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How to Boil a Frog
August 12, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: I am confused about whether enlightenment is an instant event not
dependent on practices, as some have insisted, or a gradual process of
awakening with practices like you have described in your lessons. Which is
A: It could be both, assuming the aspirant is "ripe" by the time theycome
instant enlightenment proponent who claims that liberation already is (see Lesson
Clearly there is a process leading up to that
It is only a matter of where one happens to be in that process as to whether
enlightenment may be considered instant or not. Before it actually happens,
the no-practices-needed instant enlightenment proponent will be wrong, not
the aspirant. Eventually they will both be
right, thanks to the sincere effort of the aspirant.
There is only one awakening process and experience, and there is no way to
bypass what must be done. There are ways to accelerate awakening, but the
promise of instant enlightenment being available to everyone right now is
not realistic. On the other hand, progress toward that is certainly
available to anyone who has the desire and commitment to travel the path of
practice that lies before them. The path will appear in accordance with our
spiritual desire our bhakti. All we must do is keep walking it for as long
as it takes. If we do that, sooner or later we will awaken to the infinite
that we are. When that happens, we may well view it as "instant," because
it will become clear that the end has been present since the beginning. But
intellectually embracing the paradox of "nowhere to go and nothing to do"
is no substitute for honest effort on our path.
Becoming enlightened is a
bit like trying to boil a frog, metaphorically speaking. If the frog is
thrown in boiling water, he will jump out immediately, again and again if we
keep throwing him in there, hoping for an instant boiling.
If the frog is put in cool water and the temperature slowly increased,
he will not jump out, and the frog will be boiled soon enough with no
resistance. Like that, turning up the heat gradually with well-paced
spiritual practices will boil the self-identified
awareness (ego) before it knows it is being transformed into
eternal bliss consciousness. Throw the ego into
a boiling pot of extreme transformation and it will jump out like the frog.
So be gentle and crafty with your jumping frog ego, and it will be boiled
soon enough. Maybe
not instantly, but probably more quickly than by having to chase that frog
all around the kitchen floor again and again.
The guru is in you.
detailed discussion on "instant" versus
gradual enlightenment, see the
and the Liberation book.
For detailed instructions on
building a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, and evolution
of the stages of enlightenment, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book. Also see