Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 426 - Enlightenment Time Line  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
426.1 - Enlightenment Bar Chart  (Audio)
426.2 - Assigning Enlightenment Status

From: Yogani
Date: August 13, 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: Has following the AYP program led anyone to enlightenment? If so, how long will it take for the average person to achieve the same?

A: This question keeps coming up, and perhaps rightfully so. If we are considering undertaking a journey, it is natural to ask where we are going to end up, and how long it will take. These considerations are within the realm of time and space. There are many factors that impinge on the answer, including the fact that the journey we are talking about here is beyond time and space, in the realm of That which is beyond all destinations and time measurements. It is the infinite eternal, possible to be lived here and now in our every day life. When we find ourselves entering this realm, life continues in the ordinary, even while we enjoy extraordinary freedom and the spontaneous power to quicken the awakening in everyone around us.

But to answer your question directly, has anyone arrived in that state while utilizing the AYP approach? Well, yes, I think so. There is mounting evidence in the community of practitioners. But not necessarily because of AYP alone. Each of us must bring our own bhakti (spiritual desire) to the table. Furthermore, many who have made good use of the AYP system have been involved with other approaches in the past, and also in the present, particularly with variations of self-inquiry, which are driven largely by personal choice. So who can say exactly how much AYP has contributed? Nevertheless, there is little doubt that many are making much progress utilizing AYP, whether they have a background with other systems or not.

It depends so much on the person. Not only their bhakti and prior background in practices, but also on the condition of the nervous system at the deepest level. A few are born to become enlightened in this life, while for the rest of us it may be only a possibility. Yet, for all of us the possibility is clearly there, and that is very significant. Where there is the possibility, there will be ways that can be devised to bring it into manifestation. It is a matter of having good tools available, and having the desire and willingness to put forth the effort toward the goal through daily practice.

The factors affecting our journey have been discussed throughout the lessons. As these relate to enlightenment specifically, Lesson 390 provides a pretty good summary, including some of the cautions associated with proclaiming enlightenment. What each of us is doing about it in the here and now is infinitely more important than what someone else claims to have done. This is why discussions about "the attainment" of others are largely a distraction. Likewise, so is proclaiming our own attainment (real or imagined) a distraction to ourselves and others. Enlightenment never proclaims itself. It only does, in a perpetual divine outpouring for the benefit of others in ordinary living.

Regarding the time line for enlightenment, this is greatly affected by the factors mentioned above, and as further discussed in Lesson 390. AYP is still a young approach, about seven years old as an open source teaching at this writing, though tested here for several decades beforehand. At this still-early stage, we can say that a few years of practice yields noticeable results, in some cases dramatic, approaching a "ripeness" of inner silence and ecstatic awakening, and their joining, paving the way for relational self-inquiry (see Lesson 328). Beyond a few years of practice, up to 5 or more years (approaching the limit in time of AYPs public availability), we are seeing clear evidence of some practitioners going beyond ripeness, falling from the tree so to speak, into a life experience in unity/non-duality.

This is not a guarantee that everyone will become ripe in a few years, and fall into a full time experience of unity/non-duality in 5 or so years. What it does indicate, is that anyone who is consistent in practices with prudent self-pacing, while keeping active in the world between sittings, is going to make a lot of progress. How far that goes is a function of our sincere bhakti in relation to inner karmic obstructions to be dissolved/transformed. Our bhakti will surely overcome the karmic obstructions. AYP provides a useful tool set to aid in that.

So it isn't mainly about the practices, though it certainly helps to have good ones. It is about our earnestness in approaching our own spiritual journey, and our prudent management of our practices over the long term.

In the old days, the quest for enlightenment was measured in lifetimes, sometimes thousands of them. In the 20th century, it became clear that with applied effort, at least for a few, the journey could be traversed in several decades. Now, in the 21st century, we are looking at the same being accomplished in a few years. Or at least putting a major dent in it. The applied technologies of yoga and spiritual practices continue to improve, becoming openly available for millions. Times are changing.

Is this level of acceleration in human spiritual transformation realistic? Well, there is no promise of instant enlightenment, not coming from this corner anyway. And neither is there a promise that AYP will deliver all of us into the enlightened state in a few years, though there have been some encouraging accounts. What is promised is steady progress for those who are earnest and apply themselves in the manner suggested.

It will be interesting to see where this open source approach to spiritual practice leads in 10-20 years, and more. It is still very early in the game, and there is much yet to be discovered, both on the individual practitioner's level, and in relation to the ongoing process of human spiritual transformation occurring in the global family of humanity.

Everyone is welcome to join in the experiment. Just sit down and meditate twice each day, diving deep into stillness, and enjoy the results.

The guru is in you.

Click here for more on enlightenment timeline and assigning "enlightenment status."

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Note: For detailed discussion on the development of bhakti (spiritual desire), see the Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.  For detailed discussion on the practical utilization of relational self-inquiry (in ripeness), see the Self-Inquiry book and the Liberation 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 and AYP Plus.

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