The 6th, 7th and 8th limbs of yoga according to Patanjali are commonly translated as: Dharana - Concentration, Dhyana - Meditation, and Samadhi - Bliss or Union or Integration. I have been reading Health, Healing and Beyond by TKV Desikachar, and he translates them slightly differently.
Dharana - The ability to direct our minds.
Dhyana - The ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand.
Samadhi - Complete integration with the object to be understood.
These translations help my understanding of the concepts, especially with Dhyana. Meditation is one of the main processes that we can use to develop interactions with what we seek to understand, but according to this translation it is the interactions, not the meditation itself that is the focus.
I have always struggled with the meaning of Meditation. What is it? Does the mind stay completely focused or release from focus? Do we meditate on an idea or object, or do we meditate on nothing? These translations lead me to believe that all of these possibilities are useful forms of meditation. These various acts of meditation allow us to interact with what we seek to understand. Sometimes it is something, sometimes nothing.
These translations also shed some light on the meaning and process of Samyama, a concept that Patanjali elaborates in the 3rd chapter of the Yoga Sutras. In my understanding Samyama is a deep integration with an object or idea, somewhere beyond the concept of Samadhi.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga