A realized and liberated (Jivanmukta) yogi or yogini who has entered the level of nirvikalpa samadhi can voluntarily depart their body and gain enlightenment at the time of death while in a profound, conscious meditation state, according to this concept. According to Tibetan Buddhism, there are three levels of consciousness: wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. At the deepest level of sleep, which is characterized by physical, mental and emotional stability, there is no thought process; this is called "the cessation of thinking".
In order for someone to reach this stage of meditation, they must first learn how to control the breath efficiently, so that it reaches the point where it does not require any attention. When the mind is able to remain focused on its object without any distraction for hours at a time, it is said to be one step away from attaining nirvikalpa samadhi.
Controlling the breath is only the first part of the practice. A yogi/yogini must also control their thoughts during this phase of meditation, so that eventually, when deep sleep sets in, there are no thoughts at all, just as there is no breath during normal sleep. Only when both mind and body are calm and peaceful can one hope to reach enlightenment at the time of death.
Both savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi are transitory experiences that are followed by the restoration of normal human awareness. Only higher degrees of samadhi, such as sahaja or dharmamegha samadhi, are said to be longer-lasting or permanent, allowing one to interact with the physical world from a higher state of awareness.
After achieving savikalpa samadhi, one returns to ordinary consciousness with no trace of any absorption.
But even a high degree of savikalpa samadhi can be disrupted by anxiety, fear, or anger which can lead to attaining corporeal existence as a human being again. This is because even at the highest levels of meditation, one's mind remains inherently unstable due to its connection with the physical body and environment. Thus, even someone who has achieved the highest level of meditation can still fall back into unconsciousness if they lose control of their mind for some reason.
In order to prevent this from happening, ancient masters developed the technique called "pratipaksha bhavana" or "protection meditation". In this practice, they would imagine themselves as a human being using their imagination to embody themselves in a safe, protected environment where they will not be able to return to human form without permission from the master. So, in other words, they create a refuge outside of the physical realm where they can go when they wake up from dreams or sleep.
The full disintegration of the ego into a zero-point of referential perception is marked by Nirvikalpa samadhi. There is no watcher who observes the quiet and light of other samadhis, nor is there an experiencer who experiences their happiness and calm. The only certainty is that nothing can be said to exist or not to exist.
In other words, the mind has stopped referring to its own mental phenomena as "I" or "mine". It is therefore also impossible to refer to anything else as "he" or "they". All distinctions based on gender, age, race, religion, etc., are completely erased at this stage of meditation.
As you can see, the Nirvikalpa Samadhi is like being in a dream where there are no dreams. There is only one reality, which is empty of all attributes. Or, it is like being awake but not dreaming; the world appears to be ordinary, but nothing can be referred to as "I" or "mine". It is only when we wake up from this dream state that we realize that something was wrong with our lives before we started practicing meditation.
This experience of emptiness is the goal of every form of Buddhism. At first glance, it might seem like a negative thing, but in fact, it is the most positive achievement you can make as a human being!
Either bliss or enlightenment. The greatest level of awareness, or samadhi, can be attained via meditation. It comprises of a yoga practitioner attaining spiritual enlightenment, in which the self, mind, and object of meditation all melt into one. This state is said to exist beyond space and time, and it is here that the soul or ego dissolves into nothingness.
Samadhi means "to fix the attention on" and can be further divided into four types:
1. Mindfulness - referring to the fact that one's attention is fixed on the present moment without distraction.
2. Concentration - focusing the mind on one particular subject to the exclusion of everything else; used in conjunction with mindfulness, concentration allows one to gain insight into the nature of the mind.
3. Intuition - receiving psychic impressions or messages through the senses; some believe that this is one of the main reasons why monks and priests practice meditation.
4. Bliss - experiencing happiness or joy; often considered to be the ultimate goal of meditation, bliss is achieved when one ceases to crave for pleasure from the world outside the body and instead, enjoys peace within oneself.
Although bliss and enlightenment are two different things, they do not exclude each other. A person can experience bliss while still being alive today.