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

Lesson 345 - The Spiritual Evolution of Action

From: Yogani
Date: July 10, 2009

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?"



We are conditioned in our consumer culture to believe that if we want something, we can just go to the store and buy it. At the same time we know that anything worth having is worth working for. Going to the store to buy something we want may be the culmination of a long time of saving enough money to do that. Of course, many things are bought on credit these days, so there is the illusion of instant gratification.

Fortunately, we can't buy enlightenment on credit. We have to earn it through our bhakti and persistent dedication to daily practice. Then we will have something that transcends the limitations of time and space. We become That.

While spiritual maturity is only about living in the now, it takes time to arrive at where we already are. There can be many instances of instant gratification along the way, if not the whole thing. Life with spiritual practices in the picture will be improving step-by-step, with many small miracles occurring, and some big ones too.

So it will be with our actions in daily living. While we'd like to see our actions instantly elevated to the level of enlightenment, it is a journey, an evolution. As with all evolution, we begin where we are today, and take the next step. And, ultimately, the gaining of enlightenment is giving it away. The less we need it, the more of it we will have (see Lesson 120). Until then, our journey will be an evolutionary cycle of desire, action and opening, leading to more desire, action and opening.

Before spiritual practices, our journey will tend to be circular, at least from the standpoint of spiritual progress. We may lead a very productive life in the material sense, build up a big bank account, have many material things, and so on. But, at the end, we will feel like we did in the beginning, wanting something more.

There is always time for spiritual progress, even with our last breath. But because human spiritual transformation is a journey of inner purification and opening, it behooves us to start as early as possible and make the best use of the time we have. Rome was not built in a day!

The first truly evolutionary step in our action is to undertake daily practices. It is not such a big thing, only a few minutes of sitting in deep meditation morning and evening. That is all it takes to get the ball rolling. Of course, before we make the commitment to practices, there must be the desire, some bhakti stirring inside, something within us that says, "There must be more than this."

If we act on it, we will find out that there is more a lot more.

So the evolution of action begins in earnest with a commitment to daily spiritual practices. Then we will find ourselves moving in a forward direction as inner silence begins to rise within us. Then it is a new ball game. We go from traveling in circles to traveling more in a straight line in the direction our inner longing takes us. The straight line is a cycle also, an ever-widening one of purification and opening.

Eventually we will transcend the longing itself, and divine energy will be flowing outward from us instead of the wanting flowing constantly inward. That is when we will have crossed the tipping point of enlightenment, when the inner flow has shifted and we are no longer seeking it, but giving it away!

Then the cycle of desire and action takes on a new dynamic, a constant outpouring of the divine. The outpouring is its own journey, and its own destination. The label enlightenment may be stamped on it by outside observers, but there will be no proclamation from the one who is fully engaged in it. There is no one to proclaim, except the flow of Love itself.

The guru is in you.

Note: For detailed discussion on how karma can be transcended and transformed to an unending outpouring of divine love, see the Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.

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