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Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 258 - Divine Ecstasy - Is That All There Is? (Audio)
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 This Discussion?"
I've been following your instructions and I've achieved ignition. I am indeed feeling the waves of ecstasy you promised, like a full body orgasm. My question is: Why is this good? How does this make me more perceptive or insightful, more aware of each moment, more creative in my art, more available to my friends and loved ones and empathic to others?
I've managed an excellent high without drugs... nice trick! And I must admit it is a lot nicer "buzz" than any drug. But I don't feel at all clear or in the moment, I feel like someone sucking on an opium pipe, enthralled by dreamy creamy waves. Sure, it feels great, but masturbation feels at least half this good, and I don't live with my hand on my yoni 24/7!
I've been reading page after page of your promises of crashing waves of ecstasy, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that at the end of the rainbow there is nothing more than crashing waves of ecstasy. My desire centers (which I've been trying to yoke via years of yoga) want nothing but more of this buzz, but my deeper self is patiently waiting for these distracting waves of high-class rarified maya to pass so it can continue to pursue its path with sober clarity.
I've had fleeting feelings of merging with all here and there in my life. It felt great, but much deeper than mere bliss. This, by contrast, is just a high. I don't want to be high, I want to be stone cold present and hyper-aware in the moment. Working on myself and extinguishing ego, anger, etc.
There's no compassion in this! Please tell me that this is not what the great yogis are doing in caves - sucking on cosmic opium pipes and enjoying their buzz!
A: Thank you for writing and sharing. It is a great question, one that all serious yogis and yoginis ask when the ecstasy starts to flow abundantly.
Divine ecstasy is one half of the enlightenment equation. Depending on one's point of view, it may be seen as the greater half or the lesser half. The other half is inner silence, which is cultivated mainly through deep meditation and samyama. Divine ecstasy is cultivated mainly through pranayama, kumbhaka, mudras, bandhas, asanas and tantric sexual methods. In the end, inner silence and ecstasy merge to create enlightenment, which is not an introverted addictive state. Rather, it is an overflowing of profound peace, stability and divine love into the surrounding environment. So, we become a channel like that.
The great 19th century kriya yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya described the process of enlightenment as "a merging of emptiness with euphoria." This is the process of inner silence and ecstasy merging.
So, at this stage, you need to be sure your ecstatic "addiction" is not disrupting your deep meditation and samyama. Also, engaging in the world according to your tendency to help others is good. All of that will aid in the evolution of your ecstatic states to a higher manifestation. If you feel you are off balance in your practices, then ease off the ecstasy-producing ones and favor deep meditation more for a while, until you can bring your practices into balance. This is "self-pacing," which you have no doubt seen discussed in the lessons. Getting carried away with ecstatic states is one of the signals to begin applying self-pacing. Uncomfortable energy excesses are another signal. You seem to be in the former category.
Ecstasy on the neuro-biological level is inner energy coursing through neurological obstructions. In fact, ecstasy is the pleasant version of kundalini awakening, as opposed to the unpleasant version, which is too much energy going through too much obstruction.
It should also be emphasized that divine ecstasy is progressive, leading to higher states, and ultimately to enlightenment as the merging with inner silence occurs. This is the merging described in the metaphors of the religions -- shiva and shakti, father and holy ghost, yin and yang, etc.
So with good yoga practices, it all moves forward, and in time we go far beyond an opium-like addictive state like you describe. Accounts of this journey are readily available in the spiritual literature. For example, see the Gospel of Ramakrishna, and the writings of St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assisi, Rumi, and Martin Buber's "Ecstatic Confessions" which contains numerous written accounts of divine ecstasy, western and eastern, going back over the centuries. They all had the same issue you have brought up here, and all had their ways of dealing with it. A common thread you will find in the lives of the ecstatic mystics is their intense devotion to their chosen ideal (bhakti), which contributed greatly to their ecstatic states and enabled them to weather them through to fruition in enlightenment.
Drug and orgasmic sex-induced states are short-lived and are mostly degenerative. If you are using yogic methods, the resulting ecstasy will be a very different thing -- long-lived and regenerative. And, as mentioned, if ecstatic states are balanced with deep meditation, a sure path to enlightenment will be in the offing.
So, there is much more than divine ecstasy. Just keep going, and you will find the whole thing refining and expanding. You will have the sobriety you seek, and the essence of all creation as well, which is unshakable inner silence, ecstatic bliss and outpouring divine love.
I wish you all success on your chosen spiritual path. Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on building a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, and discussion on the evolution of the stages of enlightenment, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.
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