrawal of interest to a single or combined object. The effort is to retract interest in these objects.
During meditation, the student feels interest energy leaving the body and going to objects which are outside the body. He/she retracts this interest. This is done in meditation where one feels lines of energy being drawn into the feelings of the physical body.
After this practice is done sufficiently, the student realizes that apart from the general outward flowing interest, there are specific interest which are difficult to curb because there are innate interests in these objects and resistance to any effort to retract these concerns.
During meditation the person focuses on the specific resistances. He/she realizes the cause of these interest and figures methods for decreasing their power over the self.
Once the withdrawal from the external world is complete or is near complete, the yogi realizes that the pratyahar sensual energy withdrawal which was completed is the elementary stage of this practice. This happens when he/she realizes that the self or psyche is a composite situation. It appears as one thing, a person self which is a physical body which has feelings which comprise a psychic being. But this idea is false.
This does not mean that the subtle body or even the physical one is false, but it means that the consideration of it as being a self or person is erroneous and should be correct. This does not mean that there is no person self but it means that such a self must be redefined after a close inspection as to the composite parts of the psyche.
If a winch is attached to a truck. If then a heavy object is tied to the winch, the action of the winch is not the action of the truck. Th winch gets power from the engine of the truck and still the winch directly pulls the weighted object and not the trunk. For the purpose of advanced meditation, one must be specific. For the beginner’s level one can be non-specific.
When the yogi realizes that his pratyahar practice for retracting interest in physical objects is elementary, he makes the decision to sort the parts of the psyche. What was considered by him to be his person initially is no longer regarded as such but all the same he does not in a huff and puff claim that he is no longer a self or person or that his self or person is no longer anything, is no longer a target or object.
The decision to sort the parts of the psyche must be followed by years of meditation practice because the clarity about this is hard to achieve. Nature which impressed on the self that it was a physical body does not easily render clarity about the various components in the psyche.
If I am not my physical body, as nature originally suggested, then what am I. In fact, some ascetic when they reach this level of practice, harbor and express doubts about being persons. Some say there is no person and that the entire mock-up of a self as a physical body is just that, is an illusory configuration. They relieve themselves of the responsibility for being psychological targets.
- I denounce my existence
- I abolish myself
For inSelf Yoga™ when the yogi realizes that retraction of sensual interest into the physical body is an incomplete act, he does not become frustrated. He is encouraged to speak to a teacher about this. He mentions that he suspects that there is more to the practice. He explains that he is disturbed by the discovery that the physical body and the feelings of it is part of a complex system.
At this stage the student is ready to listen to the explanation about the coreSelf and its adjuncts. If a winch operates to pull a dead weight, the situation is more than the mere winch. If the winch is powered by a truck, we have some parts to consider which are:
- the dead weight
- the winch
- the power supply
These are the dead weight, the winch which rotates and the engine which supplies power to the winch.
If we wish to relieve the winch of the weight, we must disconnect the steel cable which runs between the winch and the weight. Like this the yogi sorts the components of the psyche. He must figure how best to withdraw the various interests which are connected from one component to the other.
Once the student understands that he/she must know the components, the next challenge is to figure which component is the core of the operations. At first there was this self which was a physical body, now for the yogi, that physical self is discovered to represent a psychological something. But this psychic being has composites. Which concern of which of these composites, should be retracted?