Dhyana is having a blank mind?

wide-legged boat - Ricardo das NevesWell, like I said, it’s a blank mind, but in a good sense.

“Blank” oftentimes connotes “inactive” and “non-discerning.” We’re talking blank as in “uncrowded with distracting thoughts” but still razor-sharp.

How do I know if I’m having a blank mind versus your blank mind?

When in a state of Dhyana, or meditation, you might experience any or all of the following: (1) Somehow your consciousness has expanded beyond your body – that is, you feel like your physical boundaries extend far beyond your body; (2) Awe; (3) A heightened ability to perceive without judging – things may happen around you, but they don’t faze you; you regard them with curiosity; (4) You become aware of the space that makes up the distance between your body and other objects; space itself becomes perceptible; (5) If you close your eyes, you feel as though you’re floating in space that is endless in all directions;

(6) An ability to perceive with a sense of innocence: you may have seen something a thousand times, but in this state it seems new, and you regard it with renewed curiosity; (7) Amid this inner stillness there’s a quiet joy and open-heartedness; and finally, (8) you might experience a subtle sense of merging with what you’re perceiving, borne out of the clarity of your perception –the seer and the seen become one.

Wow, dude! What a trip! But all the times I tried sitting still (if you count time-outs as a kid, I think that makes three) I never felt any of that! Am I just not trying hard enough or what?

King dancer pose-Natarajasana - Ricardpo das NevesFirst of all, you can’t make yourself feel any of these. They can’t be forced; Dhyana or meditation comes about naturally when you remove the blocks to meditation. The blocks are physical, emotional, and intellectual; yoga’s eight limbs seek to chip away at those blocks from various directions.

Still, dude, I’ve been practicing yoga for a while (well, okay, two weeks) and never felt those cool things!

You never know how close or far you are from a meditative experience. You may encounter a state of Dhyana on your first yoga session or only after many sessions; you may experience it spontaneously amid everyday living; and you may experience it through means other than yoga, since yoga is not the only way to Dhyana. There are in fact many other practices involving the use of sound, prayer, music, being in nature, and Christian, Sufi, Taoist, and Buddhist practices. When you really visit this state of being often enough (or deep enough), then you get to Samadhi. Which is the last limb in the tree of yoga.