Samadhi is the eighth limb on yoga’s eight fold path. As with most things sanskrit - the word has many meanings and implications.
Samadhi is at once a state of being, and a tool the practitioner uses to gain insight in deep meditation.
Meditation occurs when concentration has become so fixed and steady that the practitioner’s sense of subjective orientation dissolves. In other words, the sense of separation between the “I” and the object of meditation no longer exists.
For example if I am concentrating on the light of a candle, eventually I go from experiencing the moment as, “I am meditating on this light” to “I am this light.”
In essence, my awareness merges with the light.
The light of the candle and the light of my consciousness are experienced as one. This does not happen philosophically or theoretically, but viscerally as a felt sense.
To make this more clear the Yoga Tradition distills consciousness into three parts:
Mind :: Manas
Ego :: Ahamkara
Intelligence :: Buddhi
These three parts each have a unique function and can be identified at any given moment when we become accustomed to bringing the light of our awareness inward.
The function of the mind is to either divide or bring together. It constantly comments and feeds us thoughts about how we like something or dislike something. We have either an attraction towards or aversion from some thing.
It does this all the time, because that is it’s function.
The function of the ego from the yogic perspective is that of “I” maker. It’s the part of our consciousness which identifies us from the subjective point of view. For example, a few of the multiplicities alive in me are: I am a little brother, I am a yoga teacher, I am a consciousness consultant, I am a surfer.
The function of the intelligence is to discern. It gives context to the world around us which is objective and observational. It is the aspect of our consciousness which enables us to see ourselves from the bird’s eye view from the seat of the witness.
The mind itself is not inactive, but instead has become focused like a laser, and is steady and still. In that state the mind then acts as a mirror and it's surface becomes reflective. Through practice, we can attune our awareness to rest on the reflection and begin to experience what it’s reflecting.
So what does the still mind reflect?
The most essential part of our being, the most subtle and perhaps most powerful attribute is pure consciousness itself. In other words, the light of our being.
When we achieve a state of stillness, it’s this pure consciousness the shines like light off of the mirror of our mind. So in effect, our stillness gives rise to the opportunity for our pure being to experience itself. Consciousness or the intelligence of creation experiencing itself through the instrument of our own mind.
Sit with that for a bit.