Note: For the Original
Internet Lessons with additions,
For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books,
Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Samyama, Elbow Grease and
June 3, 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
Q: You have said that samyama is for assisting deep meditation in
cultivating inner silence, and also that it is for cultivating "stillness in
action." I have trouble seeing these as the same thing. If we are busy doing
things in the world, how can that be stillness? I can understand the silent
witness, the unaffected observer that is the subject,
aware of all objects of experience. How does that become "stillness in
action," and how does samyama produce it?
A: It should first be said that
the emergence of inner silence (witness) and expansion of it to become
"stillness in action" is experiential. We can talk about these things
conceptually, and this can provide some inspiration for engaging in
ultimately it is the experience that will determine our relationship with
the witness, stillness in action, and
resulting sense of non-duality. This leads us to an experiential realization
which has no attributes, even as divine love
the world with the realization. Strange paradox. It cannot be captured by
the mind only experienced.
keep talking about it. Why? So there can be some context for applying the
means for realization. Once the experience is arising, the need for context
becomes less for us, for then we know the thing itself. Still, we may keep
talking about it for the benefit of others,
and to clarify our own condition. And so
it goes all these descriptions of the indescribable, and the assertions of
"stillness in action" proclaiming what cannot be proclaimed, only
So let all
of this information wash over your awareness, and let it go in stillness.
Release the temptation to cram it into a box labeled "philosophy." This is
how the information
can do the most good.
that aids us in developing the habit of refining our intentions and our
actions in stillness. And, yes, samyama strengthens and stabilizes inner
silence in our nature also. As we know, the technique of samyama relies on
the presence of
some abiding inner silence, already established through deep meditation.
With that, we are able to release intentions in abiding inner silence
(witness) and greatly expand its presence and influence.
samyama is in the realm of paradox we have been
discussing, getting to the very heart of it. Our intention is released in
stillness, and stillness moves. We do not move stillness. Stillness moves of
its own accord, in response to the intention surrendered to it. The outcome
is according to that flow, not according to our personal desire or
intention. This is why we have often called it a divine flow, or outpouring.
It is also the essence of
effective prayer. The flow will be
according to the need of the situation, beyond our understanding of it. This
is why effective samyama depends not only on our surrender of intention, but
also surrender to the outcome. We engage in daily structured practice like
that, with a predetermined list of sutras, so we can gradually develop the
ability to live all aspects of our life in this unified way in stillness.
who is engaged in daily samyama practice knows, this is not an abstract or
passive process. Real internal energy flows can be observed as a direct
result of samyama practice, and real events in the world can be observed in
relation to our practice.
Some will see these as "miraculous" events.
We may not know exactly what will happen, but we
can certainly notice the flow of life being influenced in positive and
creative ways by the stillness we have played a role in activating.
side, beyond engaging in effective daily practice, it is up to us to stay
active in productive ways in
the world. Stillness will be most
effective in action if we are acting. A tried and true formula for maximum
personal evolution and the evolution of our surroundings is "samyama plus
elbow grease." Elbow grease means keeping active, engaging fully in whatever
our life is each day. This is a formula for stabilizing inner silence
(witness) in our nervous system as a full time reality, and for expanding
the quality of stillness into action in the world. If we are not acting, the
engagement of stillness in the world will be limited.
are on the move in this, cultivating inner silence in deep meditation and
activating it with samyama and our daily activity, then we will find an
experience of Oneness
(non-duality) arising. This simply means we begin to notice that we are the
environment and the action we are engaged in, even while we are that which
is has no attributes and is doing nothing. Indeed, we find we are nothing at
all, even while we are everything and doing it all!
the experiential realization of the non-dual nature of existence, the
natural outcome of cultivating stillness in action. It is an
incomprehensible thing, but full with joy all the same. It is the experience
that counts, not the concept. Release the concept entirely in stillness and
you may get a taste of it right now.
depends on daily practice, and going out and applying plenty of elbow grease
in daily living. This is not a path for the lazy. There is no free ride. We
each progress according to our own effort.
Enlightenment is not a static condition, not a condition of no activity. It
is a condition of unlimited activity in stillness. At times, we may have to
self-pace ourselves so as not to compromise the body/mind. No one is being
encouraged to burn themselves out. At the same time, enlightenment is not
for couch potatoes. Enlightenment is always a process of purification and
opening, always a higher manifestation we can evolve toward. It is the
never-ending process of life the great river of evolution we are
stimulating and navigating.
is a sense of non-duality, there may be the temptation to assume we have
arrived, and sit down on the couch. We may even stop our practices. We may
assume there is nothing more to learn, and only to teach what we have found
as the ultimate realization. This is a common mistake. Not that we should
not teach from our level, whatever it is. We all should do that to help
others. Service is part of our path. But it is a mistake to assume we have
reached the end, because there is no end. We may feel we are at the end, but
evolution continues to go on everywhere. We are not excluded from that. If
we feel we are exempt from evolution, then that is a dual view, an illusion.
As long as life goes on, there is no end, not for us, and not for anyone. We
may like to get off the train, but that is an act in duality, far more dual
than continuing to act to further our evolution, which is the evolution of
the idea out there that duality and non-duality are mutually exclusive. Not
so. The very view of "mutually exclusive" is dual. By accepting and engaging
in duality in stillness, non-duality
known, without the obvious contradiction found in a philosophical non-dual
view, or fragmentary
experience of Oneness.
It is an illusion in the mind, where subject and object remain firmly
entrenched. We must come to
the place of fully active stillness. We have also called it "active
surrender." It is an experiential awakening rooted in the neurobiology, not
an intellectual awakening in the mind.
Non-duality can only be known when subject and object are merged, and that
can only happen through engagement in activity in stillness stillness in
action. Samyama cultivates this by merging intentions and actions in
stillness, which manifest out in the field of action (elbow grease), merging
together these two essential aspects of life (inner and outer) in direct
experience. Samyama is for promoting this process.
back to a phrase that has been used here from time to time: "The
One is the many
and the many are the One."
be grasped by the mind only experienced. For that we have the systematic
application of practices.
is in you.
Samyama Related Lessons Topic Path
Self-Inquiry Related Lessons Topic Path
Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum
detailed instructions on
detailed discussion on the practical
utilization of self-inquiry, see the
and the Liberation book.
see AYP Plus.