Yoga Sutras: Stilling the Mind with the Heart
Patanjali Yoga Sutra 3.35
Hridaya Citta Samvīt
“By Practicing Samyama on the heart center, the knowledge of the Mind-stuff is gained”
- Samyama – the practice of Dharana (concentration, meditation practice) Dhyana (meditation, absorbed in state of meditation) and Samadhi (experience of Bliss) together, resulting in the full understanding of an object or theory.
- Hridaya – the heart center or the ‘Spiritual Heart.’
- Citta – the way the mind works as a result of Buddhi (intellect), Manas (instinct) & Ahamkara (ego-sense of self.)
- Samvit – the energy of Knowledge
Limits of the Mind
Have you ever misplaced something and no matter how hard you thought about where that object could be your mind could just not solve the mystery? You then give up hope of finding it, sit down and it hits you. Aha! Mystery solved. If only you could have thought of the location sooner you wouldn’t have spent all that time endlessly searching.
Without a doubt we can observe that our minds are an incredible aspect of our being. Through scientific study and invention, human minds have found some mastery over physics, chemistry and biology. However, no matter how clever or intellectually evolved we become, or how intelligent our artificial intelligence becomes, there are some aspects of knowledge and understanding that exist outside the capacity of the mind.
The Power to ‘Feel’
As humans we can do more than think. We can ‘feel’. We do not need to be told about danger to ‘feel’ danger. We do not need to be told about love to ‘feel’ love. We ‘feel’ our way through the world. The same way that our mind is evaluating and observing our surroundings at any given moment, we are also feeling our surroundings at any given moment.
The ancient practice of Yoga recognizes that the mind isn’t the answer to every equation. The mind may become busy and filled with ideas and thoughts, with one thought blocking and interrupting the other for attention, disrupting the concentration needed to experience the true nature of the world around us and our own inherent nature of Samadhi.
Yoga Sutras Practice
The Yoga Sutras tell us that we can quiet the mind by lowering the mind’s attention, from watching and interacting with our stream of thought consciousness to watching the heart. As we shift our awareness down to the heart we can first feel into the physical aspects of the heart. Concentrating on the location of the heart in the center of the chest, the rhythm of the heart beat and the pulsation felt through the arteries and body (this is Dharana), the heart begins to calm and settle the mind. The mind no longer watches the heart but begins to follow the heart’s lead (this is Dhyana). The heart-stilled mind recognizes the peace of observation without interaction, experiencing a sense of relief (this is Samadhi). From this, True-knowledge (Samyaya), unadulterated by the elements, the gunas, or the veils of perception can be experienced. The mind learns about its own existence from the lessons of the heart.