Dharana, or Your Torture Is My Excitement
August 22, 2010
Dharana is conditioning. It is the method of concentration in which you are conditioning what is called the mind, or generally what is called the thought structure, the psychological structure, that vibrational stuff in the body. So the question arises, how do we condition?
The two forks of conditioning are training and education. Training is repetition of movements, repeating patterns of behavior. Everyone is familiar with negative and detrimental patterns of behavior, which are trained as well. As infants we are born free and clear of any negative behavior, but the potential is always there in the environment we learn. In the repetition there is learning, the understanding why it has to be done. If you are aware of any negative behaviors of your own and ask why they have to be done, the answer is always pointing to ego. Understanding why stimulates the urge to learn or puts a stop to unwarranted actions by shedding light.
Conditioning is a mechanical repetition enriched by a new element. When the Karate Kid was sick and tired of painting the fence, sanding the floor, wax on wax off, he was given the knowledge that infused his discipline with the stimulating urgency he was looking for, and suddenly he could paint, sand, and wax to his heart’s desire with the education infused in his training. The mind can easily become diffused, running in different directions to different ideas (internally in the mind), to different words (externally by speech), and to different objects in our space (the telephone, the television, the computer, etc.). Conditioning brings you back from that diffused state to a collected, composed, concentrated state. It is your energy, and you are concentrating the diffused energy. You are making the mind steady. A mind that was wandering, scattered, running in ten different directions, that is no place for a mind anymore than the side of the road is the place for a car unless broken down.
The greatest difficulty with a mind that can’t be steadied or requires steadying is that the frenetic, scattered mind is operating within a belief system that it is hyperattentive, and working productively on many levels, multitasking. This may be true if focused on one process of work and indeed there is an overall calmness and steady workflow, be it painting, or building, or writing, etc. A scattered mind is one that is pinned across an immovable place and there is tension and conflict pointing inward, yet the ego won’t let go of the different things pulling the mind apart. Before Dhayana, the ego must be refocused to what is right for the self and a steadiness must be achieved.Allowing your attention to wander unnecessarily, unwarrantedly in an irresposible way, you allow your vital energy to be diffused.
The path of Dharana is yours to choose, and there are hundreds. Be it Mantra yoga, where you learn a conditioned way in which to use speech and all sounds, or Tantra yoga, where sex energy is directed upward in the body through postures to the crown of the head with the help of pranayama, utilizing its creative powers. Once again, sex, like the mind, is put in its proper perspective of joy, beauty, and divinity and sanctity for those who can understand and appreciate it, in contrast to the simple notion of dragging it down to only a pleasure level, projecting personal pleasure obsessions on it, pleasure mongering, and therefore missing out on so much that is available us.
Through Dharana, one can arouse the latent powers, the experiences contained in the subconscious and unconscious, all the experiences of the human race contained in all of us, sophisticating the mind.