For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living
For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books,
Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Is the Witness the Same as
Date: Mar 18, 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
Q: A question came to my mind while reading the lessons. You speak of the
kundalini ride and how the energy accumulated transmutates outwards into
outpouring divine love (that is great by the way!). My question is, in your
case, as I suppose you had been meditating for many years prior to all that,
you were awake, i.e., had abiding inner silence and was aware of the essence
of what you are.
I guess it may correlate with the 3 phases of enlightenment that you
Abiding inner silence (witnessing) cultivated by daily deep meditation.
rise of ecstatic conductivity (kundalini) cultivated by spinal
breathing pranayama, hatha yoga methods, etc.
merging of the two = outpouring divine love and unity.
Is this correct? Do you think that one who has only the witnessing state
(1st phase) is enlightened? Maybe so, but not "outpouring?"
A: Yes, I was fortunate to have many years of deep meditation before going
through the kundalini stage, and it makes for much more clarity and purpose
about what is happening. Inner silence (the witness) is the fundamental
constituent of rising enlightenment. This is why we cover deep meditation
first in the AYP lessons.
On the other hand, during that time many years ago, I did not have the
integration of tools we have available today for smoothly cultivating and
navigating the kundalini stage, so a lot of "R&D" occurred during those
years. Many of the things that are routine now in AYP were formulated during
that time. The
Secrets of Wilder novel provides
a facsimile for some of those experiences a process of learning by trial and
error, through ongoing applications of cause and effect in practices.
As for enlightenment, I do not see it as a fixed absolute thing. The three
phases you mentioned (see Lesson
are signature experiences we may notice emerging along the way, and are for
general confirmation of progress as we keep moving forward. As many
practitioners know, these experiences are real. Yet, there is no end
destination where we can say, "I have arrived!" Be leery of anyone who
proclaims that. When we are there, we will not be exclaiming anything. The
greatest enlightenment is the one that does not speak much of itself. It
only does for others, continuing the purification and opening in everyone.
And that too is an ongoing journey. Where does it end? Let's keep going and
Along the way, what we might be inclined to call "enlightenment" is always
going to be relative to what came before and what is to come later. If we
feel more peaceful and happy than last year, we are relatively more
enlightened compared to last year, right? And we will see what it will be
next year as we continue to practice. Of course, it is what it is in the
now, and that is most important. The rest of it is about keeping up our
motivation (bhakti) for continuing on our path. What we think about it
doesn't matter all that much. What we do consistently over the long term in
practices makes all the difference.
In the AYP
one of the "pitfalls of the mind" that is discussed is the "illusion of
attainment," or of thinking we have "arrived." Because of the rise of the
witness in so many quarters these days, there are quite a few people around
who may be inclined to reside in this pitfall, promoting adherence to the
witness stage over being actively engaged in the world. This is not
enlightenment. Neither is it yoga. It is separation. The message here is: It
is time to move on!
While the witness stage is often presented as "enlightenment," it is only
the beginning. It is the starting point for illuminating all of the human
race, and beyond. This can only happen when we, as the witness, become
ecstatically energized and continue to act in the world. That is the divine
outpouring, which we also call stillness in action. It must continue as our
divine stillness radiates outward on the wings of ecstatic kundalini.
It is no longer about whether any one person, or few persons, are
enlightened or not. It is about everyone becoming enlightened. It is the
ongoing evolution of our species, the journey that we are living every day.
The guru is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum
Note: For detailed instructions on building a
balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, and on the evolution of
the stages of enlightenment, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book.,
and AYP Plus.