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Lesson 424 - After the Ecstasy  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: August 6, 2010

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 This Discussion?"


Q: While many of us practicing AYP have been working on "body-mind" level practices meditation, spinal breathing, mudras, bandhas, asanas, etc., a few have been talking about an unending ecstatic condition seemingly independent of the body-mind. While most of us are cultivating inner silence and ecstasy, and finding a gradual marriage of these two occurring, some are deep into ecstasy and find themselves coming back into the body-mind for grounding and integration later on. Having gone from cultivating stillness in the body-mind to living from awareness and seeing ecstasy as part of that process, I have been wondering why someone in a constant ecstatic state would need to go back to grounding in the body. Is it because it is necessary to have a well-rounded approach in order to find a balanced marriage between stillness and ecstasy? So if we have gone beyond body-mind into an ecstatic condition, it will come back into the body for grounding and integration eventually? Similarly, if we work primarily toward cultivating inner silence and grounding it in the body-mind through daily activity, we will eventually go beyond that into ecstasy beyond the body-mind? So are we talking about the same process, only coming to it from different directions?

A: Yes, it is the same process, seeming to be coming from different directions. In the end, the differences are seen to be two sides of the same coin. So we are never really separate from what we are. The journey is in the realization of that, which takes some cleaning out of the neurobiology. That is what yoga is for.

Sometimes it can happen that an advanced practitioner can move off into refined ecstatic energy experiences much more than realized, to a degree that it can be an expense to the body and practical living. Ecstasy is wonderful, but no matter how refined it may be, there is an integration beyond that, which is coming back with it into the body and ordinary living. That's why it is important to keep active in the world between our practice sessions. It brings us back into the everyday things of life, which is where enlightenment is cultivated and lived. Non-duality can only be found in the midst of duality. It is one of those divine paradoxes.

Some who come on the path already have ecstatic experiences which have motivated them to look for "more." It can be difficult for those coming from the side of so many fireworks (or even a refined ecstatic glow) to reconcile that with the relatively mundane task of continuing to cultivate abiding inner silence in daily deep meditation. Yet, that is exactly what is needed. It is generally best to cultivate stillness before ecstatic states are entered into (the sequence in these lessons), as this builds stability into our journey from the start. But not everyone has that luxury, and some may have no choice but to come into stillness from towering waves of ecstatic energy. When the waves have dashed us on the rocks of life enough times, we wake up to the need for a deeper integration that includes body, mind, and, most importantly, abiding inner silence.

If we are off into ecstasy, sooner or later we will get that wakeup call that says, "Hey, you are ignoring your body, your health, and the practical things in your life. It's time for a change."

Then the ecstatic energy honeymoon is over and the work of integrating our ecstatic condition back into our everyday life will occur. That's the real marriage of stillness and ecstasy. It's a good thing. After the ecstasy, it is about ordinary living, and that is when stillness and ecstasy will find their balance. This is also when we find ourselves to be expressing more and more as "stillness in action" in all aspects of our life. Nothing glamorous. Just ordinary life, lived in an extraordinary freedom.

Sooner or later, we all will come to self-pacing of our practice and grounding our spiritual energies in daily living for balance. We have to, or the journey will not continue in a progressive manner. For someone who has been off into ecstasy all the time, it could mean using less powerful practices for a while and engaging in more grounding activities, honoring where one is in time and space, as we all must do. The greatest power for transformation is in deep meditation and related methods. No matter how far we have flown, we will come back to some form of meditation routine in time, to continue the process of stabilizing inner silence in our nature. It is the essence of what we are. Whether we encounter ecstasy early or late on our path, sooner or later we will find ourselves phasing back into practices and a lifestyle that bring balance between body, mind, inner silence and ecstatic energies. It is never going to be about only one of these elements. It is about a balanced integration of all of them.

Yes, we are all coming to the same thing from varying perspectives. It is the same human nervous system and the same process unfolding (the same elements) we are all dealing with, with variations in the journey according to our individual inclinations and actions (karma).

A well-rounded approach is what it takes to keep moving ahead, while avoiding getting caught in one particular mode of experience. This understanding comes to all serious practitioners. It is how we continue on through the process of human spiritual transformation. The AYP baseline system attempts to build this balance into the progression of practices undertaken throughout the lessons, while taking into account the many variations in experience that can come up in individual self-directed practitioners.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on building and maintaining a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.

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