The eighth and final limb of Patanjali’s path to liberation is samadhi, total awareness and knowledge of the wholeness of the universe. It is transcendence of self and a state where knowing, knowledge and being known combine into a single universal vibration.
According to Patanjali, everyone is capable of such universal consciousness but it takes a lifetime plus an instant to get there. Unfortunately, there are a variety of limiting factors that get in the way of this universal knowledge. Nine, in particular, according to Yoga Sutra 1.30:
- lack of mental effort
- inability to concentrate
- false knowledge
- lack of perseverance
The good news is that all of these obstacles can be overcome. It only takes one lifetime plus one instant of commitment to do so.
Finding Samadhi is akin to facing all your distractions, your ambitions, your fears and your personality. It is facing all the limiting factors and completely detaching yourself from their existence. Unfortunately, understanding this idea without actually experiencing it is said to be impossible. Since Samadhi is comprised of complete awareness yet absolute impartiality to the contents of the mind, its very existence is a paradox of understanding.
The mind is filled with millions of ideas and impressions, gleaned from a lifetime of observation and experience. Samadhi is the complete detachment from these observations, but knowing about the existence of Samadhi can only be based on life’s experience (i.e. yoga teachings). Thus, arriving at samadhi is suspended disbelief and a paradox of understanding. Examine and believe in the concept anyway.