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Lesson 382 - Is Ecstasy a Prerequisite for Enlightenment?  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: February 5, 2010

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: Is ecstasy a prerequisite for enlightenment?

A: It depends on what we mean by ecstasy, and also on what we mean by enlightenment.

If by ecstasy, we mean the energetic flow of stillness through the human nervous system, and by enlightenment we mean the unfoldment of stillness in action expressing the unity experience, then, yes, ecstasy is a prerequisite for enlightenment. Without the energetic component, there can be no divine outpouring, no stillness in action.

On the other hand, if by ecstasy we mean the so-called ecstatic sensations created by energy flowing through still purifying nerves, then this is not a prerequisite for anything, except a continuation of the purification process, which can be an ongoing dramatic experience, according to the matrix of obstructions being dissolved within us. In time, such symptoms will refine and become very subtle, residing on the border between physical ecstasy and the bliss of abiding inner silence. In describing this borderline, we have used the term "ecstatic bliss," and here, distinguishing between the two is not possible, for they have merged. For more on this, see Lesson 113.

Likewise, if we define enlightenment as blissful abiding inner silence, which we call the first stage of enlightenment in AYP (see Lesson 35), then ecstasy is not a prerequisite for that either.

Ecstasy may come into the equation in the second stage of enlightenment, which is the awakening of ecstatic conductivity and the refinement (introversion) of sensory perception. This is necessary before the unity stage can happen, as mentioned above. But the degree to which this stage will be experienced as "ecstatic" or not is a function of inner purification and opening. If the purification is advanced, there may not be many ecstatic fireworks at all. This is certainly the experience later on the path. And so there may be cases where "ecstasy" is not much noticed at any point in the second stage of enlightenment. But something will be moving, and that something is stillness, which refines our perception of inner and outer objects toward a realization of Oneness. This stimulates the flow of divine love, which leads us to service.

The real question is whether we can be enlightened and not engaged in service for others in some way. Not that service is a prerequisite for enlightenment. Rather, it is a symptom of it. By definition, enlightenment is not a personal attainment, including the garnering of ecstasy or any other kind of personal experience. It is a condition of universality. Ecstatic bliss is a natural byproduct of that. So, it is enlightenment that is the prerequisite for ecstatic bliss, not the other way around. And practices are the prerequisite for enlightenment.

Clearly, nothing can happen in the world without a flow of energy. If we are to define enlightenment as something occurring in the world, then it will, by definition, have an energetic component. Whether we call that energetic component stillness in action, outpouring divine love, an expression of unity, or ecstasy, will not matter. It is all the same thing. For stillness to move, a vehicle is required. That vehicle will have different faces under different conditions. All symptoms of purification are this also, including the unpleasant ones that inspire us to self-pace our practices.

Ultimately, the many experiential distinctions are not that important, except to inspire us to carry on prudently with our practices to the end. Then we will not be dependent on external designations anymore, and can describe our experience first hand with any words we choose. This is why we do not make such a big deal of enlightenment prerequisites, milestones, etc. It is all in each of us, and that is where we will find it. External prerequisites, milestones and definitions are merely props to keep us going until we unfold the reality within ourselves. The human nervous system is the doorway to the divine. This is what we are discovering through direct experience.

The main thing is to keep going, not getting hung up on prerequisites, preconditions, or preconceived notions about what we think enlightenment is supposed to be. For each of us, the scenery along the way will be a little different. We will know it when we see it, and can carry on, favoring the procedure of our practice over whatever symptoms are occurring, including any tendency we may have to be over-analyzing symptoms, or the lack of them. The journey to enlightenment is about the consistency of our practices over time, not about the scenery we may encounter along the way.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on building a balanced daily practice routine, and discussion on the evolutionary stages of enlightenment, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.

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