Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 352 -
How to Boil a Frog
Date: August 12, 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
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 it?
A: It could be both, assuming the aspirant is "ripe" by the time they
come to the instant enlightenment proponent who
claims that liberation already is (see Lesson 328).
Clearly there is a process leading up to that
point. 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
The guru is in you.
Note: For 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.