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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 352 - How to Boil a Frog

From: Yogani
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 This Discussion?"



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 and again.

The guru is in you.

Note: For detailed discussion on "instant" versus gradual enlightenment, see the Self-Inquiry book 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.

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