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Taking the Leap to Direct
August 18, 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: While quite a few have told me, "My
way is the only way to achieve enlightenment," I find the AYP
teaching to be refreshing in that it makes no exclusive claims like that.
Ironically, this strength of AYP causes me some doubt about which system of
practices I should follow. There are so many alternatives, all vying for my
attention with grand promises. I find myself
somewhat paralyzed on how to proceed.
What I'm looking for is
confirmation from direct experience that AYP indeed works, rather than
theoretical explanations. I'm sure that the AYP following wouldn't be as
large as it is if it didn't provide meaningful results, but I thought it
could save me more research on practices if I could get a definitive answer
on what is absolutely the best approach. I shall not rest until I find it!
A: You have really answered your own question with your reference to
a "confirmation from direct experience." That can only mean your
direct experience, because there is no such thing as direct experience for
you coming from another. Doing something yourself is the only way you will
find out what works for you, no matter what anyone else may say about it.
We can investigate approaches to spiritual practice until the cows come
home. But we will have nothing we can rely on until we take the leap to
direct experience. That means picking an approach to practices and getting
started. From that point onward we will be on the journey, and able to
adjust our course as necessary along the way, based on actual results in our
A certain amount of analysis on the
front end is necessary. However, if it becomes our
primary and on-going
mode of approaching
practices, we will find limited results. Once we have gotten under way with
an actual practice routine, we can base all analysis on our actual
experiences, rather than second and third hand experiences that may be
claimed by others. The game is here in us, and nowhere else. The sooner we
get in the game as a direct participant, rather than continuing as a
spectator, the sooner we will be managing actual causes and effects in our
process of human spiritual transformation, instead of just imagining what it
is all about.
While we can't say that AYP is "absolutely the best
approach," we can say that it offers an effective sequence for taking on
practices, with a strong likelihood of finding
life-enhancing results in
term and long
term. This is
done in a way that affords flexibility for building and pacing our
practice routine to accommodate personal sensitivities and inclinations.
This kind of approach is not so easy to find in sectarian teachings, where
there may be fixed rules on how to proceed with practices, regardless of
personal needs. In that sense, AYP is somewhat
unique, putting the practitioner in charge of building and managing the
practice routine, with support
as may be
Is this the best approach? Who can say? Is this a practical
and effective approach? Definitely.
flexibility found in AYP does not mean it is watered down or weak. Quite to
the contrary, the practices offered
are among the most powerful (and simple to do) available anywhere,
especially when integrated together in a twice-daily practice routine.
Plus, they can be taken on at a rate determined by the practitioner,
producing more than enough oomph to challenge our ability to absorb rapid
rates of inner purification and opening. That is why "self-pacing" is at the
heart of the AYP approach. We use powerful
practices, and we self-pace them for maximum progress with comfort. There is
no such thing as maximum progress with discomfort, because this leads to
discontinuations of practices a much slower approach in the long run.
So self-pacing is essential.
all that, it really boils down to something very simple for any would-be
practitioner looking at the AYP approach. Just begin deep meditation
according to instructions provided in the lessons (see
Lesson 13), and take it from there. Once a comfortable
twice-daily practice of deep meditation is in place, additional options will
open to us. When we are consistently cultivating
abiding inner silence, all the rest will come. There will be less analysis
and more doing. This is what we mean by taking the leap to direct
experience. It is very easy, but we have to take that
leap ourselves, and continue with a consistent
Your direct experience with practices will be
the most reliable and useful feedback you will get on your path. That is the
formula. It is about your results, not anyone else's. Everything is going to
work out fine. Just do it.
Wishing you all the best on your path.
Practice wisely, and enjoy!
The guru is in you.
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For detailed instructions on starting and maintaining an easy twice-daily
deep meditation practice, see
the Deep Meditation 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.