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Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons
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Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 92 - The Star  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: Thu Jan 22, 2004 4:56pm

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: I have meditated for the past 10 years. I would say that I was never really good at it. I felt that way because I was easily distracted during meditation by thoughts. With that in mind, it was a hit or miss as to whether I meditated or not. In other words, not a daily practice. More like 3 - 4 times a week. 

Prior to joining your group, I was told how to do Yoni Mudra. I wasn't really doing it right, but the first two times I saw this beautiful circle with a star in the middle. I did not know at that time that it was something that would happen after doing Yoni Mudra. A couple days after seeing it, I received a flyer in the mail from the Self Realization Fellowship and on the flyer was the exact thing I saw. I had not seen it again even with trying Yoni Mudra.

So now fast forward. I joined your group. I really liked the fact that the thoughts that come are ok. Just keep going and go back to the mantra. I felt like maybe I was doing it right before and that my expectation was off. I've committed to doing the practice twice a day. I wanted to keep the "time line" in mind so that I didn't rush through this. So I added the Advanced Practices slowly. I haven't really had any rush of kundalini energy like some of the people, but I decided to keep practicing.

This morning I tried the Yoni Mudra for the 1st time since joining your group. As soon as I started, I saw a bunch of crazy lights. I just watched and kept doing it. Then came the circles with the star in the middle. There was a bright circle with a dark circle inside. In the middle was the star. The star would fade in and out. I didn't want it to go away. I went into my meditation and it did leave.

My question is, what's the star all about? Why do I want to see it so badly when I don't even know what it is all about? I know it is part of the process but how and why is not known. Will I see it when I meditate or only during Yoni Mudra? Is there something I can do to retain the star during meditation? What made it come during Yoni Mudra? Am I supposed to do something with the star?

A: The simple procedure of meditation doesn't mind thoughts at all, or anything else. It is the art of gentle persuasion, letting the mantra refine to pure bliss consciousness. The mind goes to stillness easily when we give up the fight with thoughts and just favor the mantra naturally at deeper levels whenever we become aware we are off it. This is the way in.

On seeing the star, it is a natural outcome of purifying the sushumna (spinal nerve) and opening the third eye. It was mentioned in the lesson on yoni mudra kumbhaka that the attention will sooner or later be drawn out beyond the point between the eyebrows. This is an extension of the sushumna beyond the body. At the end of the sushumna are the infinite realms of bright white light. They are seen as a bright star in the beginning. The colors ringed around the star are the inside of the sushumna. You are looking out from the inside, so you are seeing the inside of the sushumna in your body, and the end of the sushumna off in the distance, which is the star. You are looking through the tunnel of the sushumna, seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel," as they say. Inside the tunnel, we are literally a rainbow of light, beginning with dark red at the bottom and ending with blue and violet at the top. You have heard the expression, "She has a heart of gold." Well, we all have hearts of gold. We just need some housecleaning to see it. That is the outer ring you are seeing.

Some of the most graphic and beautiful descriptions of the inside of the sushumna are presented by Norman Paulsen in his book "Sacred Science." Mr. Paulsen is one of the few remaining direct disciples of Paramahansa Yogananda, the famed yogi and author of "Autobiography of a Yogi." In his book, Mr. Paulsen discusses a more intricate form of spinal breathing. There are a variety of approaches to spinal breathing, different styles. The approach to spinal breathing we use in these lessons is chosen for its simplicity and known effectiveness. Each person is free to choose, so different styles of practice are honored here.

The sacred diagram, "Sri Yantra," is also a representation of the inner reality of humanity -- concentric circles of divine feminine energy forming a tunnel leading to the final union of shiva and shakti in the center. When we do spinal breathing we are joining these two energies everywhere inside the sushumna, and in every part of the nervous system.

This is one of the few instances in life where "tunnel vision" has some positive connotations to it.

What are we to do with this star when we see it, and a rising awareness of the sushumna tunnel that often goes with it? It is an important question you raise. Yes, we are naturally attracted to the star. It is "heaven." It is where we go when we die. Reports of the tunnel and white light are common among those who have had a near death experience. The tunnel is the way by which we have come into this earthly existence as well. Now you can see why spinal breathing is so important in our practice. We are clearing our highway to heaven.

But it isn't time to leave yet! Therein lies the answer to the question: What do we do about the star? You will get different answers from different people on this question. There is a lot of hub-bub about it.

The answer in these lessons is, we don't do much with the star. We let the experience of it evolve naturally, just as we do with everything coming up as a result of our practices. As the star comes up we regard it as any other part of our inner workings and go back to the practice we are doing. It is, after all, just another feature of our spiritual anatomy, like nadis, chakras, and the like. Everything in heaven and earth is contained within us. We don't have to go anywhere to be what we already are. If our ecstasy inside or outside practices draws us into the star, then this is just fine. Whatever happens there is part of our experience of divine expansion. If our ecstasy draws us elsewhere in our spiritual anatomy, that is fine too. If we are in practices, we easily favor the practice we are doing, like always. We don't get all hung up on this or that experience that may come up. If we are not in practices and we see something happening in our spiritual anatomy -- let's enjoy! In these lessons we are yogis and yoginis first, and tourists second. It is fine to enjoy the scenery when we are outside practices. There will be plenty for us to see. While inside practices, we stick to the easy job of favoring the practice we are doing.

On this earth we are in the business of putting our nervous system in good working spiritual order. That is what we are here for. This can only be done by continuing to nudge the nervous system every day to higher levels of functioning. As soon as we become fixated on any particular aspect of our spiritual anatomy, we may be doing so at the expense of the overall enlightenment project. For this reason, we do well to consider all the inner mechanics and experiences to be going on "under the hood" as we zoom along on our road of advanced yoga practices to enlightenment.

Let's go back to our analogy of taking a trip to California. Let's suppose we are building ourselves a road to California. One that will enable us to have easy access to come and go as we please. As our road under construction gets close enough to Los Angeles, we will see the bright lights shining off in the distance. We might be tempted to stop working on the road and just run across country to the lights of LA. Doing that, we end up in LA, leaving an unfinished road outside town somewhere. Not that LA needed another road anyway, but it is just an analogy. Sooner or later we will have to go back and finish that road. LA is not completely LA until we can come and go as we please. Like that, heaven is not completely heaven until we can come and go as we please. For that, we need a fully purified nervous system. 

Enlightenment is not about running off to heaven and leaving an unpurified nervous system behind that we will have to come back to and finish later in another life. It is about doing the work of completely purifying the nervous system. Then we have it all, become it all, heaven, earth, the cosmos, LA, everything. Then we become an expression of heaven on earth, and can do much for others who are expressions of heaven also, just needing a good housecleaning to realize it. So, it is not about going off into the star. It is about bringing the star in here, into the earth plane. That we do by purifying and opening the nervous system.

As Jesus said, "You are the light of the world."

So, if you are seeing the star or having ecstasy reaching out beyond the point between the eyebrows, go there as part of your normal spinal breathing. It will add a lot to your practice. If you see the star or have ecstasy extending out beyond the point between the eyebrows during yoni mudra kumbhaka, just be there easily during kumbhaka as the instructions say. Don't try and hang on to it. A natural purification and connection is occuring. Just let it happen. Keep in mind that we are working to purify our nervous system here on earth. That is what we are doing in meditation, spinal breathing, kumbhaka, bandhas, mudras, and all the rest. Enjoy the bliss of heaven when it kisses you. Bring it back into your body naturally in practices. Remember, the work we are doing is here in this earth form. What we accomplish here we will take with us wherever we go when we leave. This nervous system is the gateway. If we attend to that, everything else will take care of itself.

It has been said that the angels in heaven are a bit jealous of us mortal human beings. Why? Because on this plane of existence we have the nervous system readily available to purify, and the motivation (mortality) to do something about it. It is much easier to do that work here on earth than in heaven. So the angels are a bit jealous. They are waiting for their turn to do what we can do here and now -- advanced yoga practices. So, before we go running off to heaven, let's make the best of our opportunity here and now. Heaven will be there when it is our time to go. The more we can purify our nervous system here and now, the easier it will be for us later on.

There is a tendency in some approaches to get into some particular vision. To have that vision means everything. It doesn't have to be like that. The manifestation of truth won't be exactly the same for everyone. So, picking a specific vision to strive for could be a mistake. Maybe some will never see a tunnel or star. Maybe they just zoom through at some point and it is all pure white light. Or maybe some other kinds of colors, and then the white light. Maybe no white light, and just more and more ecstasy, until one day, boom! And white light is everywhere inside and outside the body. It can happen many different ways, depending on the unique purification process going on in each person. No one can tell how it should be for every person. For this reason we don't worry much about visions in these lessons. We do the practices every day that we know encourage the nervous system to purify and open naturally. The experiences will be whatever they will be. If we keep clearing the highway to heaven, there can be no doubt that we will arrive in the best shape, and have the everlasting ability to come and go as we please.

A vision is not the big payoff in yoga. Eternal freedom in enlightenment is!

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book.  For detailed instructions on spinal breathing, see the AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.  For detailed discussion on the benefits of "favoring the practice over the scenery," see the AYP Eight Limbs of Yoga book. Also see AYP Plus.

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