The Internals of Yoga are also known as Samyama. Sam means together, and Yama means control; thus Samyama means to bring Everything together under control; in other words, to become one with the universe in a deliberate and controlled manner.
Of this, Crowley wrote:
Firstly, we still the body by the practice called Asana, and secure its ease and the regularity of its functions by Pranayama. Thus no messages from the body will disturb the mind.
Secondly, by Yama and Niyama, we still the emotions and passions, and thus prevent them arising to disturb the mind.
Thirdly, by Pratyhara we analyze the mind yet more deeply, and begin to control and suppress thought in general of whatever nature.
Fourthly, we suppress all other thoughts by a direct concentration upon a single thought. This process, which leads to the highest results, consists of three parts, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi grouped under the single term Samyama.
— Aleister Crowley:
Eight Lectures on Yoga
To some it may seem that Samyama is one continuous process, indivisible—and indeed in many ways it is. Yet Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are defined by levels of accomplishment, and will be individually discussed in the following sections:
Now that we have learned to observe the mind, so that we know how it works to some extent, and have begun to understand the elements of control, we may try the result of gathering together all the powers of the mind, and attempting to focus them on a single point.
—Aleister Crowley: Liber ABA, Part 1
In the practice of Dharana, you should first assume your Asana, and then seek to constrain the mind to concentrate itself upon a single, simple object. That is, to take a single, simple object; visualize it from one set viewpoint for an extended length of time—totally controlling how you see the image. You could do well to begin with one of the five Tattwas: a black egg, a blue circle, a silver crescent, a yellow square, or a red triangle. When you have mastered this, any combination of one superimposed over the other will further this training of the mind, preparing it for the work that lies ahead. You can then progress to simple, moving objects; and then combinations thereof.
You must be careful to confine your mind to the objects chosen—do not let your attention stray. Note length of time, breaks and distractions.
The moment then that the student takes a simple subject—or rather a simple object—and imagines it or visualizes it, he will find that it is not so much his creature as he supposed. Other thoughts will invade the mind, so that the object is altogether forgotten, perhaps for whole minutes at a time; and at other times the object itself will begin to play all sorts of tricks.
— Aleister Crowley: Liber ABA, Part 1
Indeed, the object imagined will distort itself in your mind: it will turn, it will bend, it will change colors, it will change into other things. You must fight this. You are the master, not the object you are envisioning.
You then can proceed to living objects.
You can also “imagine” with other, than the visual senses: the taste of chocolate, the smell of roses, the feel of velvet, the sound of a waterfall or ticking of a clock—all these are sensory “images” that can be concentrated upon and held in the mind.
As you master these, you can concentrate on keeping the mind clear; but try to maintain a practice of two-to-three hours a day.
Many kinds of breaks can occur:
Firstly, physical sensations. These should have been overcome by Asana.
Secondly, breaks that seem to be dictated by events immediately preceding the meditation. Their activeity becomes tremendous. Only by this practice does one understand how much is really observed by the senses without the mind becoming conscious of it.
Thirdly, there is a class of breaks partaking of the nature of reverie or ‘daydreams.’ These are very insidious—one may go on for a long time without realizing that one has wandered at all.
Fourthly, we get a very high class of break, which is a sort of aberration of the control itself. You think, ‘How well I am doing it!’ or perhaps that it would be a rather good idea if you were on a desert island, or if you were in a sound-proof house, or if you were sitting by a waterfall. But these are only trifling variations from the vigilance itself.
A fifth class of breaks seems to have no discoverable source in the mind. Such may even take the form of actual hallucination, usually auditory. Of course, such hallucinations are infrequent, and are recognized for what they are; otherwise the student had better see his doctor. The usual kind consists of odd sentences, or fragments of sentences, which are heard quite distinctly in a recognizable human voice, not the student’s own voice, or that of anyone he knows. A similar phenomenon is observed by wireless operators, who call such messages ‘atmospherics.’
There is a further kind of break, which is the desired result itself.
—Aleister Crowley: Liber ABA, Part 1
The most important thing to remember is that Dharana is the actual restraint of the consciousness to a single imaginary object: chosen for the purpose. But why pursue such a painstaking mental process? What is it that we hope to gain? The answer is that, at one level anyway, you will forget everything but the object itself—who you are, what you are, what you are doing—the result of this being that the two become one, and that will set you up to achieve the transcendental experience.
Dhyana is to be united with the object of Dharana, so that both become one; the next step is to unite with the universe, shed the ego and become one with all of infinity and all of eternity. It can also be described as a flowing of the mind in one unbroken current from the ego to the non-ego without consciousness of either, accompanied by a crescent wonder and bliss: Subject and object unite and disappear with ecstacy mounting to indifference, and so forth, but there is still a presentation of some kind in the new genius of consciousness.
The foregoing sounds very pretty, but how should one go about it? We still need to focus the trance of Dharana on the object; but, this time, the object of concentration should be revered. The first class of objects for serious meditation is various parts of the body, such as the Chakras; then objects of devotion, even dreams—in fact anything that especially appeals to us. We can even work with an apparently unimportant object—but the process is easier if we begin with something that has a special meaning to us. If thought is kept single and steady, Dhyana will result.
We must not forget that “Yoga” means “Union,” and Dhyana is a union of two things. In fact it is a union of the Ego and the non-Ego—in which the most important factor is the actual annihilation of the Ego. The conditions of thought, the sense of time and space, and causality and duality in all forms are abolished. The steps of Yoga strip off the mask from the godhead of the individual; this is indeed the first step towards realizing one’s own godhood.
However Dhyana is still an unbalanced or impure approximation of Samadhi.
Yajna Valkya wrote “...by Samadhi is taken off everything that hides the lordship of the soul.” It is indeed an exalted state of mind produced by the union of the subject and the object. In Samadhi there is more of a loss of identity or individuality than in Dhyana.
One of the lower forms of Samadhi is Yogapravritti, in which one might, meditate on the tip of the nose until one achieves the sensation of “ideal smell,” or on the tongue until the sensation of “ideal taste” is produced. By “ideal” we mean that archetypal smells and tastes are produced that are related to no certain odor and no certain food.
One of the higher forms of Samadhi is Atmadarshana, a self-vision or realization of the Self as All. The All is manifested as One: it is the Universe freed from its conditions. Not only are all forms and ideas destroyed, but also those conceptions which are implicit in our ideas of these ideas. Yet, in the form of Samadhi known as Shivadarshana, the destruction and complete annihilation of the state of Atmadarshana occurs.
In short. Samadhi is a state in which all things rush together and unite in a union of existence and non-existence. It is not only a state that is too exalted to be described with mere words, it is also beyond the processes of conscious thought.
Points to Remember: The idea of a trance is to actually transcend human thought. All human beings have capacities for attainment. Yoga is ultimately a sublimation of philosophy; magick is a sublimation of science. Magick and Yoga work together to enhance the practice of each.
In conclusion then, what does Yoga have to offer us? Well, it is the Eastern equivalent of the Great Work, the Transcendental Experience, Crossing the Abyss, Bringing Out the God Within—pick your euphemism. In fact, euphemisms are used because this experience is so far beyond the powers of vocabulary, speech and mind to express. We’ve done the best we can here, seeking to show you what the steps are; but only you can choose your path. We can only hope to make your decision a better-informed choice.
Crowley, Aleister, Eight Lectures on Yoga.
----------, Liber ABA, Part One: Meditation
----------, “Liber E vel Exercitiorum”