Detachment in Yoga and Advaita: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
D.: How to get over the cycle of births and deaths?
M.: Learn what it means.
D.: Should I not leave my wife and family?
M.: How do they harm you? First find out who you are.
D.: Should not one give up wife, wealth, home?
M.: Learn first what samsara is. Is all that samsara? Have there not been men living among them and getting realisation?
(From ‘Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi’ 31)
In Yoga, the idea of detaching oneself from the world of senses and sense impressions is deeply embedded. Patanjali’s yoga Sutras specifically mention the various steps in reaching Enlightenment including Pratyahara. Pratyahara means to withdraw the senses from the outer world.
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All my life I have been ultra-sensitive and emotional – now called being an Empath. At 68 years young, the “drama” has subsided for many reasons. Much repressed and not-so-repressed anger has softened a great deal, making it easier to live in the world as it is. Pratyahara is a new concept in my leanings toward knowing who I truly am. Just taking it in, I cannot imagine living in the world completely without any senses or sense impressions? At this stage the mind still wants to revert to old habits of reviewing dominant negative emotions/senses and I’m again reminded to be aware of the mind’s habitual preferences. The senses of hearing birdsong, feeling a warm breeze or seeing an eagle in flight are some emerging joys of late. Does Pratyahara mean eliminating those as well?
Confused in Portland?
May I offer a basic answer to procure other’s ideas?
I see empaths as talented in their emotional aspect/body. However, I seem to also find them identified with not only the emotions they feel but with the identity of “empath”. This too is an identity farther from source separate rather than harmonically united. That identity will keep the “person” rooted in the experience rather than the observing and allowing it from the source. This observational state can allow for the golden talent of this person to manifest versus experiencing a disagreeable reaction.
I too feel others feelings- but I know it’s not me, so I don’t emotionally feel it for myself, I allow it to inspire my movements (closer and deeper or further and exiting). In the past I felt and experienced the emotions of others only to agonize in discomfort without much reason. I put my hand out the car window at night in winter and my hand is cold, but I am not cold. I feel the cold, but it’s not me.
I guess what I propose is that these people talented in empathetic ways detach more from their story and the story of others. Observe the experience, don’t identify with it. When this happens harmonic expression can abound.
Agree? Disagree? This is a topic of interest as I am seeing a patient currently for this issue.