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Advanced Yoga Practices
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 420 - The Doctor Is In (Audio)
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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?"
As a physician, the healing benefits of deep meditation and samyama really have my attention, and I am actively promoting more research on yoga in the medical field.
This knowledge is ancient and known, and all "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) approaches are probably based on similar principles. However, these work for some but not all. I wonder if it is the presence or absence of inner silence that determines if these therapies are effective in healing? But how many people have the patience and diligence to cultivate inner silence in deep meditation, even for the sake of healing? I'm afraid not many of my patients have the required discipline to meditate twice daily. Nevertheless, currently I'm prescribing meditation for "stress relief" and medical benefits, with the hope that those inclined will continue on this remarkable path of healing and much more.
In the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, it is said that meditation should be performed with the sole intention of realizing the Self, implying that all other benefits are side-effects. As much as this may be true, I'm not sure this is something I can tell my patients, who may not realize that there is a Self to realize! Instead, I just encourage them to meditate for their health.
From my own experience, inner silence and samyama work miracles, and I wish everyone could tap into this to heal their medical conditions (and then some). How can this be taught? Please advise.
A: It's wonderful that you were able to initiate your healing in stillness. Yes, the key to all of it is cultivating abiding inner silence whether it be for better quality of life, results-producing samyama, self-inquiry, the end of suffering, Self-realization, helping others, etc. And to the extent other systems work, they rely on inner silence also.
Inner silence is the Self, so the cultivation of abiding inner silence is Self-realization. However, Self-realization does not have to be viewed in a religious or spiritual context. Nor does meditation have to be thought of in terms of Self-realization. The process of meditation and its results do not care about the reason why the practice was undertaken. Any reason will do. Who does not want to be more centered, healthy, happy, productive, free from worry, and at peace with the flow of life? Any or all of these reasons are adequate for undertaking daily meditation. People come to the practice for their own reasons. The door is wide open.
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that the human nervous system came before the religions. The practices we utilize are related to the human nervous system's inherent ability to purify, open, and heal itself, and the religions have only borrowed and incorporated these methods (and their effects) into the various philosophies and doctrines. Sometimes this has been limiting. But, in fact, there are no limits!
So any reason for meditating daily is the right reason health, stress reduction, creativity, productivity, relationships, etc. The trick is to see where your patient's deepest longings are, and present meditation in tune with that. Where there are health issues, it is pretty easy. As a doctor, you can prescribe: "Do deep meditation twice daily for 20 minutes, and call me for help with self-pacing."
What you are experiencing with the samyama habit creeping out into your everyday patterns of thinking and doing is perfect. When we are operating in stillness, we may not call it samyama anymore, but that is what it is the habit of releasing in stillness even as we are acting, and everything works so well from there. It is "stillness in action." Structured samyama practice cultivates that ability, once we have the ball rolling on cultivating abiding inner silence in daily deep meditation. Then our life becomes a divine flow in service to the whole of life. It is the fruition of a physicians purpose. Every doctor should be "in" like that.
The world is catching on gradually. There are more into meditation now than ever before, and in less faddish and cult-like ways than we saw in the latter decades of the 20th century. Now it is more about a gradually rising common knowledge on how to establish a solid basis for a full and happy life. It begins with cultivating abiding inner silence. With that, the possibilities are endless, whether viewed in a secular way or a religious way. We are working on raising public awareness. The best way to do that is to help the people find the truth through direct experience. Then it is up to them.
Scientific research has an important role to play in this. Not only to inform, but to steadily improve the application of spiritual practices for best results across the entire population. It is a massive undertaking, with a huge payoff. That is what we are attempting to do in AYP help get the ball rolling, first by providing access to effective means, and then encouraging and supporting self-directed practice.
Your wish to share useful knowledge will translate into action, and many will benefit. It is the same thing that happened here. There are a thousand ways to do it. You will find your way.
We who are in this field are building a collective body of knowledge on practices and real-time evidence on human spiritual transformation. In time, no one will be able to ignore it. Each will always make their own choices on personal action. But the choosing will no longer be for lack of reliable information on causes and effects.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the Deep Meditation book. For detailed instructions on samyama, see the Samyama book. Also see and AYP Plus.
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