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Internet Lessons with additions,
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Lesson 302 - The Far-Reaching Consequences
of Samyama (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
302.1 - Caution on Using the Samyama Sutras of Patanjali (Audio)
Samyama and a Taste of Unity (Audio)
Date: Feb 4, 2009
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
The word "Samyama" is most often regarded
with a sense of mystery and mysticism, and imbued with an air of the
super-natural, if it has even been heard of at all. For those who are
generally familiar with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, samyama is known to
somehow encompass the last three limbs of the famous eight limbs of yoga,
and is associated with the acquisition of "super-normal powers," or
"siddhis." Indeed, Patanjali devotes one of the four chapters of the Yoga
Sutras to said super-normal powers, even while telling us not to become too
attached to them. It all sounds pretty esoteric, doesn"t it?
But what if I told you
that samyama is only a fancy word for systematically releasing our desires
and intentions into stillness, and, that by cultivating this habit, the
quality of our life can be improved in many practical ways? In fact, whether
we have realized it or not, we have been doing samyama all our life, at
least when we have surrendered our desires to our concept of a higher power.
When we have, we have found relief from whatever led us to the surrender,
and often a much-needed turn in our life in the direction of greater opening
and fulfillment. However we may regard the concept of a higher power, and no
matter what our religious background, our surrender has invariably been into
a living presence that we can also call "stillness." It is the act of
surrender that brings about the relief and the opening to newness. This is
always a miracle, no matter how subtle or manifest the outcome may be. We do
not have to exhibit super-normal powers to be living a life full of
miracles. All it takes is an abiding stillness in us and an ability to
release our thoughts, feelings and actions into That.
Those who have been
reading along with these lessons know that we have been attending to the
cultivation of stillness since the beginning, with the daily practice of
deep meditation. We have also called it the cultivation of abiding inner
silence. It has many names, but it is always the same thing - our inner
nature where all peace, love, energy, creativity and accomplishments are
born. Abiding stillness arises naturally in us as we practice daily
meditation over weeks, months and years.
Here in AYP, we also
attend to the cultivation of a special kind of conductivity in the human
nervous system. We call it "ecstatic conductivity" because it is ecstatic.
In a more advanced form, we also call it "ecstatic radiance," because our
ecstasy becomes radiant, reaching beyond our physical body. Not only once in
a while, but all the time. This rising energetic phenomenon is also called
"kundalini." It is a transformation in the neurobiology.
What does this ecstatic
quality in us have to do with stillness and samyama? It provides the medium
for stillness to "move" out through us into everyday living. In this way we
experience the blissful stillness within us as an overflowing joy in our
life. Joy is the first manifestation of it. From there, it continues going
outward in innumerable ways, according to the need of our life and our
surroundings. We all know intuitively that by "being still" we can tap into
this process of divine outpouring.
As it says in the Old
Testament of the Bible: "Be still, and know that I am God."
This is not a new
teaching! To be living our life from within our inherent stillness has been
known to be the holy grail of human existence since time immemorial.
But how do we do this?
It is a good first step to be cultivating abiding stillness through daily
deep meditation, just as it is good to be cultivating ecstatic conductivity
through spinal breathing pranayama. The next step is samyama, which was
first introduced as a core practice way back in Lesson
150, and has been revisited often ever since. In the past three lessons,
we have introduced additional structured applications of samyama,
systematically expanding our awareness to its natural unboundedness with
cosmic samyama (advanced yoga nidra), enhancing the influence of our yoga
postures, and increasing the power of our sincere prayers. These are a few
of the ways, we can use the principle of samyama to enhance our everyday
experience of life, bringing the positive influence of stillness into the
equation. We have called it awakening "stillness in action."
There is much more, and
the further we go in incorporating samyama into everyday living, the more we
will be engaging in the habit of letting go and flowing, rather than
constantly struggling with ourselves and everything around us. We will keep
our structured practices during the times we have assigned to them in our
daily routine. With these, we will be cultivating the inner habits of
abiding stillness (inner silence), ecstatic conductivity and radiance, and
the process of releasing naturally into stillness with our thoughts,
feelings and actions. In this way our life becomes a constant joyful
outpouring of divine purpose, a never-ending flow of stillness in action. We
become a partner in this process, and find a life without fear and
suffering, even as life may go on externally much as it did before. It is
our internal point of view that will be constantly reborn in stillness, and
all of our relationships and actions will be influenced accordingly.
As we move along in
these lessons, we will be delving deeper into how the rise of stillness and
the habit of samyama can be used in practical ways in daily living. With a
foundation of knowledge about the principles of samyama, and, more
importantly, practice and experience, we will be able to approach areas of
additional spiritual practice that may have been problematic before. Here we
are speaking of "self-inquiry" and "karma yoga" (service), which are
important spiritual practices, but have often been problematic for
practitioners to engage in without getting mired in intellectualizing and/or
running into emotional obstacles. With an intelligent approach to applying
the principles of samyama, these obstructions can be dissolved, leading to
much more fulfillment in life.
So, you see, samyama is
both ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary, in that it is simply about doing
what we have been seeking to do for much of our life - operate from the
deepest, most capable and secure level of who we are. And extraordinary, in
that all peace, compassion, creativity and divine energy can flow out
through us into this worldly existence. In this way, all of life is seen to
be extraordinarily ordinary, and a joy to be living, no matter what may be
Practice wisely, and
The guru is in you.
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