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 Satsang Cafe - General Discussions on AYP
 my struggles with pleasure
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 20 2020 :  1:48:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I am over the bucking bronco phase of my practices now and it is clear to me all of the elements are coming together nicely. While doing my 10 minute SBP today with the usual bandhas and mudras I quickly reached an ecstatic place. These ecstatic feelings continued into DM and Samyama. I am grateful for having discovered these practices; however, as I've shared some in previous posts, I still have concerns.

I often think of the experiments with rodents in which they are given a cocaine reward every time they push a button. They quickly learn to push that button. Over time they often starve themselves as they continue to push the button, unable to control themselves. AYP practices are very seductive for me as I now have access to the pleasure centers of my brain. I respect the twice daily 10 minutes of SBP and 20 minutes of DM as I could easily see the draw of sitting in an orgasmic stupor for long periods of time as the pleasurable experiences are very intoxicating and have continued to grow over the year of practice. I should say I am fully engaged in my job, helping people all day long and in caring for my wife and children, but I do worry some that I have discovered something that could lead me down a bad path. Most of the negative posts I read on this site are about people who seem to be overwhelmed by emotional overwhelm and anxious feelings, I am exploring somewhat of an opposite "problem".

In the past I often got caught up in seeking intense physical pleasure thru sex. Traditional sex has some built in checks and balances due to the refractory period in men. AYP practices seem to take things to the next level, separating the pleasure experiences into a more pure refined form. Between meditation sessions the ecstatic conductivity remains as a peaceful buzz beneath the surface which I can feel intensely if I am sitting quietly. I have continued to trust Yogani's message that the growing prana will eventually spill over into radiance and ultimately unity yet, I can't shake the fear that I've drilled down to the core of all addictions by gaining direct access to my pleasure center.

I am interested in your experience with AYP. Do you experience intense pleasure regularly in your practice? Does this concern you? Have you been able to channel it into outward expressions of love and unity? Have you struggled with concerns about this having addictive potential?

sunyata

USA
1426 Posts

Posted - May 20 2020 :  2:28:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi interpaul,

Sounds like you're doing great : Serving, practicing, grounding.

I know you've heard this many times before: Self-pace and ground more. You're going through a phase. It will pass.

An inquiry question for you: Are you trying to avoid something while chasing pleasure so much? You can share if you'd like to. And, its perfectly okay if you don't want to. .

Much Love,
Sunyata


Edited by - sunyata on May 20 2020 2:37:46 PM
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Dogboy

USA
1757 Posts

Posted - May 20 2020 :  8:09:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
You have mentioned in prior threads your addictive past and that you are currently in a sexless marriage, so it is not unexpected to have these concerns. The difference now is your meditation practice, which will deepen inner silence, give rise to the witness, and access to self inquiry, all of which should help to keep prior behaviors at arms length. Remaining mindful of where you were, how far you’ve come, the quality of your daily life, and not exceeding recommended AYP time limits will sharpen your “side eye” and keep you on track. When in doubt, sit one out (self pace) and always ground yourself, overloading or not. Pleasure from practice keeps you on schedule and on the cushion. The intensity for me fluctuates, and comes and goes. Know your current situation will also change as you go along the path. One can enjoy a slice of cake with the knowledge that eating the whole cake is truly detrimental; you have done that before and see it for what it is.
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 20 2020 :  10:56:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sunyata, Thanks for your reassurance. A good inquiry. After years of therapy and many decades on this planet I realize the answer isn't simple. I think I've been wired this way from early on. Pleasure has served to relieve anxiety during my childhood and early adult life as I wasn't aware of some of the harmful neglect I experienced as a kid. In more recent years my marital struggles have resulted in a sexless marriage. I don't know that I am consciously chasing pleasure so much as experiencing it deeply when I do the AYP practices. This is one reason I ended by inquiring if others experience this too. SBP particularly seems like a magnifier focusing the energy as it is drawn up from the root to the third eye. Mulabandha keeps the energy from exiting the body and then it goes up again building on itself. I almost feel like it charges my internal battery.

Dogboy, Thanks for weighing in again and for sharing your wisdom. I like your analogy of the cake.
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Stille

Germany
61 Posts

Posted - May 21 2020 :  05:34:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi interpaul,

I am delighted to hear that you seem to be doing well and want to remind you to let go. As Dogboy already pointed out, deep meditation will cause the witness to arise in you and thus enabling you to gently redirect your addictive tendencies until they dissolve completely. In the end we have to let go of all experiences, whether they may be positive or negative. You can simply feel that silent place inside you whenever you are worrying and let that worry go, over and over again until it is gone for good.

quote:
Do you experience intense pleasure regularly in your practice?


Not at all, not even close

I am always fascinated when I read of your experiences. My energetic experiences are very differnt from yours (yet). They are much more physical, including violet jerking, shaking and automatic kriyas/asanas. But my witness is strong, it has always been my strong suit and I am very grateful for it. I used to be obsessed with progress, especially energetic progress, dreaming about the experiences you do have. Letting go can be frustrating and may take some time if the mental habit is strong but it works and it is worth it for sure. I am not obsessed anymore and nor will you worry forever. Samyama in and outside of practise is your friend.




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Blanche

USA
631 Posts

Posted - May 21 2020 :  07:19:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit Blanche's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Interpaul,
Your experiences are familiar. I wondered about the same thing after a friend told me: “Of course you spend so much time meditating because you are hooked on these pleasurable experiences.” There was something true in that because the pleasurable experiences would happen with variable intensity during most sitting. Was I fooling myself and just got stuck in some pleasurable loop? I wondered. So I did an experiment: For the following month, every time pleasure showed up, I backed off and started the meditation again. And again, and again. That month I did not get in deep states of meditation. There seemed to be no way in with a blank dry state, without what the AYP calls “ecstatic conductivity.”

The conclusion was that the path in goes through these pleasurable states. It is the natural way. There is a pattern in meditation: The ecstatic conductivity increases gradually, but then it becomes quieter and quieter, making space for a quiet happiness and deep contentment, and then there is a tremendous expansion as one goes deeper in meditation.

You are on the right path, and the ecstatic conductivity is part of it. Things work the way they are supposed to work. Enjoy it!
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sunyata

USA
1426 Posts

Posted - May 21 2020 :  09:04:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by interpaul

Sunyata, Thanks for your reassurance. A good inquiry. After years of therapy and many decades on this planet I realize the answer isn't simple. I think I've been wired this way from early on. Pleasure has served to relieve anxiety during my childhood and early adult life as I wasn't aware of some of the harmful neglect I experienced as a kid. In more recent years my marital struggles have resulted in a sexless marriage. I don't know that I am consciously chasing pleasure so much as experiencing it deeply when I do the AYP practices. This is one reason I ended by inquiring if others experience this too. SBP particularly seems like a magnifier focusing the energy as it is drawn up from the root to the third eye. Mulabandha keeps the energy from exiting the body and then it goes up again building on itself. I almost feel like it charges my internal battery.



.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong: reading from all your posts, it seems the pleasure is overwhelming, and it has taken over you.

With energetic practices, after expansion, there must be a period of integration. The body mind has to integrate what was cultivated. If the period of integration is not allowed and accepted, then there might be a phase of crash and burn or short circuit. For example, if you plug in an equipment that runs with 110 Volts into 440 volts, the wires may melt, the equipment is going to malfunction. It's the same with our body mind. Slow and steady while dancing the razor’s edge. It’s an art in itself.

Do you have an asana practice? Movement is such a beautiful and integral part after the rise of ecstatic conductivity and channeling the energy.

You’re doing great, interpaul! Whatever you’re going through is also part of the path.




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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 21 2020 :  5:57:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Stille, Thank you for your comments. It is amazing to me how different we all respond to these practices. I could imagine feeling a little jealous of these ecstatic symptoms as I am the first to admit I've been pretty surprised. If someone told me I'd be experiencing these types of pleasures a year ago, I would have told them they are crazy. Having said that, I now appreciate your situation, i.e. having a developed witness, is a better place to be. It is the destination I am waiting to find. It seems everyone is telling me the ecstatic phase is just a phase and the stable blissful witness phase is more of a permanent destination

Blanche, Thank you for sharing your experience. It is helpful to know others have had these experiences and have moved forward towards a more stable and peaceful place.

Sunyata, Thank you for your additional support and a somewhat counterpoint note of caution about circuit overload. I don't know that I am overwhelmed. On the one hand I feel like God has bestowed me with a gift of pleasure. Having had some issues with too much attention towards sexual pleasure in the past I want to be careful not to overdo it. I think the slowly developing witness in me is cautioning me and likely the motivation behind me reaching out to the group. I had been doing Rodney Yee's morning yoga DVD for a couple years. Shelter in place has ironically made my life busier and I haven't had as much consistent time to engage in regular practices but I am trying to carve out some more time for these integrative practices as I know how beneficial they can be.
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Dogboy

USA
1757 Posts

Posted - May 21 2020 :  9:07:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Mulabandha keeps the energy from exiting the body and then it goes up again building on itself.


Lately I’ve been trying to surrender mulabandha, opening my shushumna on both ends, imaging garden hose vs. water balloon or spilling it from my heart, personifying Radiance in a sense. Have you tried radiating this internal arousal beyond your skin? A good imagination can get you there. My understanding of non duality is when “inside” and “outside” become one in the same. Might as well turn inside out
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1595 Posts

Posted - May 22 2020 :  1:48:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi interpaul

You might find it useful to review Lesson 258 Divine Ecstasy - Is That All There Is?



Edited by - BlueRaincoat on May 22 2020 1:50:11 PM
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1595 Posts

Posted - May 22 2020 :  1:56:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Dogboy
My understanding of non duality is when “inside” and “outside” become one in the same. Might as well turn inside out



"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer, and the outer like the inner, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]."The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Saying 22
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 22 2020 :  5:33:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dogboy, I think I can use my imagination for that. You always have great ways of visualizing energy movement. I like the idea of working on radiating it out from the heart as leaking out from the mulabandha conjures less elegant imagery

BlueRaincoat, I hadn't gotten to this lesson as I stopped reading the lessons months ago as part of my self pacing process. This lesson was written for me! I like the Gnostic Gospel quote as well. Yogani speaks of two ways we can experience excess that require self pacing. I had experienced the more painful kundalini type and had self paced, relieving that. I didn't realize the ecstatic conductivity could be another reason for self pacing as that seemed to be one of the key milestones. Looking back on my progress I realize the ecstatic feelings have distracted me during DM and that seems to be where I need to fine tune my practices some. Really appreciate your support and insight.
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1255 Posts

Posted - May 23 2020 :  12:27:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Interpaul,

You ask very, very valid questions.

I am lost in God.... Save yourself!


Sey
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 23 2020 :  01:43:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sey, Your cryptic message scares me some. I have read of some of the struggles you have had in the "middle years" Are you cautioning me to avoid this AYP path? Could you share a little more about being lost in God?
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Charliedog

1609 Posts

Posted - May 23 2020 :  02:36:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit Charliedog's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
"When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer, and the outer like the inner, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]."The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Saying 22



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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1255 Posts

Posted - May 25 2020 :  12:14:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Interpaul - don't mind me.

May I ask a question - perhaps you have already answered this in previous threads, but I would ask again:

Why are you doing this? AYP practices, I mean.


Best regards,

Sey
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 25 2020 :  2:31:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sey, A fair question. I have discussed before but wouldn't expect you to have read my post. I've struggled for several years with a difficult marriage. I'm not proud I turned to pornography to ease anxiety about a situation I didn't know how to fix. After years of couple's counseling I realize my contributions and my wife's. Prior to AYP I discovered NoFAP (No masturbation, no porn) as a cold turkey way to heal from this compulsive behavior. . After 3 weeks of abstinence I had a kundalini awakening. This manifest as a few hours of orgasmic waves that kept me up most of the night. It got my attention! After searching online for some explanation of what I had experienced I found Mantak Chia's work. He is a Taoist teacher that teaches semen retention as a practice to transform sexual energies into spiritual energies. I learned a lot about Chi and the spiritual aspects of sexuality thru his teaches but found him a bit of an odd character and read of many men who had energy overload problems from his practices. A guy on one of the online support groups mentioned how helpful AYP practices were in his recovery. As soon as I started reading Yogani's works I realized the treasure I had found. Many of the practices I had been doing were better explained and more refined in AYP.

It's been a year now and I continue to be very interested in the spiritual aspects of these practices but I will acknowledge my prior attachment to sexual pleasure has made the AYP path a bit tricky for me to negotiate (as you may discern from many of my posts). In my 50s I would say the most deepest draw of the practices are a chance at real spiritual growth. I will acknowledge I haven't renounced the ecstatic aspects of the practices as they have given me an alternative to much less healthy behaviors. I feel as if I've found a safer way to channel these needs for personal growth.

I still am very interested in what you meant by your post. I have this sense you have had a hard go lately and not sure how you see AYP at this point in time. Being relatively new to this I am especially sensitive to hearing any concerns long term practitioners may have as I don't want to go down the wrong path.
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1255 Posts

Posted - May 26 2020 :  12:50:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Interpaul,

You have not quite answered my question. You have told the story of how you came to AYP. One year done the line, the "why" you are doing AYP (spiritual practices) have probably changed. You started because you were experiencing kundalini overload and AYP offers good techniques for mitigating this, but is that still the reason you are staying?

All Paths lead somewhere (even circular). Do you want to be on a path? Where do you want your path to lead?


Sey

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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 26 2020 :  01:58:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sey, I'm not exactly sure what you are pushing for. So far everything Yogani has described has come true with my practices. I genuinely am interested in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If there is such a thing as enlightenment, I would like to explore it more deeply. I suspect that may seem naive to you but I've been impressed with the journey so far. I am still interested in your answer to my question if you are willing to share some. Have these practices caused problems for you? I really want to hear the truth as I do still worry sometimes these practices may tap into pleasure centers in the brain that could be unhealthy for me.
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SparklingDiamond

Australia
190 Posts

Posted - May 30 2020 :  11:08:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
O.K. I have to ask !
What kind of pleasure are you referring to? Is it similar to orgasmic pleasure ? Can you describe it in more detail? Pleasure is such a general term.
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 30 2020 :  4:08:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
SparklingDiamond, You are correct, defining the terms is important, although it a subjective experience and I suspect none of us really know how other people experience pleasure. I used to believe we all experienced color the same way and heard things the same way. If you aren't familiar with "the dress" or the 'laurel and yanni' thing, check them out. That being said, I am referring to sexual/orgasmic type pleasure. The intensity varies from a pleasant buzz similar to how I feel after a couple beers to orgasmic waves approaching those achieved in the traditional way. Since my focus is to return to the meditation or pranayama I don't encourage the sensations to escalate, but they can be distracting and shape desire for more. In the link above the BlueRaincoat shared, another forum member described similar struggles and Yogani had a helpful response. I hope that answers your question. Do you just ask out of curiosity or have you had similar issues?

Edited by - interpaul on May 30 2020 4:32:14 PM
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Cato

Germany
96 Posts

Posted - May 30 2020 :  4:41:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Interpaul, just a thought - might you still be dealing with initial ecstatic awakening symptoms? For some, these last only some days. For some, these last months and months.
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 30 2020 :  9:27:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Cato, I am not knowledgable enough about these practices to answer that question. My sense is I am experiencing ecstatic conductivity and have not yet found a way to acclimate to the new level. In some ways things are better. I remember the first time I started doing SBP and made the connection between the root and the third eye I got scared by how energetic that was. There were a couple months when I had trouble sleeping as the energy was too intense. Early on I ran into some overload from too much energy and had a couple panic attacks. With the groups help, especially Dogboy, I did more grounding and dialed back my practices. Yogani very clearly describes my ecstatic symptoms as a normal part of the practice. My understanding is this 24/7 ecstatic energy fuels the spiritual progress. Since I am aware of how attached I am to pleasurable experiences I have to be very mindful of these practices so as to not overdo it.
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SparklingDiamond

Australia
190 Posts

Posted - May 31 2020 :  08:52:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Interpaul,
I read your responses

It sounds a lot like Kundalini energy?
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interpaul

USA
154 Posts

Posted - May 31 2020 :  5:30:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
SparklingDiamond, I think the terminology we use can be helpful and not. In this case whether we call it kundalini energy, ecstatic awakening symptoms or ecstatic conductivity my reason for posting relates to wanting to be mindful of the potential of too strong an attachment to the pleasure distracting me from progress. As Dogboy often says:"Pleasure from practice keeps you on schedule and on the cushion." I don't think the Witness is fully formed in me and that keeps me a bit worried about being swept away by the ecstatic part. Fortunately my bahkti is strong and I "favor the practices" as Yogani suggests, and hope with time things will work out.
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