Samadhi, the Yogic Trance, and the Waking Realisation

The yogic trance, samadhi, is considered a goal for the spiritual seeker, providing access to the realisation of spiritual Oneness. In the integral yoga, however, dropping of the outer life and activity and entering into a trance state is not the end goal. The consciousness that is experienced in the trance state is to be brought down and made fully active in the mind, life and body of the seeker in daily life. The initial links to this higher state of consciousness occur in trance because there is no direct connection or link that has been made fully operative and the human psyche simply does not know how to respond to or process the impact of that consciousness. The withdrawal into trance provides a gateway for such a relation, but eventually, the trance must, and will, give way to the active intervention of this higher state of awareness in a transformed, or at least transforming, mind-life-body complex.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The experience you had is of course the going inside of the consciousness which is usually called trance or samadhi. The most important part of it however is the silence of the mind and vital which is fully extended to the body also. To get the capacity of this silence and peace is a most important step in the sadhana. It comes at first in meditation and may throw the consciousness inward in trance, but it has to come afterwards in the waking state and establish itself as a permanent basis for all the life and action. It is the condition for the realisation of the Self and the spiritual transformation of the nature.”

“…it is in the waking state that this realisation must come and endure in order to be a reality of the life. If experienced in trance it would be a superconscient state true for some part of the inner being, but not real to the whole consciousness. Experiences in trance have their utility for opening the being and preparing it, but it is only when the realisation is constant in the waking state that it is truly possessed. Therefore in this yoga most value is given to the waking realisation and experience. … To work in the calm ever-widening consciousness is at once a sadhana and a siddhi.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Work, Meditation and Love and Devotion, Samadhi, pp. 153-154

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