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Suspension of Mento-emotional Operations

Query:

How "conscious non-operation" is a state of Yoga. It suggests suppression hence movement of consciousness.

 

It is correct that suppression in consciousness of any aspect of it is preparation for yoga meditation (samyama). However, the correct statement is not suppression but is suspension which is also a onetime action which commands the system to cease the vrittis.

Initially a student cannot do this suspension. Therefore he/she does the suppression which requires mental exertion and emotional disconnection which is a part of the fifth and sixth states of yoga which are pratyahar sensual energy withdrawal and dharana deliberate focus on a transcendental aspect of focus.

This involves suppression of those aspects which the mind pursues and is compulsively focused on but which is not the objective of yoga.

Let me consider the aspects which are to be suppressed or suspended (preferably suspended). Bear in mind that if the person cannot suspend an undesirable action in the mind or emotion, he is left with no other alternative but to suppress it. If he is lucky the suppression will cause the suspension of the undesirable aspect and he will then be in a state of meditation. Suppression can lead to suspension. That must be realized. Suppression may be the only way for a beginner to curb the mind.

The advanced yogi makes an action to suspend what is undesirable in terms of activities in the mind but a beginner finds that the mind does not respond to his suspension attempts hence he has to suppress. Otherwise, he has no chance to be in a meditative state.

What are the vrittis which are to be suppressed or suspended?

  • correct analysis
  • incorrect analysis
  • imagination
  • memory
  • sleep

The first two are direct operation of the intellect (buddhi), where it services the psyche by providing analysis of sensual information in a correct or faulty way.

The imagination is primarily a function of the intellect but it takes help from the memory.

Hence the first three may be rated as functions of the intellect.

The memory is a storage unit which houses ideas. These include thoughts and images. This memory cannot be illustrated except by the intellect which is the illustrator of a memory. Hence for this memory, the control of the intellect indirectly controls the memories because they are inactive if they are not illustrated by the intellect.

The last vrittis is the one of sleep which is totally an aspect of the kundalini lifeForce. By properly surcharging the kundalini using pranayama breath infusion, the yogi can for the duration of a meditation, prevent the spell of sleep. If the kundalini lifeForce is fully energized it will not sleep during the mediation period.

 

If this above is confusing or if it does not address specific issues, please inform me.

 

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Replies (8)
  • Would you please say more about the difference between suppression and suspension? An example?

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    • Would you please say more about the difference between suppression and suspension? An example?

      This above applies to the meditation session, which is the four higher states of yoga. However, Patanjali listed only the three highest stages because for him it was a matter of control or suspension of the unwanted operations in the mind/psyche of the yogi.

      Suppression is the preliminary stage but it is used by about 99.9% of yogis. This is because they do not have the control over the mind/psyche whereby they can suspend the undesirable operations.

      Once there were three cubs with a lioness and the father-lion. The mother tried her best to get the cubs to follow her to a safe place but they ignored her and kept playing. The lion observed this and roar once. Immediately the cubs did as the mother requested. In this example the actions of the lioness are similar to the effort of suppression while the single authoritative roar of the lion is like suspension. In suspension there is immediate command. No resistance is given. No argument is made. In suppression, resistance is felt, arguments are voiced. There may or may not be compliance. With suspension, there is compliance because of an enforceable command.

      With the lioness, the cubs expressed this feeling:

      “We are not in a mood to do as you say. We will not comply.”

      With the lion, the cubs felt this way.

      “We will do what you say. Whatever hesitation there was, has disappeared.”

      Pratyahar, the fifth state of the ashtanga yoga system, consists of suppression of the natural expressions of the psyche. This requires effort with application of mental/emotional counterforce. The outward going energies are held in check. For some of us, we find that this is impossible and yet we make the endeavor to hold those forces just as when we were children and wanted to use our fingers to stop water from flowing through a garden hose. What happened is that the water squirted through our fingers. But some of it did not come out. We were partially successful.

      But then an adult came. He turned a valve which was too high on the wall for children to reach. Immediately the water ceased flowing. This is similar to suspension.

      When there is spontaneous thinking, we do not usually make any effort to stop it. However, we are requested to do so when we to practice meditation. We find however that the mind rarely complies with the request to cease a thinking pattern. The student makes the request by a willpower action in the mind but the sequence of thinking continues just as if that request was not made. In some experiences it seems that the thinking becomes more emphatic when the request is made.

      At this stage the student may consider some means of suppressing the thinking function of the mind. He may invent a method or he may get one from a senior yogi. In either case when applying that method, he may find that it is or is not effect. This is mostly a method for suppression of the thinking system. In the example of the kid’s efforts to use fingers to stop water from gushing from a garden hose, when the kids get older, their fingers get larger and the effort produces better results. Similarly, when the yogi practice more and more, he finds that there is more effective suppression as he practices day after day. But that is not suspension.

      Suspension of thinking process means that during the meditation, the yogi has some mental/emotional command or action (kriya) which causes the mind to immediately cease the thinking.

      Think of mice playing in a room. A cat enters. Even if the cat does nothing, the mice will cease their games and scamper away. The cat is such an authority that his mere presence causes the suspension of the mice’s activities and the mice themselves even.

      A masterful yogi may have involuntary thinking in the mind from time to time, but during mediation his mere interest in silencing the mind causes the thinking operations to cease. That is suspension, which is the superior method.

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      • Thank you for the very good examples. Do you recommend a kriya that could be practiced to move in the direction of suspension? 

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        • That would be like a book to describe a complicated set of sluices to control the flood zone.

          To be honest a lifetime, or lifetimes, of suppression practice causes the yogi to develop a suspension power whereby the mind heeds the commands to desist from creating thoughts during the meditation session.

          It is more about who you are, as to your authority within the psyche. Merely saying that you are it or that you are absolute or that you are God or are the equivalent of God does nothing to cease the shenanigans of the mind.

          Steady practice day after day with acute observation informs the yogi about his lack of power to control the psyche. He must attempt to control the thinking process by various methods just to see which one works for him.

          For instance:

          • Does chanting a specific mantra, or saying an aphorism, stop the mind dead in its tracks when it is involved in displaying mentally a set of ideas or a sound pattern heard or learned before?
          • Does giving a willpower command stop a thinking event in the mind?
          • Does tearing the attention away from the thinking mechanism in the mind, cause that thinking process to cease?
          • Does withdrawing interest from a thinking process cause the thinking to cease?
          • Does becoming disgusted with the impulsion of the mind during meditation, cause the mind to cease a mental event?
          • Does beginning a new idea in the mind cause a current idea to cease?
          • Does being a neutral or critical observer of mental displays cause those ideas to cease?
          • Does having faith in a yogaGuru or a deity immediately stop a thinking pattern to terminate?
          • Does changing the location of the observing iSelf cause the mind to cease thinking patterns?
          • Does wholeheartedly listening to naad cause the thoughts to disappear?

          That is a list of some mental/emotional actions (kriyas) which may be used for ceasing thinking during meditation.

          Which is effective for the particular yogi?

          Obviously, this is not as simple as one may desire it to be.

           

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          • Oh darn. I thought I would just be able to throw a switch and all the lights would come on. I'll keep going a kriya at a time.

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            • First is to breath infuse the system, any which way.

              That helps considerably to bring the mind to order.

              If thoughts are noticed, go to the back of the head or link to naad sound if it is available.

              Remain there so long as the mind seem to have the tendency to have thoughts.

              If you come forward your presence will empower the thought mechanism if that mechanism is in action. The degree of empowerment has to do how indulgent you were when the original event took place which is related to that thought. Like the time when you were with your girl friend. Due to the mental intensity of the event, it has a power which defies your willpower.

              The more dramatic was the event, the more power its memory imprint will have to control your attention. This means that you will have to keep a safe distance (by staying at the back of the subtle head) from the related thoughts.

              If they are no thoughts, if the mind is found to be silent when you first sit to meditate, you should still go to the back of the head or link to naad sound resonance but look forward. Do not go forward because then you run the risk of having those girl friend related memories arising to control your attention all over again.

              Look forward to see if there are any supernatural developments, visions or inspirations. If they are observe them but without pursuing them. If you pursue them, the mind will shift to a lower level and the meditation will sink to a lower plane of consciousness.

              It is likely that in some sessions, someone, a yogaGuru or deity, appears or is felt to be present. You should open yourself to such influences.

              Also take note of thoughts which defy your authority. Trace these back to the particular memories or persons involved and realize what a whimp you are/were. Then take steps to avoid those type of incidences.

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              • Excellent instructions. I will follow them. Thank you from a whimp. 

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                • Very very informative dialog!! Thank you both! 

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