Through my experience on the yoga mat, I believe that every spiritual student needs to start with the kind of contemplation practices that cultivate stillness of mind. In order to liberate the mind, we need this stillness, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
Cultivating mindfulness - or sati - means finding a seat of awareness within you that is without judgment. The stillness breaks all the patterns of your past actions and reactions and creates a space for true growth. But to get there takes practice, and the only way to cultivate stillness is by practicing meditation and contemplation.
Every student on this yoga journey starts as a seeker. All of us on this path have suffered through the material world and are actively seeking to answer - what is the nature of suffering? If suffering is inevitable, is true peace possible?
With sati, we can find the answer to this question. Through meditation we uncover and break down the habits of our mind that lead us through this continuous cycle of suffering.
Without sati, all of those mantras we tell ourselves, all the contemplation and prayers, they can never penetrate the subconscious mind. To make a long-lasting impact on your quality of life, you must make an impact on the subconscious mind, which is the stronghold of all your past habits and patterns. But we can never get all the way through to the subconscious without a quiet mind.
How do you cultivate a stillness? In five minutes.
Stillness doesn’t happen overnight, but training in sati can start with as few as five minutes of meditation. After twenty minutes you’ll start tapping into the stillness, and after forty minutes you can start reaching deep down to the root of your mind.
The longer you sit in meditation, the harder it gets to reach the subconscious mind. It can feel strange, frightening, and it may upset you. You may feel as if you are losing your identity. But as you start to chip away at the old foundations of your subconscious to make way for the stillness we are cultivating here, you’ll find that you’ll get much farther on this journey when you have a balanced mind.
Listen now for ways to train in sati, find equanimity, and build your spiritual yoga practice on a strong foundation of stillness that will make penetrating the root of your mind that much easier.
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