Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 92 -
The Star (Audio)
Date: Thu Jan 22, 2004 4:56pm
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 have meditated for the past 10 years. I would say that I was never
really good at it. I felt that way because I was easily distracted during
meditation by thoughts. With that in mind, it was a hit or miss as to
whether I meditated or not. In other words, not a daily practice. More like
3 - 4 times a week.
Prior to joining your group, I was told how to do Yoni Mudra. I wasn't
really doing it right, but the first two times I saw this beautiful circle
with a star in the middle. I did not know at that time that it was something
that would happen after doing Yoni Mudra. A couple days after seeing it, I
received a flyer in the mail from the Self Realization Fellowship and on the
flyer was the exact thing I saw. I had not seen it again even with trying
So now fast forward. I joined your group. I really liked the fact that the
thoughts that come are ok. Just keep going and go back to the mantra. I felt
like maybe I was doing it right before and that my expectation was off. I've
committed to doing the practice twice a day. I wanted to keep the "time
line" in mind so that I didn't rush through this. So I added the Advanced
Practices slowly. I haven't really had any rush of kundalini energy like
some of the people, but I decided to keep practicing.
This morning I tried the Yoni Mudra for the 1st time since joining your
group. As soon as I started, I saw a bunch of crazy lights. I just watched
and kept doing it. Then came the circles with the star in the middle. There
was a bright circle with a dark circle inside. In the middle was the star.
The star would fade in and out. I didn't want it to go away. I went into my
meditation and it did leave.
My question is, what's the star all about? Why do I want to see it so badly
when I don't even know what it is all about? I know it is part of the
process but how and why is not known. Will I see it when I meditate or only
during Yoni Mudra? Is there something I can do to retain the star during
meditation? What made it come during Yoni Mudra? Am I supposed to do
something with the star?
A: The simple procedure of meditation doesn't mind thoughts at all, or
anything else. It is the art of gentle persuasion, letting the mantra refine
to pure bliss consciousness. The mind goes to stillness easily when we give
up the fight with thoughts and just favor the mantra naturally at deeper
levels whenever we become aware we are off it. This is the way in.
On seeing the star, it is a natural outcome of purifying the sushumna
(spinal nerve) and opening the third eye. It was mentioned in the lesson on
yoni mudra kumbhaka that the attention will sooner or later be drawn out
beyond the point between the eyebrows. This is an extension of the sushumna
beyond the body. At the end of the sushumna are the infinite realms of
bright white light. They are seen as a bright star in the beginning. The
colors ringed around the star are the inside of the sushumna. You are
looking out from the inside, so you are seeing the inside of the sushumna in
your body, and the end of the sushumna off in the distance, which is the
star. You are looking through the tunnel of the sushumna, seeing "the light
at the end of the tunnel," as they say. Inside the tunnel, we are literally
a rainbow of light, beginning with dark red at the bottom and ending with
blue and violet at the top. You have heard the expression, "She has a heart
of gold." Well, we all have hearts of gold. We just need some housecleaning
to see it. That is the outer ring you are seeing.
Some of the most graphic and beautiful descriptions of the inside of the
sushumna are presented by Norman Paulsen in his book "Sacred Science." Mr.
Paulsen is one of the few remaining direct disciples of Paramahansa
Yogananda, the famed yogi and author of "Autobiography of a Yogi." In his
book, Mr. Paulsen discusses a more intricate form of spinal breathing. There
are a variety of approaches to spinal breathing, different styles. The
approach to spinal breathing we use in these lessons is chosen for its
simplicity and known effectiveness. Each person is free to choose, so
different styles of practice are honored here.
The sacred diagram, "Sri Yantra," is also a representation of the inner
reality of humanity -- concentric circles of divine feminine energy forming
a tunnel leading to the final union of shiva and shakti in the center. When
we do spinal breathing we are joining these two energies everywhere inside
the sushumna, and in every part of the nervous system.
This is one of the few instances in life where "tunnel vision" has some
positive connotations to it.
What are we to do with this star when we see it, and a rising awareness of
the sushumna tunnel that often goes with it? It is an important question you
raise. Yes, we are naturally attracted to the star. It is "heaven." It is
where we go when we die. Reports of the tunnel and white light are common
among those who have had a near death experience. The tunnel is the way by
which we have come into this earthly existence as well. Now you can see why
spinal breathing is so important in our practice. We are clearing our
highway to heaven.
But it isn't time to leave yet! Therein lies the answer to the question:
What do we do about the star? You will get different answers from different
people on this question. There is a lot of hub-bub about it.
The answer in these lessons is, we don't do much with the star. We let the
experience of it evolve naturally, just as we do with everything coming up
as a result of our practices. As the star comes up we regard it as any other
part of our inner workings and go back to the practice we are doing. It is,
after all, just another feature of our spiritual anatomy, like nadis,
chakras, and the like. Everything in heaven and earth is contained within
us. We don't have to go anywhere to be what we already are. If our ecstasy
inside or outside practices draws us into the star, then this is just fine.
Whatever happens there is part of our experience of divine expansion. If our
ecstasy draws us elsewhere in our spiritual anatomy, that is fine too. If we
are in practices, we easily favor the practice we are doing, like always. We
don't get all hung up on this or that experience that may come up. If we are
not in practices and we see something happening in our spiritual anatomy --
let's enjoy! In these lessons we are yogis and yoginis first, and tourists
second. It is fine to enjoy the scenery when we are outside practices. There
will be plenty for us to see. While inside practices, we stick to the easy
job of favoring the practice we are doing.
On this earth we are in the business of putting our nervous system in good
working spiritual order. That is what we are here for. This can only be done
by continuing to nudge the nervous system every day to higher levels of
functioning. As soon as we become fixated on any particular aspect of our
spiritual anatomy, we may be doing so at the expense of the overall
enlightenment project. For this reason, we do well to consider all the inner
mechanics and experiences to be going on "under the hood" as we zoom along
on our road of advanced yoga practices to enlightenment.
Let's go back to our analogy of taking a trip to California. Let's suppose
we are building ourselves a road to California. One that will enable us to
have easy access to come and go as we please. As our road under construction
gets close enough to Los Angeles, we will see the bright lights shining off
in the distance. We might be tempted to stop working on the road and just
run across country to the lights of LA. Doing that, we end up in LA, leaving
an unfinished road outside town somewhere. Not that LA needed another road
anyway, but it is just an analogy. Sooner or later we will have to go back
and finish that road. LA is not completely LA until we can come and go as we
please. Like that, heaven is not completely heaven until we can come and go
as we please. For that, we need a fully purified nervous system.
Enlightenment is not about running off to heaven and leaving an unpurified
nervous system behind that we will have to come back to and finish later in
another life. It is about doing the work of completely purifying the nervous
system. Then we have it all, become it all, heaven, earth, the cosmos, LA,
everything. Then we become an expression of heaven on earth, and can do much
for others who are expressions of heaven also, just needing a good
housecleaning to realize it. So, it is not about going off into the star. It
is about bringing the star in here, into the earth plane. That we do by
purifying and opening the nervous system.
As Jesus said, "You are the light of the world."
So, if you are seeing the star or having ecstasy reaching out beyond the
point between the eyebrows, go there as part of your normal spinal
breathing. It will add a lot to your practice. If you see the star or have
ecstasy extending out beyond the point between the eyebrows during yoni
mudra kumbhaka, just be there easily during kumbhaka as the instructions
say. Don't try and hang on to it. A natural purification and connection is
occuring. Just let it happen. Keep in mind that we are working to purify our
nervous system here on earth. That is what we are doing in meditation,
spinal breathing, kumbhaka, bandhas, mudras, and all the rest. Enjoy the
bliss of heaven when it kisses you. Bring it back into your body naturally
in practices. Remember, the work we are doing is here in this earth form.
What we accomplish here we will take with us wherever we go when we leave.
This nervous system is the gateway. If we attend to that, everything else
will take care of itself.
It has been said that the angels in heaven are a bit jealous of us mortal
human beings. Why? Because on this plane of existence we have the nervous
system readily available to purify, and the motivation (mortality) to do
something about it. It is much easier to do that work here on earth than in
heaven. So the angels are a bit jealous. They are waiting for their turn to
do what we can do here and now -- advanced yoga practices. So, before we go
running off to heaven, let's make the best of our opportunity here and now.
Heaven will be there when it is our time to go. The more we can purify our
nervous system here and now, the easier it will be for us later on.
There is a tendency in some approaches to get into some particular vision.
To have that vision means everything. It doesn't have to be like that. The
manifestation of truth won't be exactly the same for everyone. So, picking a
specific vision to strive for could be a mistake. Maybe some will never see
a tunnel or star. Maybe they just zoom through at some point and it is all
pure white light. Or maybe some other kinds of colors, and then the white
light. Maybe no white light, and just more and more ecstasy, until one day,
boom! And white light is everywhere inside and outside the body. It can
happen many different ways, depending on the unique purification process
going on in each person. No one can tell how it should be for every person.
For this reason we don't worry much about visions in these lessons. We do
the practices every day that we know encourage the nervous system to purify
and open naturally. The experiences will be whatever they will be. If we
keep clearing the highway to heaven, there can be no doubt that we will
arrive in the best shape, and have the everlasting ability to come and go as
A vision is not the big payoff in yoga. Eternal freedom in enlightenment is!
The guru is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
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For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the
AYP Deep Meditation book.
For detailed instructions on spinal
breathing, see the
AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.
For detailed discussion on the benefits of "favoring the practice over the
scenery," see the
AYP Eight Limbs of Yoga book.
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