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Note: For the complete lessons, with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.

Lesson 269 - Leapfrogging to Samyama Practice – Moving Inner Silence Outward

From: Yogani
Date: Sun Jul 3, 2005  11:44 am

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 This Discussion?"

Q: When last I wrote, I had awakened my kundalini and my meditation was a turbulent, dramatic, passionate shakti affair. And I was complaining about the bliss, which struck me as distraction. And I'd just recovered from a bit of overdoing.

You explained (in lesson #258) that I needed to work more on the shiva half of the equation. So I put in months of meditation and pranayama, seeking balance, but remaining much more on the shakti side of things. I'd get some stillness, but the resultant sacred feeling would ignite my shakti, the aftermath of which would be peaceful stillness ... which would re-ignite my shakti yet again. And so on. I felt like a spiritual lava lamp.

Then I lapsed in my practice for a month. While the interlude was a real low for me, there was a silver lining: when I resumed, kundalini had gone dormant, so I could work in stillness without the fireworks. For the first time, I was able to get to a stillness so deep that my metabolism slowed down; hardly breathing, heart beating quite slowly. During one session, I really managed to penetrate samadhi, after I had the uncanny sensation of someone very alive and close touching my forehead - not to give shaktipat, but to give yet more stillness. I don't fully understand it, but I loved the outcome.

I've since reawakened my kundalini. And some meditation sessions are quite still (though always with a sizzling undercurrent), though others are more Wagnerian (though always with a still undercurrent). And the stillness is working into my life - I'm getting unflappable. I walked soaked yesterday through a huge downpour with no umbrella and it felt utterly unremarkable - the frantic dashing all around me couldn't touch me. Like that. Everything's as good as anything else.

But this underlying stillness has retarded my bhakti. I do not care one iota if I get enlightened or not. I've lost my spiritual thirst to move forward. Everything's as good as everything else. I've turned into a yawningly complacent poppa bear.

Two questions:

1. Have I simply bounced too far the other way - too much shiva and too little shakti? My feeling is not; kundalini and shakti are alive, I feel that shiva/shakti are starting to reach equilibrium, and, if anything, shakti's still a bit stronger. So ... is my new blase (though not apathetic) attitude toward further practice a natural plateau?

2. Because of my previous over-doing, I've been staying very simple in my practice: 10 minutes vanilla pranayama (with mulabandha and sambhavi) and 20 minutes vanilla mantra meditation (in simple cross legs) all this time. I decided not to add siddhasana, thinking it unwise to cultivate yet more energy from the root. And I'm guessing that what's happening is that I'm flagging in my self pacing (I'll bet you don't see much of that!), and need to add practices to soup things up. Does that sound right?

If so, what to add? I feel attracted to expanded mantra and samyama (separated by a few weeks, of course), but that'd be skipping far ahead. Bastrika would be nice (I'd like to refine a bit in the purification), but first I'd need yoni mudra kumbhaka and chin pump. Should I indeed just take on siddhasana, which is, after all, the next step in AYP? I'm reluctant to because I'm not sure more raw energy in practice is what's needed right now; I'd like to work on broadening and refining, and add on siddhasana when the energy I'm moving in pranayama starts feeling inadequate. If no definitive advice occurs to you, no problem, I'll just do what comes naturally!


A: It sounds like you are doing just about right. Keep in mind that the basic integrated routine you have now exceeds what most kriya, mantra or hatha yogis do. So, whatever plateau you are on is still shoveling out eons of karma underneath. Even when we do not seem to be moving, we are ... which is to say, the "blase" is just a temporary phase. It is inner silence coming up and standing somewhat separate from external activity, including thoughts and feelings. In time, inner silence (Self) is perceived as the activity itself. Nothing blase about that. And totally peaceful and free at the same time. As the old saying goes - "In the world, but not of the world." At the same time, we are the world.

As for what to do next, it is okay to soft-pedal advancement in the hatha techniques (siddhasana, yoni mudra kumbhaka, kechari, chin pump, bastrika, etc.) if you want to stay more on the shiva (inner silence) side for a while. When you do move forward with hatha methods again, I suggest you take it pretty much in order. Siddhasana can be done very lightly, so does not have to be "all out." It can be eased into gently over many months, which should not be a problem for someone with hatha yoga skills. You'll know what to do.

On what to do now, I think it is too soon for a mantra enhancement. You just got going with meditation again. Give it 3-6 months and then see. A mantra enhancement is really a huge adjustment, taking at least that long to settle in, so when you do a mantra enhancement, give it that much time at least before taking on another one.

Regarding samyama, as it says in lesson #150, that can be taken on when there is some inner silence coming up, assuming the meditation routine is stable. That is the main prerequisite. You have that now, so maybe consider samyama as the next step. Give samyama 3-6 months before tackling a mantra enhancement also. It is okay to ease into more hatha methods before then if it is comfortable, but give samyama at least a month or two without playing with anything new.

Samyama will begin to move inner silence out into external energy expressions in thoughts, feelings and the physical environment. The blase will begin to unwind everywhere, but not in a raw kundalini way -- not usually. More of a moving inner silence kind of thing. A very unique and wonderful next step for inner silence. It can be physical also (you might "shake" or "hop" a bit), but not usually like a raw kundalini experience -- generally deeper and more refined. Samyama cultivates all three stages of enlightenment at the same time -- inner silence, ecstatic conductivity and unity.

So, maybe try leapfrogging to samyama. Then, a little later, look to proceeding with next hatha steps. Then, once samyama is stable and hatha is on a reasonable even keel, consider a mantra enhancement. These are just suggestions. It can be done in any reasonable order that works for you. This is just some perspective on a possible path forward based on where you are now.

Above all, always go at your own pace, and have fun!

The guru is in you.

Note: For detailed instructions on building a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book.

For detailed instructions on samyama practice, covering multiple applications, see the AYP Samyama book.

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