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Our Role as Teachers
AYP Plus Additions:
388.1 - Balancing Our
Spiritual Sharing with the Life We are Living
388.2 - Challenges, Openings, and whether to Teach?
Financial Responsibilities and Teaching Yoga
The Emergence of Humility in our Teaching and Service
February 27, 2010
New Visitors: 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
We stand at a critical juncture in the history of human spiritual
development. We are moving from a very long time of superstition and
secondhand knowledge, to a time of direct knowledge based on firsthand
experience with practices. More importantly, we are taking responsibility
for our own spiritual unfoldment through a scientific approach to practices,
where causes and effects can be observed and optimized for best effects in
each of us individually, and in all of us collectively. It is a major change
from how things have been done in the past, leading to a huge increase in
the availability and effectiveness of practices for all time to come.
There have been those who have said that human beings are not capable of
managing their own spiritual unfoldment, and that this responsibility must
be delegated to those who know, with no room for choices or
adjustments by the practitioner. The results of this approach have been
inefficient, and history speaks for itself in this regard. It is time for
The journey of purification and opening requires prudent regulation of
practices. Only the practitioner can do that. So it is about responsibility.
The level of responsibility shown by those who have taken up the AYP open
source system of practices has been impressive.
There have been perennial predictions that open knowledge of spiritual
practices would lead to disastrous results. It is not true, at least not
here and now. Self-pacing is a concept and a practice that is easy to
understand and apply. The "learning to drive the fast car" analogy is one we
can all relate to, where self-regulation of our speed is necessary under
different driving conditions for us to maintain good progress with safety on
our journey. It is the same with applying powerful spiritual practices.
The tendency toward desperation and overdoing in practices is driven more by
the lack of effective practices than by the open availability of them. What
is withheld we tend to
become desperate for, and we often overcompensate with
the practices we do have. What is freely available we must develop the skill
to use responsibly, and we will. It is that simple.
So, there is much to be thankful for as we continue to move forward
responsibly with our practices, going step-by-step. The road to human
spiritual transformation lies before us, and many have found that developing
good self-pacing skills is at the center of a successful approach. It means
we are well on the way to self-sufficiency in our spiritual endeavors.
Responsible use of practices with self-pacing is the key to sustaining
forward progress in the enlightenment process. It means we can do it
ourselves. Once we know that, then there is no stopping us, and the
knowledge of human spiritual transformation can easily be spread far and
Everyone is able to teach yoga from their own level of experience.
Anyone who has become grounded in deep meditation, spinal breathing, etc.,
to whatever level, can pass that experience on to others. The AYP writings
are sufficiently detailed so anyone can take their direct experience and
pass it on, using the writings as an aid and a stimulus. So we should all
feel free to do that to the degree we are comfortable, from within our own
inner silence. This open process of transmission is beneficial to both the
teacher and the student. The teacher always learns at least as much as the
There have been reservations expressed over the years on the hazards of
people teaching yoga beyond their level of attainment. Indeed, this is a
hazard with any teacher, even the advanced ones who may be expressing the
concern. To hold everyone back for the sake of this concern is unrealistic.
A title or a certification does not guarantee a complete, integrated
teaching. Most often, such credentials
a sectarian approach, which is much better than no teaching, but still
What we really need is many more people rising independently in inner
silence and divine ecstasy from within, and sharing that in daily life by
all means that suit the situation and culture. As we move forward in this
new era, the teachings will come from within like that, much more than from
external systems. External systems will no longer be the primary source of
knowledge. They will only be for facilitating the flow of
action coming from within everyone. The most effective teachings will be
for stimulating that divine impulse that comes from within, and letting go.
The best teachings will be the ones that put themselves out of a job, which
has hardly been
the situation in the past, where dependencies have been
cultivated, rather than freedom.
If we are sharing a pragmatic integration of knowledge based on the direct
experience happening within ourselves, then that will be title and
certification enough to teach anyone. Which is not to say AYP teaching will
never be certified. It probably will be at some point to fulfill societal
needs, but this will not limit anyone from
teaching in their own right.
If we keep coming back to the fundamental principles and practices inherent
in the human nervous system, how can we go wrong? That is the reason why the
AYP writings have been put out in public view. Not to create a following, a
movement, or an organization. Not to stand as a monolithic body of teachings
either. But to be a resource that can be woven into daily considerations of
spiritual transformation in many ways a touchstone of truth that can help
anyone become a beacon of light to themselves and to many others. The AYP
teachings do not come from any specific lineage. They come from the broad
(and often ancient) multi-cultural knowledge of humankind. And, most
importantly, from verifications of the practices by many in the present
through direct experience in the human nervous system.
As open source teachings like the AYP baseline system come more into the
public awareness, more horizontal transmission of knowledge will be
occurring according to the direct experience of steadily increasing numbers
of practitioners around the world who continue to share. This kind of
spiritual knowledge transmission has also been called
Due to its inherent non-hierarchal nature, this style of knowledge
transmission avoids many of the pitfalls found in hierarchal systems where
the abuse of power over others has been commonplace. The horizontal
peer-to-peer structure is "candles lighting candles until all candles are
lit." This is possible with the rise of real spiritual progress in many
practitioners. It is not only the transmission of ideas. It is also the
transmission of spiritual energy that quickens the process of human
spiritual transformation in everyone. Before now, this has not been
possible. With the rapid rise of consciousness around the world, this new
mode of teaching is taking hold the direct transmission of knowledge and
spiritual energy, which is stillness in action.
In terms of practices, it is a step-by-step process of inspiring bhakti
(spiritual desire), and then providing the tools for the cultivation of
inner silence and ecstatic conductivity in every individual.
Those who have traveled far along the path are to be reminded that everyone
must travel from where they are using the most effective methods. There is a
tendency for those who are advanced in spiritual progress to teach the
destination (their present condition) as being the path. This can lead
students to engage in what we call non-relational self-inquiry into
the non-dual nature of existence. That is, inquiry in the mind and not in
stillness, which is largely fruitless and can be psychologically harmful.
With the rise of inner silence (the witness),
becomes possible. So the first priority is the cultivation of inner silence.
In the AYP approach, this is accomplished through deep meditation and
The same is true in teaching about our relationship with karma, the events
occurring around us, and with the times we will experience pain in our life.
There will be pain, but it can be borne without suffering, but not by only
being told that this is so. It is with the rise of inner silence (the
witness) that we can transcend suffering that comes with the identification
of the mind with thinking, feelings and our perception of the world around
us. As we become free from identification with the objects of perception, no
matter how glorious or painful they may be, we can share our freedom with
others, and we can also share the means for others to be free within
themselves. It is in all of us.
As time goes on, many illuminated practitioners will become more visible,
along with the supporting written teachings. Writings that are true and
flexible in their application will have a long shelf life, and will not wear
out. In time, the application of methods and the experiences of
practitioners around the world will naturally expand to encompass all eight
limbs of yoga.
Those who are engaged in self-directed integrated practices are on the
leading edge. From this, the field of yoga will become increasingly more
centered on fostering individual self-sufficiency in cultivating the overall
process of human spiritual transformation. To the extent enlightenment has
been occurring in the world over the centuries, it has always been based on
Our schools and institutions for higher learning will find an expanding role
in this, because the people will be noticing it occurring around them, and
demanding the necessary education. The teaching of integrated spiritual
practices will be happening in yoga studios, retreat centers, trade schools
and universities across the land. But first, it will be happening in the
homes of practitioners everywhere, as a vast and diverse network expands
outward until everyone has been touched.
Teaching begins at home with our children in ways that can inspire them over
a lifetime, not imposing on them in the present. Teaching of our children
is covered in detail in Lesson
These days, spiritual transformation is rising in millions. It is something
new that has been steadily accelerating over the past century, an emergence
of yoga and spiritual practices on a vast scale. It is a global phenomenon.
In this highly energized situation, just a little bit of the right
information will go a long way. Individual desire/bhakti and daily practice
will take care of the rest.
So, let us all do what our inner silence moves us to do in our practices and
our teaching. And, by all means, have fun while doing it!
The guru is in you.
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Note: For additional
discussion on our role as teachers, and detailed instructions on building a
self-directed daily routine of practices, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book,
and AYP Plus.