Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 161 -
Dark Nights and the Rise of Inner Silence (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
161.1 - Dark Stuff
Flushed Away (Audio)
What is the Dark Night of the Soul? (Audio)
Date: Fri Apr 9, 2004 11:28pm
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
Q1: I'm still "on the wagon" and I guess I won't stop meditating regularly
twice a day in this lifetime.
Nevertheless I have cut back my practice to "meditation only." I had
progressed to meditation plus pranayama plus mulabandha plus sambhavi and
things went really fine. I even made good progress in crossed leg sitting,
something I found very difficult and distracting from meditation in the
beginning. When things went fine the last time I was on holiday, first in
the Austrian mountains, then on a tiny island in the German Northern Sea. It
was a beautiful time and I was looking happily forward to returning back
home, eager to start handling my life with more fun and on a higher energy
level than ever before.
Then, when I arrived back home (two weeks ago) everything seemed to crash
within the first 36 hours... I felt really, really bad and this lasted for
several days (its not completely over right now but better). At that time I
even stopped my practice completely for 1,5 days. Nothing dramatic had
happened on the outside - it was just that I tried to resume my life where I
had left it before I left for holiday and that didn't work any longer.
I'm completely sure now that this crash hasn't been caused by yoga, it must
have been the positive development that had taken place while I was "off
duty". Maybe I've simply outgrown my former way of living.
Somewhere in the lessons you mention the advantages of a busy life for the
integration of the purification and expansion achieved during practices. I
can relate very well to that - nevertheless I'm much more a "be-er" than a
"do-er" - my life is certainly out of balance on the side of too much
withdrawal from worldly affairs. All my lifetime it hasn't been too
difficult for me to "reach high" and have sometimes quite intense spiritual
experiences - but concerning "outside" day to day life I very often felt
extremely overwhelmed, feeling that the world was way too rough and rude for
me. A well developed sense of vulnerability...
This is why the concept of yoga you outline in the first few lessons seems
to be so very attractive for me. The promise to reconcile the outer world
with the inner... I'm really longing for that...
There is so much old pain coming up while I'm typing this - it seems to be
something like the ruin of my lifetime (and the basic anatomy of the
separation almost every human being experiences while being incarnated).
This is PAINFUL.
So I'm working my way back up in practices. I really do believe you when you
say this is a reliable way out - I felt so much of it already.
Probably experiencing the "dark night of the soul."
A1: It is inevitable that highs lead to lows. It is in inner silence that we
find the truth about it all. That is what meditation is for, gradually
bringing up that silent bliss that is inherent in us within all the
functioning of our body, mind, emotions, and the world. Then we see
everything is going up and down while we, as silent pure bliss
consciousness, stay put.
As for activity, yes, it
is good to stabilize our silence gained in meditation in daily activity. But
who is to decide what that activity will be for you? Not me. It is for you
to follow your heart and do the things that bring you joy. Some of us are
naturally more introverted. Then "activity" may be something not constantly
involved with people. Others need to be in the middle of the crush of human
endeavor. Only you can know what is your right activity.
Sometimes it is facing our fears and doing things that we shy away from.
Then we feel growth in having faced our fears. But neither should we drown
ourselves (and our spiritual practices) in overindulgence in what is not
natural to us. The important thing is that we find a way to serve life by
creating something, or by helping others directly. It can be in business,
charity, or doing art in a secluded studio somewhere. Whatever satisfies the
inherent need we all have to flow out into the world with our hearts. You
are wise to keep meditating. It will gradually bring you the inner
steadiness to make the best choices for yourself. Don't rush. Just be
purposeful about your life, and always try and honor the deepest longings in
As your practices advance, and with prudent self-pacing, you will find those
old inner obstructions gradually dissolving. Give it time. It is the way in
to permanent ecstatic bliss, and out of misery.
Q2: Thank you for your response, all your responses and your wonderful
lessons... All so very uplifting and enlivening...
I'm slowly moving out of the shit - I know I'll have to rearrange my general
set-up in life and I'll do so. I'm starting to look at this rearrangement as
a creative process, something I'm actively involved in, maybe even something
infused with pleasure and joy... quite a new perspective for me... maybe I'm
moving out of my default mode of feeling more or less overwhelmed most of
the time without even knowing so...
Yesterday I had a very surprising experience while listening to one of my
favorite CDs. I've always been touched deeply by beautiful music. But now
with more and more silence accumulating in my mind something has changed. I
had always wondered why I was unable to reproduce tunes I loved so very much
by singing them myself. I always could feel the music inside but when I
tried to sing it only something more or less similar to the original came
out, if the tune was complicated, something less similar...
Yesterday I suddenly realized that I had always been trying to sing my
emotions stirred up by the music which of course where not the tune itself.
With a mind which is a little bit more silent now, I still can perceive all
the emotions the artist expresses in the music as well as my reactions but
besides all that I can listen on a more "analytical level". I'm hearing
single notes instead of big clusters of emotional reactions, I also
experienced an internal "visualization" of the parallel tunes - and, most
surprising I discovered another tune in the tracks I had listened to so
often before: The silence between the notes emerged like a very important
new instrument I didn't perceive at all before.
All those pieces had become more "airy", somehow "thinner" with lots of
empty silent spaces in them... very surprising and very interesting.
Mmmh... I wonder how the world will look like if this musical experience kind
of generalizes, more detachment more huge empty silent spaces everywhere
around and maybe more creative joy in a universe which is much easier to
move around and handle?
Expecting change (and saying thank you for your continuous support)
A2: A very nice observation of silence coming up in your experience of music.
Yes, all of life will become more and more like that. It will become normal
and not noticed as a contrast, because you will forget how dark it was. Then
there will be continuing contrasts going forward from the silence, to more
silence, and then ecstasy coming up mixed with silence. On it goes like a
It comes from practices. Keep that in mind. We all tend to get a little
infatuated at times with our experiences. As I have said in the lessons,
progress comes from practices, not experiences, which is not to say we can't
revel a bit in the fruit of our yoga.
Change is in the air, for all of us. Here come dee-light. Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
Deep Meditation Related Lessons Topic Path
Purification and Opening Related Lessons Topic Path
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and AYP Plus.