Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons

Previous  |  Next

Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 372 - Witnessing versus Focused Attention to Dissolve Obstructions  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: November 19, 2009

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?"

Q: Often spiritual teachers will suggest that bringing awareness to places of energy imbalance or obstruction can result in healing and decrease pain. But then some people from AYP say not to put attention on the areas of imbalance. Can you comment on these seemingly contrary instructions?

A: There is a difference between focusing attention on energy imbalances and obstructions, versus allowing awareness to naturally be with (witness) an emotional or physical sensation. The first will tend to amplify the sensation by bringing energy into it, while the second will tend to dissolve the sensation by dissipating the energy of the sensation in unconditioned awareness. It is the difference between strengthening an object in awareness versus dissolving the object in awareness.

This is analogous to clinging to the mantra on the surface in deep meditation versus allowing it to fade, or clinging to a sutra on the surface in samyama versus releasing it in stillness.

It is important to make the distinction between focusing (clinging) versus witnessing (allowing) in these matters. The greatest doing is in non-doing simply noticing without doing.

Witnessing may be somewhat problematic before we have some inner silence present, because before then all attention tends to cling (identify with the objects of perception). But as inner silence comes to abide, the process of witnessing gradually takes over and imbalances and obstructions dissolve much more easily simply by allowing our awareness to be with them. Along the way to experiencing greater abiding inner silence, we can intellectually understand the difference between focusing and witnessing (allowing) in dealing with imbalances, and continue meditating twice-daily.

We have a procedure for dissolving strong sensations that may occur during deep meditation, if such sensations prevent us from easily picking up the mantra. See Lesson 15. This is an application of easily allowing the attention to be drawn to an area of discomfort in the body, without focusing. It may begin with a strong emotion that is overwhelming us during meditation. If it happens, we can let our attention easily be with that. This will lead us to a physical sensation in the body, which we can also allow to be in our relaxed attention. In doing so, we will find both the emotional feeling and physical sensation to be releasing. Once it has released enough for us to easily return to the mantra, then we do that. This procedure is a direct application of inner silence (witness) we have been cultivating in deep meditation.

As we find more abiding inner silence in daily activity, the same procedure can be used with good effect in times of emotional stress and physical discomfort. In time, our inner foundation of pure bliss consciousness will become so prevalent that the inevitable ups and downs in life will be swallowed up in infinite awareness as soon as we notice them. The mere act of noticing will dissolve disharmony. This does not mean all physical maladies will disappear miraculously (though sometimes it happens). It means the binding identification of our native awareness with the dislocations occurring in life will become much less, and we will be in a much better position to deal with whatever comes our way. That which can be dissolved on the spot will be. The rest we will continue to navigate in stillness. We call this "stillness in action."

The other approach of deliberately focusing (concentrating) attention on energy imbalances and obstructions, attempting to manipulate them in some way, is not an AYP recommended practice. Such efforts are as likely to amplify discordant energies as dissolve them. So when we advise not to focus too much on energy imbalances and obstructions, it is for the purpose of not strengthening them. The use of attention in that way can also lead to unnecessary distractions in spiritual practices, and in life. Better we give our focused attention to the things that will enhance our quality of life, and simply witness (allow) the things that do not when they demand our attention. No dark shadow can survive the innocent gaze of infinite pure bliss consciousness, which is what we are in our unconditioned state of abiding inner silence.

The guru is in you.

Related Lessons Topic Path

Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum

Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the Deep Meditation book.  For detailed discussion on the practical utilization of self-inquiry, and on how to avoid ineffective uses of self-inquiry, see the Self-Inquiry book. Also see AYP Plus.

Previous  |  Next