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Lesson 427 - Taking the Leap to Direct Experience  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: August 18, 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: While quite a few have told me, "My way is the only way to achieve enlightenment," I find the AYP teaching to be refreshing in that it makes no exclusive claims like that. Ironically, this strength of AYP causes me some doubt about which system of practices I should follow. There are so many alternatives, all vying for my attention with grand promises. I find myself somewhat paralyzed on how to proceed.

What I'm looking for is confirmation from direct experience that AYP indeed works, rather than theoretical explanations. I'm sure that the AYP following wouldn't be as large as it is if it didn't provide meaningful results, but I thought it could save me more research on practices if I could get a definitive answer on what is absolutely the best approach. I shall not rest until I find it!

A: You have really answered your own question with your reference to a "confirmation from direct experience." That can only mean your direct experience, because there is no such thing as direct experience for you coming from another. Doing something yourself is the only way you will find out what works for you, no matter what anyone else may say about it.

We can investigate approaches to spiritual practice until the cows come home. But we will have nothing we can rely on until we take the leap to direct experience. That means picking an approach to practices and getting started. From that point onward we will be on the journey, and able to adjust our course as necessary along the way, based on actual results in our life.

A certain amount of analysis on the front end is necessary. However, if it becomes our primary and on-going mode of approaching practices, we will find limited results. Once we have gotten under way with an actual practice routine, we can base all analysis on our actual experiences, rather than second and third hand experiences that may be claimed by others. The game is here in us, and nowhere else. The sooner we get in the game as a direct participant, rather than continuing as a spectator, the sooner we will be managing actual causes and effects in our process of human spiritual transformation, instead of just imagining what it is all about.

While we can't say that AYP is "absolutely the best approach," we can say that it offers an effective sequence for taking on practices, with a strong likelihood of finding life-enhancing results in both the near term and long term. This is done in a way that affords flexibility for building and pacing our practice routine to accommodate personal sensitivities and inclinations. This kind of approach is not so easy to find in sectarian teachings, where there may be fixed rules on how to proceed with practices, regardless of personal needs. In that sense, AYP is somewhat unique, putting the practitioner in charge of building and managing the practice routine, with support available as may be needed.

Is this the best approach? Who can say? Is this a practical and effective approach? Definitely.

The flexibility found in AYP does not mean it is watered down or weak. Quite to the contrary, the practices offered are among the most powerful (and simple to do) available anywhere, especially when integrated together in a twice-daily practice routine. Plus, they can be taken on at a rate determined by the practitioner, producing more than enough oomph to challenge our ability to absorb rapid rates of inner purification and opening. That is why "self-pacing" is at the heart of the AYP approach. We use powerful practices, and we self-pace them for maximum progress with comfort. There is no such thing as maximum progress with discomfort, because this leads to repeated forced discontinuations of practices a much slower approach in the long run. So self-pacing is essential.

Having said all that, it really boils down to something very simple for any would-be practitioner looking at the AYP approach. Just begin deep meditation according to instructions provided in the lessons (see Lesson 13), and take it from there. Once a comfortable twice-daily practice of deep meditation is in place, additional options will open to us. When we are consistently cultivating abiding inner silence, all the rest will come. There will be less analysis and more doing. This is what we mean by taking the leap to direct experience. It is very easy, but we have to take that leap ourselves, and continue with a consistent daily practice.

Your direct experience with practices will be the most reliable and useful feedback you will get on your path. That is the formula. It is about your results, not anyone else's. Everything is going to work out fine. Just do it.

Wishing you all the best on your path. Practice wisely, and enjoy!

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on starting and maintaining an easy twice-daily deep meditation practice, see the Deep Meditation 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.

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