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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 259 - Fear and Enlightenment
Date: Tue Apr 5, 2005 11:58am
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: I have chronic persistent anxiety, fear and negative thought patterns. I am doing a lot
of meditations, chi gong and yoga. All of them have helped to lessen it, but I am not able
to get rid of it completely. I am trying the meditation you have suggested. Are there any
techniques in your lesson list that are more beneficial than others to remedy this
condition? I assume that the meditation is the key here.
A lot of practices suggest constant remembrance, being in the now, placing some
consciousness on a part of the body, belly breathing etc., 24 hours. Is there any similar
practice in the AYP lessons that we can try to do all the time.
A: Cultivating inner silence over time will reduce our tendency to be ruled by fear. So
you are on the right track with deep meditation. But the solution does not come overnight,
as you are seeing. It takes some persistence over time. Gradually adding additional
practices from the lessons (spinal breathing pranayama is next) will help deepen the flow
of pure bliss consciousness in our nervous system, and progressively reduce the bite of
fear. The idea is not to eliminate fear. Rather, we are to systematically move our center
of awareness beyond it.
What is fear anyway? It is a product of the deep-rooted perception that we will lose
something -- possessions, our health, our life. Can we ever get rid of fear? No, I don't
think so. It is a natural biological function that actually serves a purpose -- it causes
us to act in ways that are in the interest of our preservation. Fear is one of nature's
ways of preserving the species.
If we cannot get rid of fear, what is the best way to relate to it? The way is to
cultivate our ability to live beyond it in pure bliss consciousness. Then we can use fear
in a rational way. When the truck is coming straight at us, we step out of the way. Like
that. Will we sit around wringing our hands because the bills are due and there is not
enough money? Not if we are steady in our inner silence. We will still feel fear, but we
will act more rationally to find solutions to our challenges. So fear will be a voice that
says, "Better do something about that." For example, I have some fear about the
AYP lessons disappearing from the web in a mishap. So what do I do? I see about ways to
back them up. That is a rational use of fear, yes?
Irrational fear is the product of a nervous system out of balance. We can be born with it,
or be cultivating it with our conduct in this life. Often it is both -- one leads to the
other in a cycle of causes and effects -- behaviors carried over from life to life. Yoga
can break the cycle. In fact, fear, like every emotion, can be converted into pure bhakti.
Fear can become a great friend on the spiritual path. We can modify our response so the
more fear we have, the more we will want to act to move forward toward enlightenment. This
is the highest use of fear. See lesson #67 for more on the method of
It has been said that a hero is a coward who has learned to use his fear to inspire great
acts. So, like everyone, you have that huge emotional energy that can be converted into
great things -- even into enlightenment. You are doing that now with your practices, yes?
Your fear is driving you to a very high path.
As for doing practices all day, remembrance, etc., in AYP we go for a balance between
sitting practices and normal daily activity. This provides for a deep merging with pure
bliss consciousness and the rise of ecstatic conductivity in our sittings, and then going
out into our daily activity in a spirit of doing good in the world, no matter what our job
or station in life may be. With inner silence cultivated in the morning, we don't have to
be thinking about it all day to integrate it into our nervous system. We just go and be
active. That is good enough.
Remembrance is something that will come up naturally as our perception gradually changes
over time. In the AYP approach, remembrance is an effect more than a cause. It is an
experience that rises naturally in our life of doing our daily sitting practices, and then
going out and being in the world without pretense one way or the other. We just go into
silence, let it go, and go out and act according to our heart's desires. That's all. The
rest is automatic. The nervous system will be changed dramatically over time by that cycle
of going in and coming out. If we want to do more, the best thing to do is work on
building up our twice-daily sitting practices, applying the principles of self-pacing as
we do. Then our nervous system will be charged with more and more inner silence and
ecstatic bliss, and we will be integrating those qualities in our normal daily activities.
Our activity will become worship of the divine within and all around us. It is not a
belabored practice, this worship. It is a joyful, natural outcome of deeply cultivating
the divine in our sitting practices every day.
Obviously, we make many decisions every day. Over time, our decisions become colored by
inner steadiness, ecstatic bliss and rising divine love. Even our fears become colored by
the divine, and we act accordingly. That is how things change. So, be easy in your
practices, and be easy in daily life. Be tolerant of your negative emotions. Do not judge
yourself too harshly. Just gently turn your emotional energy toward cultivating your yoga
practices. Everything is going to be all right. Just stay the course with twice daily
practices, and the rest will come along naturally.
I wish you all success on your continuing spiritual journey. Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the
AYP Deep Meditation book.
For detailed instructions on building a
balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book.
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