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Nirodha

New Zealand
86 Posts

Posted - Mar 23 2008 :  11:47:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nirodha's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Christi
quote:
As for chocolate interfering with deep spiritual practices, I haven't noticed this in my own life, as I eat it all the time. And, I have no problem attaining Samadhi as a result.


You may find that as more purification happens in your body, you become increasingly sensitive to substances such as chocolate. A few years ago it hardly affected me at all.

Meditation, and samadhi will have a gentle purification effect on the body, but the process will take many many years with meditation alone. There are much more powerful ways to purify the body. The most powerful I believe, are pranayama and visualization techniques. Spinal breathing pranayama is a combination of both of these.

Christi




Hi Christi,

As for the raw fruitarians you know, this approach is actually quite different from raw veganism. And, I can see how they'd have no problems with it. Raw fruit is much easier to digest and obtain nutrients from than raw vegetable matter. I could present a lot of scientific evidence as to why this is so. However, I'm sure everyone is capable of Goggling it for themselves.

As for the raw vegans that you know, are they underweight and do the women still have menstrual cycles? Also, are they on a strict raw vegetable diet, with no fruit, diary or bee products to supplement it?

As for pranayama, spinal breathing pranayama and visualization being more effective purifiers than Samadhi (meditative absorption), I totally disagree with you. If those things work well for you and anyone else, great. However, I haven't found them to be necessary.

Since I've been abiding in Samadhi, at least twice a day for the last several years, I'm hardly ever sick now. And, if I do happen to get sick, with the flu for example, I can overcome it in about 3 days. My average flu recovery time prior to this was 2 weeks.

I've even been to totally alleviate all symptoms of the flu while in Samadhi - it was as if I wasn't ill to begin with. Granted, once I came out of Samadhi the flu reasserted itself full force. However, as I mentioned above, my recovery times are very rapid now.

In regards to substances: I've noticed that the effects of psycho-stimulants and depressants has been reduced since my frequent abiding in Samadhi. I've seen mention of other yogis reporting this also.

I can drink a fair amount of alcohol now and remain amazingly lucid. This isn't something I do often. However, I do enjoy a good party on occasion. I can even be pretty drunk, sit down to meditate, and still attain Samadhi - during which time all the effects of the alcohol vanish.

I've also had a Kundalini Awakening as a result of my frequent abiding in Samadhi. And, Kundalini in and of itself is one of the most potent purifiers, both mentally and physically, known to humankind.

Regarding hyper-sensitivity to certain foods: Yes, I did experience a bit of that many years ago. However, those days seem to be long gone for me and I just eat whatever I like now. What I have noticed over the last several years though is that now if my body doesn't like something I've eaten, it will quickly develop explosive diarrhea or projectile vomiting (usually within 30 minutes) and expel the offender - causing me very little overall discomfort. Prior to this change in my biology, which I'll assume has been induced by Samadhi, I would have experienced digestive upset and discomfort for hours.

As you can see, I've no need to look elsewhere for a purifier, as the one I abide in currently has proven to be very effective.

Kind regards

Edited by - Nirodha on Mar 23 2008 1:34:40 PM
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Christi

United Kingdom
3821 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2008 :  10:51:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Nirodha
quote:
As for the raw vegans that you know, are they underweight and do the women still have menstrual cycles? Also, are they on a strict raw vegetable diet, with no fruit, diary or bee products to supplement it?


Some are underweight and some are normal or overweight. Actually I asked one lady who had been on a 100% raw diet for a year, and was still pretty curvey, how she did it. She said her secret was bananas and avacados!
I don't usually ask women about their menstrual cycles without them bringing up the topic first. I am an English gentleman. They mostly eat anything raw, which would include most nuts, honey, some milk and cheese and all fruit.

quote:
As for pranayama, spinal breathing pranayama and visualization being more effective purifiers than Samadhi (meditative absorption), I totally disagree with you. If those things work well for you and anyone else, great. However, I haven't found them to be necessary.


I am not sure what you totally disagree about. Is it the statement I made about these practices being more effective in terms of purification than samadhi is? Have you ever tried them?
Personally, when I added pranayama and visualization practices to my set of spiritual practices, I noticed that the rate of purification increased about 20 fold, compared to before when I was only using meditation.

When my most powerful purification practice was entering samadhi, I never had to limit the amount of time I spent doing spiritual practices. I could sit for hours every day (up to 12 hours a day at one point), without putting myself in danger. After adding pranayama and visualizations, I found that the purification process became so intense that some days I could do no more than one hour of practices a day (and some days none at all).


quote:
As you can see, I've no need to look elsewhere for a purifier, as the one I abide in currently has proven to be very effective.


Yes, samadhi is effective (if a little slow), and there is no need for you to change your practices at all. If it works for you, then stick with it. But I do think it's a great idea if everyone has access to the knowledge about the effectiveness of spiritual practices. That means if something is more effective than something else, people should be alowed to know that.

Actually I think (from my own experience) the most effective purification practice is a combination of samadhi (or failing that, meditation), mantra yoga, pranayama, visualizations and higher tantric practices.

Christi

Edited by - Christi on Mar 26 2008 6:04:13 PM
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Nirodha

New Zealand
86 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2008 :  08:30:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nirodha's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,

While I have some reservations about continuing this discussion, simply because I don't wish to get into a "mine is bigger, better and faster than yours" situation - which to me is the antitheses of spirituality - I'll briefly do so in the spirit of promoting some understanding between you and I.

quote:
quote:
As for pranayama, spinal breathing pranayama and visualization being more effective purifiers than Samadhi (meditative absorption), I totally disagree with you. If those things work well for you and anyone else, great. However, I haven't found them to be necessary.

I am not sure what you totally disagree about. Is it the statement I made about these practices being more effective in terms of purification than samadhi is? Have you ever tried them?

Actually I think (from my own experience) the most effective purification practice is a combination of samadhi (or failing that, meditation), mantra yoga, pranayama, visualizations and higher tantric practices.


In regards to the above question: Yes, I've visited all of the various practices above at some point during my contemplative career. However, I found them all to be rather ineffective, compared to frequently abiding in Samadhi, which is why I abandoned them.

I've concluded, from my considerable studies, practice and experiences, that all spiritual strategies are designed, in one way or another, to promote meditative absorption (i.e. Samadhi). I firmly believe the reason for this is because during meditative absorption is when/where the true purification, transformation and Awakening of the individual actually occurs. And, my experience, and that of numerous others that I know, verifies this.

That being the case, why would I want to muck about, with the overcomplexity, mystification and intellectualism of "this and that" and "so forth and so on," when I can get right to the point? I realize that some people enjoy those pastimes, to distraction I might add, however, I'm not one of them.

quote:
Yes, samadhi is effective (if a little slow), and there is no need for you to change your practices at all.


I don't find Samadhi to be "a little slow." Quite to the contrary actually, as I experienced rather profound results within 6 to 9 months of making it the primary focus of my practice. Much more profound than the results I got from my earlier years of various practices.

quote:
But I do think it's a great idea if everyone has access to the knowledge about the effectiveness of spiritual practices. That means if something is more effective than something else, people should be allowed to know that.


Well, of course there needs to be open access for all, as the days of authoritarian "closed systems" desperately need to come to an end. And, I was never arguing otherwise, nor was I expounding a "one size fits all" strategy, when I was expressing my point of view. I was merely expressing it, nothing more and nothing less.

Kind regards

Edited by - Nirodha on Mar 27 2008 10:01:14 AM
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VIL

USA
586 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2008 :  11:37:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I guess I'm like Nirodha in the sense that I can eat whatever I want, since I never had to practice and experience came about naturally, but is it really about the food? I don't know. I mean, it's pretty admirable the self-discipline that Christi has and he has a really nice disposition and is naturally generous, like the love that Katrine exudes.

It's weird, since it's like some people have this natural innate bhakti that is just beautiful and others have this natural innate knowing without as much bhakti or something. I was reading up on Jnana and I was wondering if there is something to that or why one has more than the other?

I've heard it said that eating the right foods has a very profound effect on the mind/body. And I wonder if it would be a good thing for me to practice also.

Anyway, I learn from these posts and I wanted to thank you both for this discussion, since I really didn't know about all of the ins and outs of the raw diet as Nirodha mentioned also. I have read that it is a really one of the healthiest things to do is to eat raw foods. Maybe supplement with these raw foods as suggested?

Namaste:



VIL

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Christi

United Kingdom
3821 Posts

Posted - Mar 29 2008 :  10:37:46 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Nirodha,

quote:
While I have some reservations about continuing this discussion, simply because I don't wish to get into a "mine is bigger, better and faster than yours" situation - which to me is the antitheses of spirituality - I'll briefly do so in the spirit of promoting some understanding between you and I.

I donít think we are engaged in a discussion about whose practices are the best. I believe that we are both long-term practitioners of Theravadan Buddhism, and we have both experimented with other practices.

There seem to be two matters that we are discussing here. One is the question of whether or not certain practices (other than meditation) bring about a more rapid purification of the body than meditation does. The other question is whether, even if they do, they should be dropped once Samadhi is reached, as Samadhi is the ultimate goal of all practices.
quote:

In regards to the above question: Yes, I've visited all of the various practices above at some point during my contemplative career. However, I found them all to be rather ineffective, compared to frequently abiding in Samadhi, which is why I abandoned them.


My own experience is that the other practices I mentioned do bring about faster (much faster) purification. If you didnít find this, I think the most likely cause is that you didnít persist for long enough, or you didnít do the practices regularly enough. As I mentioned above, I have no interest in persuading you to do anything other than meditation. Different practices suit different people, and some just are not appropriate for some people.

On the question of dropping all practices other than meditation, once Samadhi has been reached, I think that would be a mistake. Purification of the body continues long after someone is able to enter Samadhi. I have been entering Samadhi in meditation for around twelve years now (I donít remember exactly), but there is still a lot of purification to do. I have personally found practices other than abiding in samadhi have aided that process. It would be interesting to hear if other members of the forum who have reached samadhi entry, have found this to be the case or not.

quote:
I don't find Samadhi to be "a little slow." Quite to the contrary actually, as I experienced rather profound results within 6 to 9 months of making it the primary focus of my practice. Much more profound than the results I got from my earlier years of various practices.


I guess fast and slow are relative concepts, so it's a bit difficult to discuss. In the end (with the current lack of scientific evidence) everyone will just have to experiment for themselves, and come to their own conclusions. I cannot prove to you, or anyone else, that purification practices can greatly benefit a meditator who resides in Samadhi on a daily basis. I believe that there is a point when Samadhi alone naturally becomes the only necessary practice, a point where the purification job has been done so to speak, but I think that is quite a long way down the line. Further down the line than you or I are at.

I also believe that one day scientists will study all of this, and we will have some real data to work with when advising people on which practices to drop, when. But that is in the future.

Take care

Christi



Edited by - Christi on Mar 29 2008 11:11:13 AM
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 29 2008 :  11:36:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Nirodha and Christi:

Interesting discussion. However, it is not clear to me if you are talking about meditation OR other methods (like pranayama), or meditation AND other methods.

While this old yogi can't put it in Buddhist terms, there is an opinion here.

If the question is, which is more progressive, meditation OR pranayama? (for example), then I'd have to agree with Nirodha that meditation is the more sure path to samadhi.

If the question is whether meditation AND pranayama is more powerful than meditation alone, then I'd have to agree with Christi, assuming he means that pranayama (and other methods) are practiced in addition to meditation, and not instead of it.

Of course, an integration is what we are doing in AYP, using a full range of methods in a self-paced way, with deep meditation at the center. An integrated approach like this has been demonstrated time and again to be more progressive than using any any single practice by itself, including meditation.

This is why Patanjali documented eight limbs of yoga, instead of only one, and I believe an equivalent multi-tool kit can be found in Buddhism too.

Of course, if I had to pick just one practice, I'd be back with Nirodha with meditation. Happily, we can do much more to accelerate our progress, and do not have to rest on our laurels for long before finding openings to new levels of "stillness in action" with the many tools we have available nowadays.

The guru is in you.

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Christi

United Kingdom
3821 Posts

Posted - Apr 01 2008 :  6:01:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Yogani
quote:
Hi Nirodha and Christi:

Interesting discussion. However, it is not clear to me if you are talking about meditation OR other methods (like pranayama), or meditation AND other methods.

While this old yogi can't put it in Buddhist terms, there is an opinion here.

If the question is, which is more progressive, meditation OR pranayama? (for example), then I'd have to agree with Nirodha that meditation is the more sure path to samadhi.

If the question is whether meditation AND pranayama is more powerful than meditation alone, then I'd have to agree with Christi, assuming he means that pranayama (and other methods) are practiced in addition to meditation, and not instead of it.

Of course, an integration is what we are doing in AYP, using a full range of methods in a self-paced way, with deep meditation at the center. An integrated approach like this has been demonstrated time and again to be more progressive than using any any single practice by itself, including meditation.




Thanks for that. Yes I thought we were discussing the question of whether or not meditation and other practices is a better route than meditation alone. And the question of whether this is still the case once samadhi has been reached.

I remember you once said that at some point Tantric practices are dropped. Is this because the job of purifying the subtle nervous system has been done? And does this correlate to any point of Samadhi having been reached?

Christi
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Apr 01 2008 :  11:00:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Christi

I remember you once said that at some point Tantric practices are dropped. Is this because the job of purifying the subtle nervous system has been done? And does this correlate to any point of Samadhi having been reached?


Hi Christi:

Not dropped, only transformed over time into something much more refined. Erotic becomes ecstatic, and outer lovemaking becomes inner lovemaking. Then a glance or a touch from our Beloved sends the infinite cosmos into ecstatic waves of bliss. It is ecstatic conductivity becoming ecstatic radiance, and then constant outpouring divine love -- stillness in action.

This is what the whole universe is about. Not so far fetched, considering the infinite power of Love. An effective integration of practices opens the door. All practices become refined along the way. Nothing is dropped. Everything is transformed until it is all samadhi -- living moving samadhi. There is no end of the journey. The journey is the destination, just as unending becoming is the destination of the universe.

Except, of course, for those who want to check out. That is an illusion. There is no checking out. Only more and more becoming what we are. One part cannot be separated from the other parts, even if we call that part absolute. What is has no name, and it is everywhere. We are That.

The guru is in you.

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Christi

United Kingdom
3821 Posts

Posted - Apr 02 2008 :  08:10:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Yogani,
Thanks for the reply.
quote:
Not dropped, only transformed over time into something much more refined. Erotic becomes ecstatic, and outer lovemaking becomes inner lovemaking. Then a glance or a touch from our Beloved sends the infinite cosmos into ecstatic waves of bliss. It is ecstatic conductivity becoming ecstatic radiance, and then constant outpouring divine love -- stillness in action.


I have noticed this happening to my own Tantric practices. Not quite the "infinate cosmos" yet, by my little part of it at least.

I assume then that other purification practices are transformed eventually in the same way. Pranayama would become just a slight shifting of the attention to the breath and the spine, and the waves of ecstasy would pour upwards.

Visualizations would just become a slight rememberance of light and divine love, and the waves of bliss and love will flow everywhere. Is this right?

I was going to ask what happens to deep meditation, but I think I can guess. You say the mantra once right? And then you're here, everywhere. Yes?

Maybe it's time I added samyama to my practice, just to see where that goes.

Christi

Edited by - Christi on Apr 02 2008 08:28:49 AM
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Apr 02 2008 :  11:03:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi:

Yep to all you said.

The guru is in you.

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Nirodha

New Zealand
86 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2008 :  11:06:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nirodha's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,

quote:
I believe that we are both long-term practitioners of Theravadan Buddhism, and we have both experimented with other practices.


No, I don't practice Theravada. And, in general, I stay as far away from 'traditional' Buddhists as possible . There are many reasons for this. However, most of them have to do with the politics of religion - a subject I will definitely not go into here.

quote:
If you didnít find this, I think the most likely cause is that you didnít persist for long enough, or you didnít do the practices regularly enough.


Hmm, you're being a bit presumptuous here; I've always been very persistent, consistent and diligent in everything I take an interest in.

quote:
Further down the line than you or I are at.




Well, Christi, you know where you are. However, you have no idea where I am, as I haven't presented the full depth and breadth of my wisdom and experience for your review. Nor am I going to under these circumstances.

quote:
This is why Patanjali documented eight limbs of yoga, instead of only one, and I believe an equivalent multi-tool kit can be found in Buddhism too.


Yes, yogani, in Buddhism we have the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya-Atthangika-Magga), which is what the Buddha called his defined practice strategy.

While I'm a bit hesitant to say this - due to flak I got for it from some dogmatists quite some time back - I'd like to share an insight I gained during meditation one night: When a contemplative is residing in Samadhi, that contemplative is simultaneously exercising, refining his/her acquisition of and fulfilling the Noble Eightfold Path. (If necessary, I can quote some Suttas that would support this.)

I do not know if this insight would hold true for other systems and practice strategies. However, I strongly suspect that it just might.

Kind regards

Edited by - Nirodha on Apr 05 2008 11:21:51 AM
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2008 :  11:40:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Nirodha

I'd like to share an insight I gained during meditation one night: When a contemplative is residing in Samadhi, that contemplative is simultaneously exercising, refining his/her acquisition of and fulfilling the Noble Eightfold Path.


Hi Nirodha:

Yes, I agree (from a yogic point of view).

But it is also true that "magic bullet" thinking will more often be wrong than right, which is why the greatest sages documented multi-fold paths rather than singular ones.

Our wisdom is limited in direct proportion to the degree we believe it to be complete. Speaking only for myself on that, of course.

The less we know, the more we know. Another of those divine paradoxes.

The guru is in you.

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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2008 :  12:11:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by yogani
Our wisdom is limited in direct proportion to the degree we believe it to be complete.



Great quote, Yogani.

Corollary: admitting you don't know something, to yourself or others, will, if you witness quite carefully, result in the tiniest, tiniest burst of ecstasy. So it's clearly an opening.

To decode God's plan, it helps to study where he put the positive reinforcement rewards (just so long as you don't become a reward junkie!).

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Apr 05 2008 12:12:12 PM
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Nirodha

New Zealand
86 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2008 :  3:12:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit Nirodha's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by yogani

quote:
Originally posted by Nirodha

I'd like to share an insight I gained during meditation one night: When a contemplative is residing in Samadhi, that contemplative is simultaneously exercising, refining his/her acquisition of and fulfilling the Noble Eightfold Path.


Hi Nirodha:

Yes, I agree (from a yogic point of view).

But it is also true that "magic bullet" thinking will more often be wrong than right, which is why the greatest sages documented multi-fold paths rather than singular ones.

Our wisdom is limited in direct proportion to the degree we believe it to be complete. Speaking only for myself on that, of course.

The less we know, the more we know. Another of those divine paradoxes.

The guru is in you.




Hi yogani,

I understand your point and agree with it; as I've seen 'magic bullet' thinking crop all too many times as well. However, perhaps it would be useful if I went into more depth regarding the insight I had. And, I think you'll see that I'm not presenting a magic bullet.

What I've found is that by the time one comes to experience this particular insight regarding Samadhi - I know of others that have experienced it also - they're usually quite well versed and well established in the other facets of their chosen strategies - i.e. they're quite advanced. (They'd have to be really, because if they aren't they can forget about Samadhi; as it just wont present itself to them due to their own defilements and hindrances.) And, they find that residing in Samadhi more frequently serves to firm up any other areas that may have been a little weak.

Therefore, I was not trying to diminish all the preliminary work that one puts in prior, nor I was dismissing the other folds as unnecessary: It's important stuff that many us struggle with for decades, and perhaps lifetimes.

All the practices that I did over the years were necessary, even if it was only so that I could 'see' that they had become unnecessary. And, that it was time for me to let them go.

Kind regards

Edited by - Nirodha on Apr 05 2008 3:54:16 PM
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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2008 :  6:56:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I just came into this interesting discussion right now.

Actually I think (from my own experience) the most effective purification practice is a combination of samadhi (or failing that, meditation), mantra yoga, pranayama, visualizations and higher tantric practices.

Christi, keep bio-individuality in mind. When you find that the most effective purification practice for you is this combination, you have to be careful about generalizing it, as if it is some general law.

The historical yoga tradition is pretty weak on understanding that the matter of relative effectiveness of practices is often simply a bio-individual matter. If you and Nirodha experience something differently, that does not mean that you should conceive this as being because you and Nirodha are on different stages of 'the path', with you somewhat ahead of him(/her?), and that he'll find things as you do when he gets to where you are at. It is more likely to be simply this: when applied to his biology now, Nirodha doesn't find these adjunct practices to matter much. When applied to yours, they matter a lot. And that's about all we can tell from that information. And it's certainly all we should presume.

You aren't alone in making that presumption. It seems very common, almost universal. That and the mind-set of thinking of yogic advancement as putting people on a kind of ladder, a concept which I'm also pushing for dropping, (see here ) as we move towards a more nuanced and correct image of it as evolving the individual more to where that individual can be, not to evolving them to being higher than other people. It should probably be called 'enlightening', not 'enlightenment', to emphasize its on-goingness, and non-finality.

Interestingly, modern medicine, 'scientific' as it is, is also extremely weak in the area of bio-individuality. But maybe it had to be so, because the tools to discern bio-individual differences just haven't been there. But that is beginning to change. Advances in genetics are making it more possible for bio-individuality to be taken into account. Drugs have been developed that are recommended for people only with certain genetics, and we will have much more of that as time goes on. Eventually they will probably be able to make rough recommendation for diet according to genetic bio-individuality. Most of those recommendations will always be coarse because what any individual needs also changes over time.

We can't blame the ancient yogis for not delivering us a more nuanced mind-set in these respects. But we have to start getting it right from now on. Let's not wait for the next generation.

Edited by - david_obsidian on Apr 05 2008 8:43:22 PM
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emc

2072 Posts

Posted - Apr 06 2008 :  03:18:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
What a nice post, David! I read it to my breakfast and it made me smile! Totally agree here. I use the metaphore with everyone knitting a sweater... we have no clue what patterns, yarn, stiches or size any other person are using to complete the sweater.

"It should probably be called 'enlightening'.."

Weeeeeeeeeee! Like a THUNDER STORM!!! YES!

Edited by - emc on Apr 06 2008 03:19:50 AM
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Christi

United Kingdom
3821 Posts

Posted - Apr 06 2008 :  06:38:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi David,

quote:
If you and Nirodha experience something differently, that does not mean that you should conceive this as being because you and Nirodha are on different stages of 'the path', with you somewhat ahead of him(/her?), and that he'll find things as you do when he gets to where you are at.


I didn't suggest anything of the sort David. If you re-read, I think you'll find that all I said was that I believed the point at which Samadhi would be useful as a stand alone practice for both Nirodha and I, was somewhere further down the line. That's quite a different thing. I think you're in danger of projecting your own false assumptions again.

quote:
Actually I think (from my own experience) the most effective purification practice is a combination of samadhi (or failing that, meditation), mantra yoga, pranayama, visualizations and higher tantric practices.

Christi, keep bio-individuality in mind. When you find that the most effective purification practice for you is this combination, you have to be careful about generalizing it, as if it is some general law.



Under the surface, we are all wired pretty much the same. Bio-individuality is something that exists less and less as we move forward, and spiritual practices are a lot more universally applicable than is sometimes assumed. This means that we can form generalizations from our own experience about how things will be for others with a high degree of assurity.

I agree that with progress being made into DNA, modern medicine is becoming more individualistic. But we are not working primarily on the physical level. We are working primarily on levels beyond the physical, where such things as individual specific DNA makeup simply doesn't exist.

Christi
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yogibear

409 Posts

Posted - Apr 06 2008 :  07:06:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi David,

I think there is a ladder. And I think there is individuality. To me, both need to be taken into consideration.

Some traditions take the individuality of the aspirant very seriously when prescribing practices for them. Using different mantras for different people is one example.

That is not used in the AYP mantra approach. Mantras are used in a step wise fashion, adding enhancements as the practitioner advances. However, there is great flexibilty in of the application of the standard operating procedures, i.e., spinal breathing, deep meditation, etc.

But the danger is always there to become rigid and dogmatic about a particular system and get stuck in it.

Bruce Lee shook up the martial arts world in this way, and developed a systemless system of martial art, taking into consideration both the individual's particular level of development in fighting skill and also which particular martial art techniques were most effective for their own inherent body type, i.e., some techniques work better for a short fat person and others work better for a tall skinny one. So there could be a shift in what is emphasized from individual to individual to promote their development.

I think Yogani based his selection of importances on universality of application and creating steady balanced progress when developing AYP. So it is something that could be applied by everyone while addressing the major pitfalls that can derail progress.

In other words, the roots of the system are based in the universal inherent ability of the human nervous system in every individual to purify and expand. Every body has a spinal cord and brain. The techniques and their application are based in another universal tenet, which applies to all individuals, creating balanced progress, based on self pacing.

The selection of techniques is based on their universality. Their application on getting the biggest bang from your buck, i.e., leverage, getting the most from the least. Efficiency, simplicity and effectiveness. And I should add, safety.

Correct me if I am wrong.

Your opponent in the case of AYP, is advancing too quickly up the ladder, and the techniques are adapted to the individual in order to create the most harmonious and steady progress, and prevent a possibly herky-jerky progression up the ladder from kicking your butt and knocking you out for a while.

"When my opponent expands, I contract, and when he contracts I expand, and when I hit, I do not hit, 'it' hits."

Bruce Lee.

I.e., self pacing, intelligence, adaptability to what is actually happening right now. Not applying a technique, in a mechanical thoughtless way, that is totally out of touch with the reality of what is occurring right now, but adapting the technique to the living reality. In other words, if there is too much energy, lighten up on the spinal breathing, etc.

So again, I think both factors need to be honored.

"Man, the creative individual is far more important than any system."

"Efficiency is anything that scores."

"Using no way as way. Having no limitation as limitation."

Bruce Lee.

I.e., being eclectic.

There is a ladder and there is individuality. Both are important.

I think in different places and at different times "a more nuanced mind set" was applied to Yoga, but maybe now a days it has become more rigid and inflexible due to its need to be presevered and the culture in which it has been preserved.

Until now.

Some more thoughts on the subject.

Best, yb.

Edited by - yogibear on Apr 06 2008 07:21:35 AM
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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Apr 06 2008 :  9:46:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yogibear, I agree with everything you said I think. The individual has perhaps a yogic ladder to climb. But they get up on their own ladder, not on the ladder. They don't become higher than other people by virtue of yogic attainment.

That training by Bruce Lee does seem to be based on bio-individuality. It may be true that in some places and times, bio-individuality was taken into account much more in Yoga, I don't know, though I have my doubts. In everything I've ever seen, a definite set of practices were released in a definite order along with a scale of assumed 'progression'.

On the subject of mantras, sometimes the practice of adapting mantras to people's bio-individuality was a pretense which was entered into for promotional reasons. To a certain extent, such a prestense may have even helped the recipients for psychological reasons: if you believe that a mantra is specifically tailored for you, that may give it more power in your experience. But that's something of an aside.

AYP takes care of bio-individuality by allowing the individual to use their intelligence and experience in using and prioritizing the tools.

Christi said:
If you re-read, I think you'll find that all I said was that I believed the point at which Samadhi would be useful as a stand alone practice for both Nirodha and I, was somewhere further down the line.


Christi, I regret giving you offense and you have some reason to complain because of the way I wrote my response. I don't intend to say you say you're better than someone else, but you've certainly placed him, inadvertently, somewhere on a ladder/scale of diligence and persistence somehow; suggesting if he had more of it, he'd probably be seeing things your way on a certain issue. You've also placed him on a ladder/scale of development behind someone or something else, and even if you place yourself likewise, it's part of the same problem I'm getting at: he's right that you don't know where he's at, or (I'd say myself) what ladder/scale he's even on. If such a scale is real, what if he's way ahead of people you presume he's behind? If such a scale is not real (and I say it's largely not real -- or more strictly only real in a much more limited sense than people know), why place anyone on the scale?

There's probably a much simpler way of saying what I'm saying. (Anybody?) I have a knack for making things more complex than they need to be. But this is the way it's coming to me right now: when we make progress in yoga, we have to be as careful as hell not to assume that it has evolved us further than other people on some general scale of being. If we do, we're likely to be heading into 'inflated' states, which I would say are the plague of Yogis. Every occupation has its hazards. Coal-miners get miner's lung. Yogis get inflated.

Humility is substantially the answer to this problem, but the 'ego' almost always finds a place to hide. Human beings being what they are, human institutions and traditions, purporting to free people of delusion, actually build places for human delusion to rest at ease, undetected: an example I am fond of is when monks who had taken vows of poverty got into the business of greed by acquiring riches for their abbeys. (These were among the excesses of the pre-reformation Catholic church.) Many of those monks had no idea that they were greedy businessmen -- after all, they owned nothing and were only acquiring stuff for their holy abbey, right? The institution around them had provided a cognitive hiding-place for their error. They were in fact being trapped by the errors of many monks who had gone before them, and built this hiding-place.

How can an individual monk in such a situation have the virtue of non-greed when his culture has hidden greed so that he cannot find it?

There is a parallel with the yoga tradition, particularly the siddha tradition of yoga. Here, the question is, how can an individual yogi have the virtue of humility (non-inflation) when his culture has hidden inflation so that he cannot find it? His culture contains a cognitive trap in which delusion can hide: if one thinks enlightenment means becoming superman, and one starts experiencing the process, how can one not think one is becoming superman? And how can one interpret oneself as becoming superman, and not be inflated?

So there are reasons why I try to promote a better understanding of enlightenment, one in which the limits of the 'enlightened' person are well understood. This can be like taking the monks abbey away for a moment, so that if he's up to acquiring riches, it is quite clear to him that he's doing it for himself -- the delusion, and the ambition, can no longer be hidden. It can be a painful thing to do, but in the long run, that's a gift to the monk.

Edited by - david_obsidian on Apr 07 2008 1:17:45 PM
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Apr 07 2008 :  10:46:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi All:

If we are clear about our path and what works for us, that is great. However, when sharing, it is incumbent on us to offer what can work for others, rather than only for ourselves at our present stage. This is especially true for advanced practitioners who feel they have "IT" figured out, who may have more credibility and hence more responsibility.

It is particularly an issue in teaching non-dual self-inquiry (the Krishnamurti conundrum), but also for anyone who feels like they have reached a level of understanding that others should "get" straightaway without having to travel their own path. It doesn't work like that.

The AYP Self-Inquiry book goes into the "wise teacher few can benefit from" scenario in some detail, because this is a common problem in the field of self-inquiry. But it can happen with anyone who has a revelation about "what works."

This is why we have multi-fold paths and, nowadays, open source knowledge, so everyone will have an opportunity to find their own way, rather than spending too much time listening to some fool on a hill.

The guru is in you.

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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Apr 07 2008 :  12:28:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice response Yogani, and you gave me some things to listen to.

P.S. I've edited my above response and added some more stuff.


P.P.S.

Yogani said:
rather than spending too much time listening to some fool on a hill.


Which brings up two risks which they should teach you to avoid in yoga school: (i) that of listening too much to fools on a hill, or (ii) that of becoming such a fool on a hill ourselves. I've got (i) down, and as for (ii), I'll settle for not being on a hill.
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emc

2072 Posts

Posted - Apr 07 2008 :  2:38:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Excuse my bad English, but can someone rephrase Yogani's post so that the direction of it gets more clear? Can't figure out the turns in that post... And I immediately feel like a fool on a hill. I don't understand the meaning of "incumbent" not even after looking it up in a dictionary. Do I get it right that we should share and offer what we think may benefit others? But not get into the trap of thinking we know what's right for others? Is Yogani in fact implying that anyone who tries to teach another what might work is a fool on a hill? Are advanced practitioners more prone to become a fool on a hill because they just THINK they have gotten to know IT more than others, but still have a duty to share and thus are more at risk to become fools? Should we never listen to anyone trying to direct us, because they are perhaps fools on a hill??? Is David or Christi or both a fool on a hill in this discussion?

*knitting my sweater with a cat in the lap, on a hill*

Edited by - emc on Apr 07 2008 2:39:49 PM
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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Apr 07 2008 :  3:24:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
EMC,

here'e my interpretation:

Do I get it right that we should share and offer what we think may benefit others? Yes. And that should be what benefits others, not what benefits us from where we are.
But not get into the trap of thinking we know what's right for others? No, rather not getting into the trap of thinking that what is right for us is right for them. Are advanced practitioners more prone to become a fool on a hill because they just THINK they have gotten to know IT more than others, I would say that's sorta true (though Yogani didn't say it) but still have a duty to share and thus are more at risk to become fools? No I don't think he said that.


To go through this one in more detail, speaking just for myself now:
Are advanced practitioners more prone to become a fool on a hill because they just THINK they have gotten to know IT more than others,
I'd personally say that the risk of an advanced practitioner becoming a fool on a hill is greatly magnified if that practitioner becomes inflated. And it isn't just people we don't like who become inflated -- nice, kind, sweet, holy yogis whom we love become inflated too.

Inflation is over-self-estimation, and over-self-estimation almost inevitably leads to straying from one's domain of competence. (If you are the World Teacher, to whom do you listen? If you don't listen, how can you learn? If you don't learn, how can you teach competently? ). Inflated yogis become fools on hills, in varying degrees.

Inflation is getting one's self-image wrong, it is seeing oneself as larger than one is. It can even be present with an aura of humility which is genuine in many respects. And as I'm saying, if one has an inflated image of 'enlightenment' and one is getting enlightened, it's hard not to get inflated. So the way one interprets one's developing enlightenment is critical -- if one sees enlightenment as making one better than others in some general scale of being, if one thinks one is becoming some sort of general-purpose superman, even a general-purpose spiritual superman, one is in danger of catching the yogic inflation disease and ending up a fool on the hill.
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david_obsidian

USA
2602 Posts

Posted - Apr 07 2008 :  3:30:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Is David or Christi or both a fool on a hill in this discussion?

Ha, forgot this one. I would say both. All human beings are fools to a certain extent. Only the mythical 'Superman' is a fool to no degree whatsoever. We have to strive to be less of fools. Ironically, if we cherish hopes of being Superman and totally fool-free, we are almost assured of becoming great fools. But that's closely related to what Yogani said recently, 'Our wisdom is limited in direct proportion to the degree we believe it to be complete'.

Edited by - david_obsidian on Apr 07 2008 6:07:50 PM
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Nirodha

New Zealand
86 Posts

Posted - Apr 07 2008 :  7:43:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit Nirodha's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Are advanced practitioners more prone to become a fool on a hill because they just THINK they have gotten to know IT more than others


I'm rather curious as to how one would define "some fool on a hill." The reason I ask is because, if one examines history, one will see that mystics were often perceived as "fools on a hill."

Under the best of circumstances these unfortunate mystics were merely ridiculed or shunned. And, under the worst, they were relentlessly persecuted, and often executed as well.

While some may feel that because we live in the 21st century now we're beyond treating mystics in the horrible manner in which they've been treated in earlier times. However, given some of my experiences, and that of others that I know, I don't think these dangers have truly passed.

Regarding the rest of the quote above: There's a big difference between experientially derived confidence and intellectually driven conceit. To an outsider they often look the same though.

Kind regards

Edited by - Nirodha on Apr 07 2008 8:42:08 PM
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