The July 2018 lunar eclipse is the longest eclipse this century, lasting 1 hour and 23 minutes. Like a regular full moon only stronger, a lunar eclipse focuses our attention on our emotions, and a clearing away of emotional baggage. This eclipse falls in the sign of Aquarius which leads us to our emotions via the intellectual mental body known as the Manoyama kosha.
In yoga philosophy the body consists of five koshas (sheaths or layers) starting from the gross physical body on the outer and moving inwards toward the cosmic bliss body. The Manomaya kosha (the mind/emotional layer) sits in the middle as the third layer and relates to the way we interpret events through our thoughts and emotions. Our minds are constantly creating narratives which compel us to react through our emotions. Our thoughts and emotions can either be useful or not depending on our ability to train the mind. Yoga is designed to keep the health of the Manomaya Kosha with meditative practices to soothe the nervous system, balance the inner body and remove energy blocks that bind us in obsessive thinking.
When we watch the contents of our thoughts and emotions closely, we can recognise patterns which manifest as repetitive and powerful mental structures which have formed by the beliefs and opinions that we have absorbed throughout our lives from our families, friends and culture. The mind makes a constant commentary about our experiences creating judgments based on the biased perception of our experiences. Getting caught up the mind’s constant commentary keeps us frustrated and unsatisfied. Meditation allows us to view this internal commentator impartially and to question the validity of our internal dialogue. When we bring our consciousness to our thought/emotional patterns we can free ourselves of their power by allowing them to flow through us, thereby freeing us from their strong and insistent grip.
To meditate is to relax the body and turn our total awareness inwards, noticing our thoughts, watching them closely as they emerge with compassion, understanding and kindness. We allow ourselves to sit with our thoughts and emotions, noticing where they lead us and how they change, and allowing them to flow through us rather than blocking, suppressing or running off with them. It is only by bringing consciousness to our thought and emotional patterns that we are able to let them go.
“Yogas-citta-vrtti-nirodhah”(PYS1.2)- Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.