On Yoga Terms and Philosophy: What is Samadhi?

On Yoga Terms and Philosophy: What is Samadhi?
[Last article in the series]
by Alice Koh


Many people think that Enlightenment is elusive, something that is out-of-reach and attainable only through years if not a lifetime of yoga practice. This is not true.

In the Allegory of the Cave by the Greek philosopher Plato, his mentor Socrates described a group of prisoners who have lived chained to the cave all their lives. The only reality they could perceive was the shadows on the wall in front of them. These shadows were cast by a fire behind a line of puppeteers who controlled and manipulated what they wanted the prisoners to see.

One day a prisoner was freed and he soon realised that the shadows he had known his entire life as reality were merely illusions formed by the manipulators. The fire he saw on his way out symbolised his enlightenment, his first recognition of his ignorance. Further out into the open, he was momentarily blinded by the bright light of the sun. There he became truly enlightened when he beheld the sight of the blue sky, the smell of the flowers, the touch of the wind, the dance of the butterflies. In yoga, this is called Samadhi.

Samadhi is that moment when a person transcends his physical body and enters the Kingdom of Heaven and realizes the true nature of things.

Our physical world is not what it seems to be. We create our “reality” based on our perception, our conditioning and false ideas about the world and ourselves.

Religious sacred scriptures say that God dwells inside our bodies; that our body is the true sacred temple of God. This is no metaphor. This is a sacred truth. However, the duality that humanity loves to create, separate things between the sacred and the mundane. We do not see the connection or oneness with everything, including the oneness with the divine.

Spiritual awakening is like the bud of a rose finally opening up, like the cocoon unravelling to the world an alluring butterfly. This overwhelming occurrence may last just a few minutes. Nonetheless, it is a life-changing experience.

Samadhi happens when one enters into a realm of a different dimension where there is a connection with the seen and the unseen. You enter a non-dualistic plane of existence where there is no distinction between the self and nature. A spiritual plane where we could communicate freely with the consciousness of other beings and entities.

Samadhi can happen to anyone at any moment. Everyone has the potential to reach Samadhi. You could be reading this article and all of a sudden, you leave your body and enter another reality.

Samadhi can be achieved by many means. Yoga meditation is just one of them. You can also enter the spiritual world through hallucinogens, such as sacred mushrooms, yage or sacred cactus such as San Pedro Cactus and Ayahuasca.

A samadhi experience can be explained in a quantum sort of way where the observer is also the observed. The watcher is also being watched. You become aware that you do not need to walk because you are able to jump to that mountain up ahead and land there within a second.

You understand that all space is no space at all. Heaven is just one step from Hell. Hell is just a door that leads to salvation.

Imagine that in the midst of talking to your friend, you are suddenly transported inside your body, witnessing your heartbeats, feeling its vibration, watching the choreography of your body mechanism. This is also samadhi.

Prophetic dreaming is also a form of samadhi when your mind enters another dimension as you are led to witness a past or future destined to happen.

Let me say this with all emphasis added because I think this is very important. Kabir as well as Rumi have emphasized God as the beloved and the saint drunk in god’s love. This all-consuming and encompassing love is pure bliss and joy. The joy originates within ourselves, is part of our being and forever enveloping us in a warm embrace. This is the bliss and ecstasy of being united with God.

However we often feel imprisoned within our skin, chained by our ego and thus duality. When we make the conscious effort of removing this bondage, God and his Kingdom enter and you become one and unite with God.