Withdrawal of the senses

Withdrawal of the senses #

Patanjali section 2 verse 54: #

स्वविषयासम्प्रयोगे चित्तस्य स्वरूपानुकार इवेन्द्रियाणां प्रत्याहाः

When consciousness interiorizes by uncoupling from external objects, the senses do likewise; this is called withdrawal of the senses.

Example #

For the visual mode, close your eyes but continue to observe what you see. You should see a sparkling yellow/orange field of uncertain depth and lacking any structure. Open your eyes slightly so that you can maintain awareness of the neutral field superimposed over your regular visual input. Change your identification: Instead of regarding your visual input as real, the undifferentiated field is real and your regular visual input happens to exist within the field.

I am most comfortable with the visual sense, but the same method likely works similarly with other senses. Experiment with a sensory deprivation tank?

Commentary #

You can combine this technique with mindful breathing. The two techniques are highly synergistic. The momentary calm from mindful breathing makes it easier to withdraw from the senses, and withdrawal of the senses helps sustain the feeling of calm from mindful breathing.