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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 240 - Regarding Ones Highest Ideal
Date: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:56pm
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Should one practise yoga only if the desire is for enlightenment? Enlightenment is
definitely a difficult thing to understand for a layman in wordily life. Maybe more
understanding about it and the desire to achieve it will develop as the yoga practices go
on. But anyone will want to live a life with a healthy body and peaceful mind. Can they
practise yoga if they have no desire of getting 'enlightened?'
A student will want to overcome the pressures of daily commitments successfully and
progress in his academics, and his immediate concern is not enlightenment -- he may not
even be aware that such a thing exists. Can't he use yoga just to help him develop a sound
body and mind?
Can one have their highest ideal as a happy life with healthy body and peaceful mind,
instead of enlightenment? Can one practise yoga just for this, setting it as their highest
ideal, not resisting the devotion for enlightenment though, if and when it develops?
A: Yes, any reason (ideal) for doing practices is a good reason. The result will be the
same -- purification and opening of the nervous system, and there are many practical
benefits that come from that. All that is necessary is a desire to advance toward
something we believe yoga can help with. Then daily practices can be sustained.
With practices such as deep meditation and spinal breathing pranayama, the nervous system
opens to the light within, and the desires gradually becomes colored by that. Then bhakti
evolves naturally toward a more divine longing. It is not something we can invent. It
happens as we become a purer vehicle for the bliss that resides within us.
We start where we are, with whatever our aspirations may be, and go from there. As you
point out, there are plenty of reasons to do yoga besides an ultimate objective of
enlightenment. Saints, in fact, don't aim for enlightenment at all. They constantly crave
union with their Divine Beloved! The student craves a diploma, and the rest of us crave
good health and success in our daily endeavors. All of these are good reasons to do yoga
Everyone has their own ideal that can be used as inspiration for yoga. As the ideal is
fulfilled, enlightenment is the by-product. We don't even have to know what enlightenment
is. With practices it will come more and more inner peace, creativity and
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on
employing desire and action on our spiritual path, see the
AYP Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.
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