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 sense, close your eyes or wear a blindfold.1

For the auditory sense, wear ear protection used by operators of loud machinery.

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.

Notes #

  1. A blindfold may be preferrable because keeping the eyes closed involves some effort. Ideally, withdrawal of the senses should be completely effortless. ↩︎