- Spiritual Enlightenment Blogs
Spiritual Enlightenment Blogs
A: Group meditations are a good thing. Any gathering that is for the purpose of studying and encouraging paths of spiritual unfoldment can be good for you. If you can commune with others of like interest on a regular basis, there will be significant benefits, particularly in inspiring you to press forward with your daily practice. No doubt you will inspire others to practice as well. It is good to do a group meditation of ten minutes or so at the beginning or end of a gathering. You may structure your own discussion group, or you may be a guest at someone else's.
Regardless, you will find that group meditations have their own quality. They can be deep and pervasive as individual quieting minds mingle and reinforce each other. It is a noticeable effect, and radiates outward to the surroundings. It is good if members of the group are doing the same practice, but not mandatory, as long as all can operate quietly within the same time period. Group meditations are good for individual meditators, and uplifting for the world. Some people go for "guided meditations." You will not find this style of group meditation to be compatible with using the mantra, because your practice is for going inward quickly and efficiently.
As your meditation becomes habit, you will be gone within as soon as you close your eyes, and a talking meditation guide will be counter-productive for you. The same goes for meditations using music, chanting, drumming, etc. These all have their purpose and benefits, but are not compatible with taking the mantra inward quickly towards pure bliss consciousness. This is not to say you cannot participate in guided meditations, chanting, or whatever. But it will be a distinctly different procedure from your daily meditation using the mantra. You will find the connections that are appropriate for you with the many groups that are available. Or maybe you will start your own group geared to this open approach to advanced yoga practices. Whatever works for you.
Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them." This quote is not given from a sectarian point of view. It describes a well-known principle. When people gather for a spiritual purpose, consciousness is stimulated and rises. This rising can be experienced as deepening silence and pervading bliss consciousness. This experience occurs in every faith, in every gathering for a high spiritual ideal, in every gathering for truth. The group experience of pervading silent bliss consciousness is maximized during group meditations where multiple minds are systematically brought to quietness. Group meditations are not a substitute for your regular twice-daily meditations.
Your individual practice is your primary practice, and should always be. This keeps your spiritual destiny in your hands, in your daily practice, regardless of other circumstances. Groups come and go. Group meditations can be a wonderful boost, but they will come and go too. Don't rely on them as core practice. Think of them as bonuses. Life is always changing on the outside. Be sure that your daily practice is ingrained as an inside aspect of your life, not subject to being waylaid by outer events. We have talked about the various strategies for sustaining daily meditation practice in non-routine situations. Keeping your regularity in practice is very important as you travel along the byways of life. Whatever you ultimately choose your daily practice to be, this should be sacred.
It is your primary pathway inward. You can count on it, because you are committed to doing it every day without fail. Everything else is passing scenery, inspiring at times, and not so inspiring at other times. Lean toward the inspiring, let it light the fire of your desire for progress, and let your daily practice continue to do the work of ongoing inner purification. We will be adding additional practices for you to consider. You will build your own daily routine. A daily routine is the key. It is the surest path to enlightenment. Explore groups and engage in the ongoing discussion of spiritual transformation. You have entered a new realm of citizenry – spiritual citizenry. Bring your pure bliss consciousness to each gathering and to each group meditation. And always remember you are building your house daily upon the rock of pure bliss consciousness.
The guru is in you. Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book. http://aypsite.com/37.html
A friend mentioned the other day that one of her goals for this year was to get more in touch with her body. Because she tended to be in good health, she noticed that she was often disconnected from her body and its needs until she was really run down and ended up with a cold or flu. I realized as I listened to her what a foreign concept that was to me. Disconnected from my body? Unaware of its needs? How could that be possible? I realized yet another blessing of choosing chronic pain as a part of the soul’s path.
Through my experience with chronic pain in my neck, joints, and digestive system (a result of Mercury poisoning, bulimia, a car accident and other factors chosen by my soul to “wake me up” over 12 years ago…) I became intimately connected with every little part of my body and how my emotions, beliefs and interactions with others affected it. I treated it horribly for years in my unconsciousness giving it physical and emotional poison and it responded with equal retaliation. Over time we had to learn to work as a team, listening to each other and honoring the other’s needs. It taught me to slow down, listen more before I act, and the deep importance of acceptance. And in turn I am now guiding it through the process of surrender, helping it to release anything it is still holding on to. I have learned how to flood it with love, light and deep appreciation and can feel how it is opening and softening as a result.
Being deeply connected to my body is just one of the wonderful benefits of my years of chronic pain. Over the years, this vessel has taught me so much about myself and ultimately we have become dear friends. I think of it as equivalent to a captain’s love for its boat. We have weathered every storm, initially at odds with each other and eventually as a cohesive team. And I am excited to know that our journey is still just beginning and that our connection over time will only deepen. Let us see, dear body, what this life has in store for us next… http://expandingjoycoaching.com/blog/
- By Yogani AYPYoga
- Published 07/14/2012
A: When we meditate we are allowing the mind to naturally bring our awareness out of the familiar realm of time and space to the realm of unadulterated bliss consciousness. Consciousness is neither time nor space. We could say it is the infinite dimension underlying the world we perceive with our physical senses. Besides having no boundaries, it is eternally "now." Consciousness is another dimension beyond time and space – we could call it the fifth dimension. With meditation, we are gradually marrying the fifth dimension of consciousness with the four dimensions of time and space, so all five dimensions come to coexist together. Our nervous system is gradually cultured to give us the experience of all five dimensions simultaneously. This has profound implications in our everyday life. Before meditating, everything we did was in time and space.
All our action, our problem solving, was limited to the four dimensions. The options we saw before us were always time and space limited. With meditation, we are bringing in an additional dimension, consciousness. It makes a big difference. Now we see situations in ways we could not see before. We are able to influence the course of life in ways we could not before. Imagine you are trying to solve a puzzle lying on a table. You are looking at it in two dimensions, on the flat surface of the table. Try as you may, the pieces won't fit together. Then a friend walks into the room and says, "Try this." She picks up two edges of the puzzle and curls them together above the table, and they fit together perfectly. By moving into the third dimension, the space above the table, the puzzle has been solved easily. Life is like that. Dealing with it only in time and space, four dimensions, it is often an unsolvable puzzle. We go round and round, never quite getting the pieces to fit together.
When we begin to meditate, we are adding a new dimension, a new perspective. Then the pieces start to fit together, and it all begins to make sense. The guru is in you. Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book. http://aypsite.com/36.html
Though these physical lives are very significant for each soul that chooses them, the reality is they are only a small fragment of the life of the soul. We spend a much larger portion of our time in the non-physical realm. It serves the soul on many levels to forget the non-physical life and previous lives on earth when first arriving this time around. It allows the soul to experience the life “anew” and play the part it agreed to play to more effectively experience the lessons it chose this time around. But there are some soul memories that remain though we may not understand them as such.
The familiarity of the soaring bird reflects our non-physical life where there is no heavy gravity and we are weightless. This also explains why so many of us have flying dreams where we just seem to be able to “turn on a switch” or shift our consciousness in some way and up we go into the air.
The sound of the chimes and crash of the ocean wave is a soul memory of the non-physical as well. Others who have been regressed to the time between lives through hypnotherapy often describe a consistent calming sound like the ocean, chimes or otherworldly instruments with a sweet, calming sound.
So, now that you understand how these precious experiences reflect a beautiful connection to our greater home, I hope you take the time to appreciate them even more. Take the time to really soak up the higher vibration they elicit. Ground in their healing effects. They are one of the many supportive tools we are provided in this physical life to help us remember who we truly are and what our natural state really feels like. They are our beacons home. Not back to the home between lives (that will happen all on its own in time), but they, instead are a reminder that we choose to be incarnated at this auspicious time to create that experience of “home” right here on earth. That, my friends, that is the calling of the times… http://expandingjoycoaching.com/blog/
- By Yogani AYPYoga
- Published 07/10/2012
A: The ultimate destination is enlightenment. What is enlightenment? A state of balanced union between our two natures: pure bliss consciousness, and our sensory involvement on this physical earth. That is the definition of yoga, and the destination of all religion. The evolution of experiences is a complex and personal journey, but has a certain pattern to it. There are three identifiable stages: First comes the rise of silence from regular meditation. It is also experienced as an increasingly steady state of peace, happiness and bliss. Most of all it is experienced as an inner stability that is not shaken by any outer experience. Inner silence is the foundation for further experiences that are facilitated by additional advanced yoga practices that awaken the silence of pure bliss consciousness to a dynamic state in our nervous system. Second comes the rise of ecstatic experience in the body and surroundings. It comes from an awakening of the life force in the body and a gradual refinement of sensory perception.
Through pranayama (breath control) and other means, meditation is enhanced so that the senses are opened in an inward direction, enabling us to perceive the ecstatic energies coursing within and around us. You could say that silence moves within us, and this creates a new and captivating kind of experience. During this stage, appreciation for the divine flow of life is naturally heightened, leading to increased desire to enter and merge with the deepening sensory experience. One surrenders to the process as it advances, and this accelerates it.
The second stage is like falling into an endless abyss of ecstasy. We function in the world with increasing joy as our attention becomes absorbed in the ever-present living beauty moving beneath the surface of all things. For us, the boundaries are dissolving. Third, as our attention comes to reside naturally in the omnipresent, undulating blissful silence in all things, we become that ever-present harmony. We find our own self to be the essence of all things. This is the experience of unity, union, enlightenment. The world does not disappear. It becomes transparent. Boundaries become like veils, thinly covering the essence of life, which we have come to know as an expression of our own nature. Can we still act in the world? Yes, but our motives are different than before when we could only see ourself as separate. We now act in the interest of a broader self. In doing so, we may seem to become selfless.
The truth is that we always are acting for our own self-interest. But our self has become universal, so our interest is for the whole of humanity, and for the whole of life. From the beginning of advanced yoga practices (and perhaps even before), we may experience shades of any of these three stages, depending on the dynamics of our unique purification process. We may experience elements of all three stages at the same time.
Over time, we come to recognize the telltale experiences as mileposts on the way to enlightenment. There will be many more sub-mileposts discussed as we get into additional advanced yoga practices. The mileposts are useful to keep us going, to keep us inspired and regular in our daily practices. The mileposts are not so useful for proclaiming, "Today I am here along the road to enlightenment." Indeed, we may well be, but it will only be significant when we have gone past there and our experience has become permanent and unnoticed. When the experience becomes natural and normal it becomes real. It is life as we are meant to live it.
The mileposts will be dissolved in the journey. Enlightenment, ultimately, is not so much about the mileposts. It is about enjoying becoming that which we always were. If you made that trip to California we were talking about earlier, would you spend your time marveling about how you got there? Probably not. Much better to enjoy the beauty of California. However, it is useful to review the particulars of the long journey for the benefit of others. After all, everyone emanates from the same divine consciousness as we do, so we are naturally concerned that all should have a safe and speedy journey. Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The truth is that all others are you. So this is not only good moral advice, it is good practical advice.
Experientially, we come to know that others are our own self as our inner doors are opened to the divine realms within. How long does the journey take? It depends mainly on us -- on our past actions that have produced the obstructions lodged deep in our nervous system, and on what we do from now on. We can't change the past. But we can do much in the present that will shape our future. No one else can make the choice but us. If we take up advanced yoga practices with sincere devotion, there will be a new direction in our life.
Once we have committed ourselves unswervingly to the path, it is only a matter of time. Then we see it is not even so much about the final destination. It is about experiencing increasing joy each day, each month, and each year. This is a path of bliss, a path of pleasure, as we naturally unfold from within. Get on it and begin to enjoy the ride today. You will get to the end, bye and bye.
The guru is in you. Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book. For detailed discussion on enlightenment milestones, see the AYP Eight Limbs of Yoga book. http://aypsite.com/35.html
- By Yogani AYPYoga
- Published 06/16/2012
A: Keep in mind that meditation is not about thinking I AM in a haphazard way. As has been discussed in detail, it is a precise procedure that brings us to the deepest level of peace and bliss in us, and brings these qualities out into our daily activity. Meditation is not an escape from reality. Rather, it is a preparation for it. You could even say that meditation is a revealer of reality, because what we consider to be reality is almost entirely a product of our perception. Specifically, do we see the glass as half full, or half empty? If we see the glass as half full, there is hope.
There is boundless energy to do good, even in the most daunting of circumstances. We see ways for things to get better, and we work towards that. When we see the glass as half empty, there is little hope, little energy to work for something better. There is misery, and we become a drag on everyone around us. We become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. So, if you find that meditation is a source of peace, inner happiness, optimism and strength in your life, then this is a formula for bettering your surroundings, and the world. The results of meditation are infectious. When we meditate, others are affected not only by our inspired actions, but also by the invisible radiation of pure bliss consciousness emanating from us. We can induce peace and optimism in others by opening ourselves to the infinite within.
Jesus said, "You are the light of the world." If millions of people engaged in meditation each day, the world would be illuminated. We can each do our part by bringing out the divine light within us. It is not an escape. It is a responsibility. To become more is not only about us. It is about everyone on the earth. So meditate every day, and wholeheartedly go do the work you feel in your heart is most important. May your glass overflow for the benefit of the world. The guru is in you. Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book.
- By Yogani AYPYoga
- Published 06/15/2012
A: In a word, no. Meditation works just fine while sitting on a soft surface with back support. An easy chair is good. Being on a bed with a couple of pillows behind us is better, for reasons that will become clear shortly. Don't meditate in a reclined position, as this can result in sleep rather than meditation. The idea is to be sitting upright comfortably. We don't want unnecessary discomfort in the body competing with the simple procedure of meditation. If it is natural for you to sit on a hard surface without back support for twenty minutes or more, this is okay for meditation. But few will be able to do this, and it is not necessary. Less comfort is synonymous with unnecessary distraction in meditation. So keep it comfortable.
Having said all that, here comes a curve ball. Once you are steady in your daily meditation routine and feel you are ready for the next step in your yoga practice, it is a good idea to put your legs in a crossed position while you are meditating. This is where the bed comes in handy. If you can get one leg in so the sole of your foot is against the inside of your thigh with your heel near your crotch, this is good. The other leg can come in with its sole resting on the shin of the first leg. It doesn't matter which leg goes inside first to the thigh. It is your choice. Over time, you can develop the ability to switch legs, so that either one can be the inside leg during meditation. Comfort will be the determining factor on which leg to use on the inside. If you are new at this, it may seem difficult. For most it will take some doing, but we will not be approaching it in an extreme way.
We will take a very gentle, gradual approach. There are important long-term reasons why we are tackling this now, so give it the necessary consideration, as long as it does not jeopardize your regular meditation routine. Making first attempts, you may find that you are not able to get your inside foot to your thigh. You may find your knees sticking up in the air, not wanting to lie flat on the bed. Go as far as you comfortably can, and use pillows to prop up your knees if necessary, so you can be as comfortable as possible while meditating. Don't torture yourself, or your meditation, by forcing yourself into an uncomfortable position. What we want is to gently coax our legs into a cross-legged position over a period of time. It might happen immediately for some. For others it might take weeks or months of gentle coaxing. It is the direction we gradually want to go in. Rome was not built in a day.
As you become familiar with the physics of your legs, you will find that your knees will more easily come down and lie comfortably on the bed when the soles of your feet are turned up a bit. The toes of the inside foot can then tuck under the thigh with the heel remaining near the crotch, and the toes of the outside foot can then tuck under the shin. A bed is very good for this, as the soles of the feet can easily turn up while the tops of the feet sink into the mattress a bit. Having turned the soles of the feet up, if the knees still have not come down, feel free to use pillows to fill in the void under them. But if you are turning the soles up, the knees should come down, just as though you are heading toward kneeling on the bed with your knees spread wide apart.
Use back support while meditating and developing this new way of sitting in meditation. You will find that you can get comfortable in this position after a gentle coaxing period of several weeks or months. If your legs get uncomfortable during meditation it is okay to extend one or both of them out on the bed as needed and continue meditating. Or you can switch the inside leg from one to the other from time to time, and continue that way.
Do whatever it takes to keep comfortable during meditation, while gently favoring the cross-legged way of sitting at the same time. In time, sitting this way will become second nature, and you will be able to meditate easily and not even notice how you are sitting. If there is a disability or other limiting factor you can't overcome, and sitting cross-legged is not going to be possible for you, it is okay. You can still meditate and derive all the benefits. Nothing is lost.
As we take on new advanced yoga practices down the road, there are ways we can get around the lack of crossed legs. Crossed legs are preferable, but not mandatory. Obviously, when we find ourselves in situations where we will be meditating in planes, offices, waiting rooms, etc., we just sit normally on our chair without any special position for the legs. But when we are meditating at home, we always favor (with comfort) the cross-legged way of sitting just described. It is an important preparation that will form the foundation for a dramatic stage of our spiritual transformation as we add additional advanced yoga practices. The guru is in you. Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book. For detailed instructions on siddhasana, see the AYP Asanas, Mudras and bandhas book. http://aypsite.com/33.html
- By sheryl heart
- Published 05/30/2012
- By sheryl heart
- Published 05/19/2012