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Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Urgent Bhakti and Overdoing
August 12, 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
Q: I am starting to feel that my path has become all about
self-pacing. After two-and-a-half years
practices, I am
experiencing big ups and downs on
my path. Over and over again, I am filled with bhakti that leads to
overdoing in practices. Then I overload, and am cutting back on practices
until the next cycle, and so on. There has been a lot of self-judgment and
suffering around this. It has been difficult with surging bhakti for divine
union like mine, combined with the powerful AYP system, and other practices
I have pursued along the way. I'm not sure where to go from here. I am
desperate for God, but am having great difficulty traveling this rough road.
I also have a desire to serve others, but do not see how that can happen
under the present circumstances.
A: The more advanced we become,
the more important self-pacing becomes, for the very reasons you are
describing. With the rise of inner silence and the awakening of ecstatic
conductivity (kundalini), the more intense our desire for union will become.
This rise of urgent bhakti is both a cause and effect in practices. It is up
to us to regulate our conduct in relation to practices, our bhakti, and life
in general, so as to keep in balance. In this, we should always keep in mind
the potential delayed effects that can come when diving into intense periods
of practice. Throwing caution to the wind in such situations is what can
lead to the cycle of energetic and emotional ups and downs you are
The key is to chart a course in the middle, between the
highs and lows. Not always easy for most of us until we are further along in
spiritual experience. Two or three years is a very short time in practices.
Aim for 5-10 years of stable practice, combined
with a normal life (whatever that is for you), and then results can be much
smoother and more reliable. Reduce short term expectations, and all will be
better. There is nothing to do except what is in front of us right now.
It isn't about
following impulsive urges to
jump into more and more practices.
This is a form of
automatic yoga that does not necessarily lead to more progress.
we make stable practice the priority on our path,
what we need to be doing next
Ultimately, we are not the doers. Inner silence is. In abiding inner
our dharma (most evolutionary path)
becomes clear. This doesn't mean we should not look
before we leap. Common sense and a measured approach are our best friends on
the path, especially when we are becoming more advanced.
Regarding serving others, we have to take care of ourselves before we can
take care of others. On the other hand, sometimes it can work the other way
around, and be grounding. Sometimes by taking care of others we can take
care of ourselves. Only you can know in your particular circumstances.
It is suggested not to let fearful judgments rule in deciding on how to
go forward. We do not self-pace in fear. Use common sense. If the energy is
flowing too much, then engage in the practical measures we have discussed
throughout the lessons for self-pacing and grounding.
If you are
finding too much sensitivity in deep meditation with mantra, it will be wise
to consider doing breath meditation for a while, as discussed in
Lesson 367. Likewise, it is not a good idea to push
ahead aggressively with asanas, pranayama, mudras, bandhas and other
practices until stability in your basic daily practice routine is
balanced with daily activity. Having good grounding in our life in the form
of ordinary daily activity like
a job, school or
family is very important.
There is an old saying that "a watched pot
will never boil." In spiritual endeavors, the opposite can happen, with "a
watched pot boiling too much." This means keeping our bhakti in perspective,
relaxing our urgency as needed. Keeping a balance is essential,
especially as we advance along the path with inner silence, ecstatic
energies and the
intensification of bhakti. The good news is that it all settles down
as purification and opening advance. As stillness and ecstatic energy
mingle, the eternal peace and natural dynamism of divine
outpouring emerge. In the meantime, it is up to us to self-pace and
Having a lot of bhakti is great. It is essential to fuel our
actions on the path. But, as we advance, it will
not be helpful without a balance in our life. It is about knowing ourselves,
and doing what is necessary for stable progress. No one else can do this for
This rough spot will pass ... it is guaranteed. When the good
vibes are coming back, tread through with care. Not too much up, and not too
much down. Cultivate and abide in the stillness in the middle. That is what
we are ... that is where the peace is, even when the world around us may be
There will be ups and downs in life, no matter how
enlightened we become. That is also guaranteed. As long as we think we can
eliminate the ups and downs by maneuvering our life this way or that way, we
will be suffering. With practices we will get to the point where we can live
through the inevitable ups and downs in abiding inner silence. Then judgment
of ourselves and others fades.
(identification) is the greatest cause of suffering the only cause really.
That's why meditation is the most important practice. It brings us home to
stillness, which ends judgment.
Judgment is gradually replaced by
divine flow, which is doing what is in front of us right now, living in the
ups and downs of life as stillness in action. It is not a mind thing. It is
about cultivating our essential "being" daily, which is pure bliss
Everything else revolves around
that, lives in that, and is That.
It is about sustaining
balanced daily practice over the long term. That is how we become.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed
discussion on how bhakti evolves on our path, see the
Bhakti and Karma Yoga book. For detailed instructions on
building and maintaining a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga book. Also see AYP Plus.