Monday, March 17, 2014

Sanksrit Word of the Week: Samadhi

As part of my curriculum for yoga teacher training through Holistic Yoga Therapy Institute, I am required to read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  I am then further required to journal each week about a Sutra that impacted my life in that seven day span, culminating in a one page article on the Sutra that MOST impacted my life over the course of the training.

I'm at it again.  Trying to read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and I keep seeing the word SAMADHI.  And, it's not always alone.  Sometimes it's also joined by other words I don't understand.
For example:
  • SABIA (with seed) SAMADHI
  • NIRBIA (seedless) SAMADHI
  • SAMPRANATA (distinguished) SAMADHI
  • ASAMPRAJNATA (non-distinguished) SAMADHI
  • SAVITARKA (deliberation) SAMADHI
  • NIRVITARKA (without deliberation) SAMADHI
  • SAVICHAR (reflective) SAMADHI
  • NIRVICHARA (non-reflective) SAMADHI
So back to the beginning I go.  
What is SAMADHI?

According to 
SAMADHI [suh-mah-dee] is:
noun:  hinduism, buddhism
the highest stage in meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe.


In the Yoga Journal article, titled Seeking Samadhi, Judith Lasater wrote: Samadhi is a state of being intensely present without a point of view. In other words, in samadhi you perceive all points of view of reality at once, without focusing on any particular one. 

This reminded me of my first job as a freshly minted college graduate working for a big box home improvement retailer.  Hired as a department manager to oversee the design center, I focused my attention solely on my own department.  Armed with only a degree in interior design and no real world experience, I had no concept of how my department impacted the rest of the store.  In my infancy as a retail manager, I could not see the big picture.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success, it takes 10,000 hours to successfully master any skill.  I worked for that company for approximately three years or 6,000 hours (achieving a couple of promotions along the way) before it merged with another big box retailer; it's doors eventually shuttered.   In that time frame, I made tremendous growth as an individual and as a manager, expanding my focus to better comprehend how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.  And while I still had a lot to learn, I'd like to believe I'd achieved some level of retail manager enlightenment.  And perhaps, if circumstances had been different, I may have even reached "master manager" status.

Twenty years later and on a completely different path, this time striving to become a certified yoga instructor, I again find myself in my infancy working toward the same goal:  Samadhi...but this time in Patanjali's terms.

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