Today I bring you part five in my series titled: Why The Eight Limbs Are So Important In Yoga. Today we are talking about the withdrawal of the senses ( Pratyahara). Here’s part 1, 2, 3 & 4 in case you missed them.
Due to the abundance of technology and ways in which we can connect electronically, there has never been a time in greater need of us learning to withdraw from our senses than there is today.
Still to withdraw the senses does not mean to withdrawal from life or become desensitised, no, nothing as vacuous as that. Instead, it is about making conscious decisions to live a life in harmony and to do that one needs to go inwards and be still.
I enjoy social media as good as the next person, but I have learnt to draw a line. You won’t get me anywhere near my social media after 9pm and in times that I wish to flick through my accounts out of boredom I have learnt to develop the consciousness to resist. Put this way if the mind is full up with stuff 24/7 then how can one possibly get to know oneself if the senses are over stimulated with the distractions of old thoughts, fears and computer screens?
To get to know ourselves is a priority in life I feel. The only way to get to know oneself is to dedicate time each day to be alone. We should take walks alone and have media free time to connect with the unexplored mass stillness that is within. It is good if we can learn to be the watcher of our thoughts, perhaps then we can learn to see what is not serving us and instead connect with the peaceful stillness within.
To do this I feel connecting with one sense at a time can be a great help. So for example, smelling a flower with the eyes closed ( as long as you don’t have hayfever of course!) is a good start. As soon as any thoughts come into the mind you can go back to connecting with the scent.
There is no short cut, but if you do the work on all the other limbs of yoga, and regularly, then withdrawing from the idle chatter of the mind will become easier.
Join me next time for limb number 6 (concentration)
Happy Valentine’s Day
The Word Sprite