Note: For the Original
Internet Lessons with additions,
For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books,
Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Lesson 240 - Regarding One's Highest Ideal
Date: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:56pm
New Visitors: 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 happiness.
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,
and AYP Plus.
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