Advanced Yoga Practices
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Urgent Bhakti and Overdoing (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
425.1 - Bhakti,
Kundalini and Self-Pacing (Audio)
425.2 - A Dialog on Self-Pacing (Audio)
August 12, 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: I am starting to feel that my path has become all about
self-pacing. After two-and-a-half years
practices, I am
experiencing big ups and downs on
my path. Over and over again, I am filled with bhakti that leads to
overdoing in practices. Then I overload, and am cutting back on practices
until the next cycle, and so on. There has been a lot of self-judgment and
suffering around this. It has been difficult with surging bhakti for divine
union like mine, combined with the powerful AYP system, and other practices
I have pursued along the way. I'm not sure where to go from here. I am
desperate for God, but am having great difficulty traveling this rough road.
I also have a desire to serve others, but do not see how that can happen
under the present circumstances.
A: The more advanced we become,
the more important self-pacing becomes, for the very reasons you are
describing. With the rise of inner silence and the awakening of ecstatic
conductivity (kundalini), the more intense our desire for union will become.
This rise of urgent bhakti is both a cause and effect in practices. It is up
to us to regulate our conduct in relation to practices, our bhakti, and life
in general, so as to keep in balance. In this, we should always keep in mind
the potential delayed effects that can come when diving into intense periods
of practice. Throwing caution to the wind in such situations is what can
lead to the cycle of energetic and emotional ups and downs you are
is to chart a course in the middle, between the highs and lows. Not always
easy for most of us until we are further along in spiritual experience. Two
or three years is a very short time in practices. Aim for 5-10 years of
combined with a normal life (whatever that is for you), and then results can
be much smoother and more reliable. Reduce short term expectations, and all
will be better. There is nothing to do except what is in front of us right
isn't about following
impulsive urges to jump into more and more
practices. This is a form of
automatic yoga that does not necessarily lead to more progress.
we make stable practice the priority
on our path, what we need to be doing
are not the doers. Inner silence is. In abiding inner silence,
our dharma (most evolutionary path)
becomes clear. This
doesn't mean we should not look before we leap. Common sense and a measured
approach are our best friends on the path, especially when we are becoming
Regarding serving others, we have to take care of ourselves before we can
take care of others. On the other hand, sometimes it can work the other way
around, and be grounding. Sometimes by taking care of others we can take
care of ourselves. Only you can know in your particular circumstances.
suggested not to let fearful judgments rule in deciding on how to go
forward. We do not self-pace in fear. Use common sense. If the energy is
flowing too much, then engage in the practical measures we have discussed
throughout the lessons for self-pacing and grounding.
are finding too much sensitivity in deep meditation with mantra, it will be
wise to consider doing breath meditation for a while, as discussed in
Lesson 367. Likewise, it is not a good idea to push
ahead aggressively with asanas, pranayama, mudras, bandhas and other
practices until stability in your basic daily practice routine is
balanced with daily activity. Having good
grounding in our life in the form of ordinary daily activity like
job, school or family is very important.
is an old saying that "a watched pot will never boil." In spiritual
endeavors, the opposite can happen, with "a watched pot boiling too much."
This means keeping our bhakti in perspective,
relaxing our urgency as needed. Keeping a
balance is essential, especially as we advance along the path with inner
silence, ecstatic energies and
bhakti. The good news is that it all settles down
as purification and opening advance. As stillness and ecstatic energy
mingle, the eternal peace and natural dynamism of divine
emerge. In the meantime, it is up to us to self-pace and ground.
a lot of bhakti is great. It is essential to fuel our actions on the path.
But, as we advance,
it will not be helpful without a balance in our life. It is about knowing
ourselves, and doing what is necessary for stable progress. No one else can
do this for us.
rough spot will pass ... it is guaranteed. When the good vibes are coming
back, tread through with care. Not too much up, and not too much down.
Cultivate and abide in the stillness in the middle. That is what we are ...
that is where the peace is, even when the world around us may be flying
will be ups and downs in life, no matter how enlightened we become. That is
also guaranteed. As long as we think we can eliminate the ups and downs by
maneuvering our life this way or that way, we will be suffering. With
practices we will get to the point where we can live through the inevitable
ups and downs in abiding inner silence. Then judgment of ourselves and
Judgment (identification) is the greatest cause
of suffering the only cause really. That's why meditation is the most
important practice. It brings us home to stillness, which ends judgment.
Judgment is gradually replaced by divine flow, which is doing what is in
front of us right now, living in the ups and downs of life as stillness in
action. It is not a mind thing. It is about cultivating our essential
"being" daily, which is pure bliss consciousness.
Everything else revolves around that,
lives in that, and is That.
about sustaining balanced daily practice over the long term. That is how we
is in you.
Bhakti Related Lessons Topic Path
Self-Pacing Related Lessons Topic Path
Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum
Note: For detailed
discussion on how bhakti evolves on our path, see the
Bhakti and Karma Yoga book. For detailed instructions on
building and maintaining a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga book. Also see AYP Plus.