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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 404 On Jumping to the Third Mantra Enhancement

From: Yogani
Date: May 26, 2010

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 an over-sensitive meditator, and have been using the breath meditation practice covered in Lesson 367 for about six months with good results. Inner silence is growing steadily, and the experience has become much smoother. Now I feel ready to go back and try using mantra again. Before going to breath meditation, I tried the third mantra enhancement as per Lesson 367. It helped for about two weeks, but then I began to run into physical and emotional overload again, like I did originally with the I AM mantra. That is when I went to breath meditation, which has been much better. Now in trying mantra again, should I go to the third mantra enhancement, or go back to the I AM mantra?


A: When coming from breath meditation back to deep meditation with mantra, it is suggested to go to the I AM mantra, rather than an enhancement, even if you have used an enhanced mantra before going to breath meditation. Take your time shifting from breath meditation to mantra. There is no rush. You are having good results with your present practice, and any changes should be undertaken very gradually. By now, you are well familiar with self-pacing, and that will be your most important tool in managing any changes in your practice routine.

The third enhancement was suggested in Lessons 367 to slow down transcending for those who are highly sensitive to the I AM mantra. Results have been mixed on that, with many going to breath meditation after a short time with the third mantra enhancement, like you did. The third enhancement is not for jumping to if meditation is stable with breath or any mantra enhancement other than the second one. Coming from breath meditation, it will be best to start at the beginning with I AM, so we will have the best chance for establishing a stable practice and a normal track of mantra enhancements. One step at a time.

When coming back to mantra meditation from breath meditation, do not be surprised if it takes a while to train the mind to favor the mantra rather than the breath. After doing breath meditation for some time, a habit of favoring the breath as object will be there, and it can take a few weeks, or longer, to develop the habit of favoring the mantra instead. This is normal, and in some time the shift in habit will happen. If we find both mantra and breath in our awareness, we just easily favor the mantra. We treat the breath like any other thought or sensation that may come up, gently favoring the mantra, like that. In time, the mantra is naturally favored at increasingly refined levels, beyond the breath.

Regarding choosing a mantra enhancement strategy once we are stable with the I AM mantra, preferably for at least six months, there are two paths available the original mantra enhancement path, and an alternate path, which was introduced later on to provide a less aggressive, more balanced approach. Both paths end up with the same third enhancement. See Lesson 369 for both paths, plus references to additional lessons on mantra enhancements.

As it says in Lesson 367, jumping to the third enhancement is not recommended for anyone but the very few who are highly sensitive to the I AM mantra, inclined toward "fast transcending" with a short mantra, and may find stability with a longer mantra. As mentioned, results with this approach have been mixed. Most over-sensitive meditators have had good results with breath meditation, and in time some have migrated back to the I AM mantra with good results also.

Breath meditation does not usually go as deep as mantra meditation, because once breath suspends there is no object. Mantra can go much deeper. This difference is why breath meditation is one of the options suggested for those who are very sensitive with mantra. Your experience certainly bears this out.

Many thanks for your feedback, and wishing you all the best on your continuing path!

The guru is in you.

Note: For instructions on building a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga book.

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