Light On The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – The In-Between Balance

III.9- Study of the silent moments between rising and restraining subliminal impressions is the transformation of consciousness towards restraint

My understanding of this verse may be vague. However, the words like restraining and restrain seems to be too much of effort. If I may understand it correctly, the practitioner here by observing the moments between the rising and lowering of impressions is able to transform the consciousness with no effort to restraint them.

As we meditate there will be thoughts that come and go. During my initial practice on meditation, this causes a lot of frustrations and restlessness within me. At times, I feel like I was day dreaming and planning what to do next instead of meditating. Subsequently, someone told me I should learn to just watch these thoughts as they come and go like a stage play. I shouldn’t need to push away the thoughts and neither do I need to accept them. Subsequently I manage to observe them just like a pattern of them coming in and out of me as I sit quietly.

Now there were even times when I do not need to tell myself,” it’s meditation time,” in order to meditate. Sometimes I was able to just absorb everything that happens in the surroundings within me with no analysis. To me, this is like meditation. There were no ups, no downs, and no thoughts. Just me, being there.

Upon reading this verse, I have come to understand that the skill lies in observing the moments between the coming and leaving of the thoughts. And then expanding that moment. With the expansion of those moments leaves less space for the coming and going of other thoughts. Gradually that moment is being observed and the mind is no longer restless and fluctuating. Eventually there is not even the moment and the mind cease to exist. as per described in the Sutra, this resembles the pauses between the inhalation and exhalation of breath. Subsequently in meditation, we should no longer be able to feel our breath. Just as if we are not breathing. That moment occurs when we take our observation into the pauses and expanding the pauses instead of the inhalation and exhalation. We do not need, therefore to hold our breath. But the breath will simply be still and cease, as if to exist..