Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 12 - The Essential Ingredient - Desire
AYP Plus Additions:
12.1 - Relationship between Desire and Devotion (Bhakti) (Audio)
Date: Sun Nov 16, 2003 11:48am
It is common knowledge that if we want to be successful at something, at anything, we must
desire it continuously, and be willing to act to fulfill that desire every day. Think of
the most successful people you know. Isn't this what they have in common? If we look at
their lives, we see that they have worked long and hard to achieve excellence in their
chosen field. Behind that, an insatiable desire to succeed in their efforts kept them
driving them forward, overcoming obstacles, working for years toward their objective. It
is like that in yoga and religion, which is working toward divine union.
Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they
shall be filled." He also said, "Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will
open to you."
This is the magic formula -- desire toward a goal, which spawns action toward that goal.
Continuous desire is the fuel. Daily action is the fire. The word "continuous"
is important, as is the word "goal." Without these two operative functions,
desires are scattered, actions are unfocused, and not much happens. With them, anything is
If we cultivate our desire to become continuously focused on a particular goal, such as
the achievement of divine union, we are cultivating a special kind of desire. It is called
"devotion." Devotion is the continuous flow of desire toward an object or goal.
We are all familiar with the concept of devotion. It is how we explain the success of
great achievers: "Oh, she is so devoted to her work." Or of great mystics:
"Oh, she is so devoted to God." It is no coincidence that devotion and greatness
are found in the same place. The first invariably leads to the second. The second cannot
happen without the first.
Whatever your concept of enlightenment may be, whatever tradition or creed you hail from,
whatever inspires you in the direction of spiritual unfoldment, cultivate that. It is the
engine of practice. It is what enables us to sustain daily spiritual practice for as long
as it takes. As we practice, our divine experience grows, and, with that, devotion grows.
Increased devotion intensifies our commitment to practice, and more dedicated practice
yields more divine experience which in turn increases devotion further. This is how it
progresses -- devotion yielding practice... yielding divine experience... yielding
more devotion... and so on. Devotion sustained at a fever pitch by every means possible
is the spiritual aspirant's best friend. It is not always an easy life being constantly
consumed by spiritual "hunger and thirst," but it puts us on the royal road to
enlightenment. Intense devotion to transforming our lives through advanced yoga practices
assures that what must be done will be done.
Speaking of what must be done, now let's talk about the next step -- developing the habit
of cultivating our eternal silent depths on a daily basis. Let's talk about meditation.
The guru is in you.
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For detailed instructions on employing desire and action
on our spiritual path, see the AYP Bhakti and Karma
Yoga book, and