According to Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, consciousness is defined as the churning mind. All that we witness and experience is done so through consciousness, perceptual waves that ripple through our neural pathways. Both normal everyday reality and our dreams are played out through the lens of consciousness. This lens is colored by our perceptions, our thoughts, beliefs, and previous experiences. When one is unconscious, one remains undisturbed in a state of mental stillness or emptyness, like in sleep… unaware of the churning of matter around and within them.
In a state of emptiness, peace and clarity can be found..
In Yoga Nidra, one learns to maintain full, present awareness in and through all layers of the conscious human: the body, the energy field, the mind, the spirit, and the witness. Through continued practice, one learns to enter the normally “unconscious” state while remaining aware. This opens the door for clarity in perception, void of expectations or assumptions, and starts to merge consciousness with the witness, pure awareness itself. Pure awareness is described in yoga as Purusha, consciousness as Prakriti.
When Purusha and Prakriti, awareness and consciousness, merge and manifest within one mind, one being, one experiences a sense of harmony and union within themselves and with the universe as a whole. In uniting, or yoking, every layer of consciousness we come to know ourselves and our reality at a greater depth than ever before.
The ability to fuse and harmonize with our conscious and unconscious minds requires time and practice to master. In the practice of Yoga Nidra, it becomes quite simple and easy.
All you have to do is lie back and listen…