Advanced Yoga Practices
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Mapping the Transformation of
July 11, 2009
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
previous lesson, we discussed the spiritual evolution of action. So, how
does it happen, this so-called evolution of action? Can we map it out so
there can be some idea of what to expect?
Well, everyone is different in how purification and opening occurs in
the nervous system. But there is a general progression we may notice as we
move along. It is first related to our mind, and how we perceive our own
thoughts, feelings and the world around us. As experiences advance, there is an
opening up of these perceptions that will determine our actions in the
world. The process of transformation has to do with the rise of inner
silence and how we see things as our sense of self moves beyond the objects
of our perception to naturally reside in our abiding inner silence, or the witness. The
evolution of action runs in parallel with the maturation of the mind in
relation to inner silence.
Our actions play upon expanding
inner silence in
the mind, and are affected
accordingly. Consider these stages of mind in relation to the
evolution of action as we
engage in daily spiritual practices over time, and how our actions will be
influenced as we progress through each stage:
Pre-Witnessing - Action based on external desires for satisfying the
body-based personal self.
Witnessing - Action perceived as separate from our emerging silent
self. A sense of doing without doing.
Discrimination - A creative morality radiating from stillness which we
can choose to manifest in our actions. A heightened sense of conscience.
Passionate Dispassion - Moving beyond conscious discrimination to the
automatic expression of inner values in our actions.
Outpouring Divine Love - Joyful service without the need to receive in
return. Ongoing realization of truth in ordinary life. Divine romance
and the unfoldment of unity.
As mentioned, everyone will find the experience on their journey to be a
little different. But there are certain elements we all have in common.
Without these, progress will be limited. The constants involved in this
process are daily practices (deep meditation especially), rising inner
silence (the witness), and a gradual shift from intention and action based
in outer events, outcomes and time scales, to intention and action based
internally in stillness (the samyama effect), which naturally leads to
more harmonious outcomes always occurring in the present. Our desires are
elevated accordingly as the opening progresses, being part of the shift from
limited self-awareness to the emerging broader awareness of unity. As this
occurs, stillness becomes dynamic in our awareness, culminating in the
constant outpouring of divine love and the realization of unity in all
action. This is the fruition of human spiritual transformation.
The result is, "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us."
The unity experience is ourselves doing for others who are perceived to
also be ourselves. We find ourselves to be mirrored in the many flavors of
life everywhere we go, and great love and joy is found in helping. It is
life in Oneness.
Then every action becomes an offering, an act of devotion (bhakti).
There is no pomp about it. The ceremony is found in the simple act of living
our life as we did before, and sharing along the way. It is life lived in
peace, with progress at every step. Then the machinery of karma is always
operating for the greater good, without judgment of "good or bad," with
every action and every consequence being a stepping-stone to new openings.
There will be overlap in the stages of mind we experience along our
path. For example, in pre-witnessing stage, we will not be entirely without
a sense of the witness, or without a conscience to aid us in making moral
choices, to greater or lesser degree. Some of our choices will be automatic
we will do the right thing without fanfare, and our love will flow to the
dear ones in our life, bringing us a sense of unity. Everyone has these
experiences, and all of the stages of mind are included: pre-witnessing,
witnessing, discrimination, passionate dispassion, and outpouring divine
Even someone who
has never sat to meditate will have these overlaps. The elements of
enlightened living are present in all of us right now. We only need to
reveal the capabilities we already have.
As we become inspired to tap our greater potential, as we become devoted
to a higher ideal of our choosing, and act day after day on that, then all
of these stages will become increasingly illuminated over time. The order
given will still be there, because each stage relies on the previous stage
for full development.
Before we can discriminate between inner-based and outer-based action we
will need an inner relationship in stillness from which to be choosing from the
witness. Until we have a sense of an abiding inner witness (cultivated
in deep meditation), we cannot choose to reside in it as we engage in
action. We can't create the witness by a mental act. We can only reveal the
witness through meditation. In the language of yoga, the witness is samadhi,
and it is stabilized through the process of meditation. The witness is known
through a condition of our inner neurobiology which is cultivated over time,
not an attitude or idea we can conjure up at will if it has not been
cultivated over time through daily deep meditation.
Likewise, we cannot have the full flowering of passionate dispassion
until we have developed the habit of discrimination making choices based in
stillness. As we progress in developing the habit of discrimination, then
the process of discrimination itself will gradually dissolve into stillness,
becoming dispassion. As we continue, carried forward by our bhakti, we will
find that we can be passionate and dispassionate at the same time, as we
continue to act in ordinary daily life. Dispassion is not a static
condition. Even as we reside in stillness, we can move with great passion.
This is the paradox of rising enlightenment.
There is no place to stop and say, "Now it is done, and there is nothing
more to do."
Spirit is forever in motion, forever creating and
forever serving. We are That Stillness in Action. We cannot become an
incarnation of Love and cease acting for the benefit of the whole of
The surest way
to transcend karma and get off the so-called wheel of birth and death is by
consciously becoming an expression of life's purpose, which is the
realization of the divine nature of life in all actions, great and small.
The undoing of bondage on the material plane is found in doing without
Karma yoga is
fulfilled when we have become stillness in action. Then we can do without
doing, laugh without laughing, and cry without crying. We will be
everything, even while we are nothing.
Then we are free, and in the best position to serve, with all of our
actions naturally aligned with the force of cosmic evolution.
The guru is in you.
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