Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 364 – Each Practice in Its Own Time
Date: September 29, 2009
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 : When I meditate I feel a certain bliss at
times. On such occasions, should I ask myself, "Who is it that experiences
A: Such inquiries should not be favored during AYP deep meditation or other
sitting practices. Before or after, but not during. This would be diluting
the cultivation of abiding inner silence (witness) and ecstatic
conductivity, the very foundation of effective (relational) self-inquiry
during our daily activity.
The hour or so we spend in structured sitting practices each day sets the
stage for an ongoing clear experience and understanding of our non-dual
nature (radiantly free Self) in everything else we do. An effective
integration of practices means doing each one in its own time, not at the
So when we are engaged in a particular practice, and we find elements of
another practice coming up, we just regard that as any other thought or
feeling that might occur, and gently ease back to the practice we are doing
for the time we are doing it. It is very simple. This does not take anything
away from other practices we may engage in at other times during the day. In
fact, it greatly strengthens them.
The effective integration of practices brings great power to our spiritual
unfoldment. The common belief is that we must follow this sound method "or"
that sound method. Rarely do we hear that we should pursue this sound method
"and" that sound method in an effective integrated approach. Human nature is
highly competitive, and we often hear that one approach to spiritual
practice is better than another one, so we should do this
practice exclusively and not that one. This doesn’t have much to do
with finding what really works. Rather, it is a
limiting factor in all spiritual endeavors.
If there is anything innovative in AYP, it is a clear understanding that
spiritual practices are complementary, with the whole of a progressive
integrative approach being far greater than the sum of its parts. This means
giving each practice its due, without overlapping them in ways that dilute
the effectiveness of the various component parts.
The suggestion is to do asanas when it is time to do asanas, do pranayama
when it is time to do pranayama, do deep meditation when it is time to do
deep meditation, do samyama when it is time to do samyama, do self-inquiry
when it is time to do self-inquiry, and so on…
In doing so, the integration of all the limbs of yoga will be occurring
naturally within us, and the result will be orders
of magnitude beyond anything we could achieve with any singular practice or
It is much like driving a car. We cannot expect significant progress if we
are stepping on the accelerator and the brake at the same time, turning left
at the same time we are turning right, or attempting to drive in all the
gears at once. Much better to attend to each function in its own time, so as
to move the car forward in a manner that fulfills its function. It is the
same with spiritual practices. Our experiences with these things in the
present are of much greater importance than the considerable advice we have
coming to us from the past, helpful as it may be.
So practice wisely, and enjoy!
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on building a
balanced practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight
Limbs of Yoga book.