Have you heard of the woman who made a tombstone for her husband with the inscription, "Rest in peace until we meet again"? Resting in peace, unfortunately, comes for most people only in death.
Most people only experience peace and transcendence when they are dead. But in the yogic tradition, the word "samadhi" is used to describe a state in which one has transcended the limitations of the body and mind, and this happens in life. For those who are in a state of samadhi, there is no such thing as death. Death belongs to the realm of the body.
Your body is just something you accumulated. It is a piece of earth you imbibed through food, and it is on loan from the planet. All the countless number of people who have lived on this planet before us have all become topsoil, and so will you. This planet will collect back atom by atom what it has loaned you.
When one is constantly, experientially aware that both the body and the mind are accumulations that one has gathered, that is samadhi. You are in the body, but you are not it. You are of the mind, but you are not it. That means you are absolutely free of suffering because whatever suffering you have known enters you either through the body or through the mind. Once your awareness is keen enough to create a space between these two accumulations and who you really are -- this is the end of all suffering.
The root of ignorance is in being identified with the accumulations you call the body and mind. Your clarity of vision is cluttered with all your identifications and your personality. It is because of this limited identification that the distinct lines between what is "me" and what is "you" have been drawn. All disharmony, conflict and suffering are rooted in this. Samadhi is a state where you have obliterated these distinctions, and you are looking beyond the wall.
Samadhi can be a step toward enlightenment, but it is not essentially so. Staying in these states certainly hastens one's realization of boundlessness by setting up a clear space between what is you and what is not you. However, one can know and enjoy these states but still not know the essential nature of existence or become liberated from all the compulsive aspects of life.
You may meditate for 12 years and then come out of it, and even then you may not be a realized being, although you may be a little closer. When you go into another reality and stay there for long hours or years, the grip of this present reality is broken for you, and you have an experiential understanding that present reality is not all there is. That's the whole purpose of long meditations.
Yogis, mystics and saints from all traditions have experienced and spoken about these things. One of the Christian saints, Saint John of the Cross, spoke of the necessity to go beyond all boundaries one has known. Form, he said, must yield to the formless in order for the soul to be fully emptied. Samadhi is a certain state of equanimity, where the intellect goes beyond its normal function of discrimination. Once the intellect is on hold, the boundary of what is you and what is not you collapses.
At our centers in India and the U.S., we have created powerfully consecrated spaces where experiencing a samadhi state comes about very naturally. These samadhis are very pleasant, blissful and ecstatic. There are also samadhis that are beyond this.
Once you are liberated from all that you think is you, you will know the blissfulness of creation and creator. This blissfulness is the basis for you to experience dimensions beyond the physical, and it is the basis of true love and compassion.
Isha Yoga's "Inner Engineering" program is now available online. For more information, visit: www.InnerEngineering.com
Sadhguru will teach Inner Engineering programs in Los Angeles (October 15-16, 2011), New Jersey (Nov 5-6, 2011) and Toronto (Nov 12-13, 2011). Isha Yoga programs are based on tested, scientific principles. They offer tools for optimal health, emotional well-being and professional excellence. To participate, visit: www.InnerEngineering.com
For more than 25 years, the Isha Foundation has touched and transformed the lives of millions of people around the world. To learn more, please visit Sadhguru's bio page.