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166 Posts

Posted - Jun 04 2022 :  1:48:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi everybody,

there are many ways and possibilities on the spiritual path. My first system of practice was and still is AYP. Sometimes I come across other systems, books, practices, thinking "It might be worth a try. Perhaps there is a reason it comes into my life at this point." Those thoughts might partly be due to my over-sensitivity. I went back to 15 minutes breathing meditation and found it to be reasonably stable. However, results in daily activity aren't very evident. It might be an option for me as over-sensitive practitioner to have a look at practices with focus on the gentler regime, e.g. Theravada tradition, Jack Kornfield and others.

I remember the advice in the lessons to stick to spiritual practices, not to change them too often (or at all). On the other side, there is a number of threads in the forum where people found good results after changing practices or trying another system.

Have you also been thinking about trying (or tried) alternative approaches now and then? Do you see major advantages or drawbacks?


376 Posts

Posted - Jun 04 2022 :  7:22:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Cato, I had tried a variety of other systems prior to AYP and have found AYP the most effective for me. After 3 years of doing these practices, advancing and self pacing along the way, I continue to find the experience expanding. The promise of 24/7 ecstatic bliss may create a false focus on a utopic future. I do struggle with various life circumstances but find I am growing more resilient. I think this is a little like exercise. Consistent effort yields results. There are certainly a lot of people at the gym who appear more fit than myself and I always wonder if I need to do a different exercise or number of reps but I know if I consistently show up and have a variety of vetted exercises over time I will grow stronger and healthier.
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United Kingdom
4050 Posts

Posted - Jun 04 2022 :  7:29:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

That is great to hear that you have found stability using breathing meditation. Breathing meditation is probably the most gentle spiritual practice that there is. It is hard to imagine one that is more gentle. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition they also use breathing meditation. Jack Kornfield teaches a number of practices including "taking the one seat" which is the equivalent to the AYP Passive Awareness Technique. He also teaches Metta Bhavana which is a more powerful inquiry practice into the nature of loving-kindness.

This is a short article I wrote a while back on using breathing meditation as part of the AYP practice:

Breathing Meditation and Self-Pacing

So, all of these practices form a part of AYP. Of course, there are other practices, which do not form part of the AYP system. My own advice is to experiment if you feel the need to experiment. Everyone's path is different. But if you decide to switch to a different system, then switch to that. Don't try combining two systems until you are much further down the road and have been stable for a long time.

In my own case, I started out practicing Mahayana Buddhism, then switched to Theravada Buddhist practice after a few years, then switched to Guru yoga and finally ended up with AYP. This was a short written interview I gave once, talking about this process of changing practices.

Kundalini awakening and inner stillness

I hope that is helpful.

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1937 Posts

Posted - Jun 05 2022 :  6:50:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello again Cato

I am from the camp of sticking where I started meditation, AYP, mainly for these reasons:

*The practices produced results (energetic body, quiet mind through witness)
*The daily discipline is not time consuming.
*As one becomes spiritually stable, the core practices (SBP, DM, Samyama) are a scaffold for individual yoga practice choices.
*The power of “gently favoring”.

There is enough meat on the AYP bones to keep me around a while. As is evident, choices and consequences are individual experiences.
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166 Posts

Posted - Jun 10 2022 :  9:52:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply

I thank you for the insights. Apparently, all of you are having good results with AYP. Results or hints that you are on the right track is what keeps one sticking to practices. One of the keys is upcoming inner silence, which is a thing I am still not certain about. Often I feel relaxed and more calm after (breathing) meditation, but I don't know if I would call it inner silence. It also vanishes quickly after diving into the day's activities.

To be fair, I guess I could say that since I had a longer period of overload with AYP, the practices do work and are efficient. A little too efficient for me at that point.

Christi, I didn't realize meditation practices like loving kindness meditation are part of AYP. If I remember correctly I didn't read about it in the lessons, can these be found somewhere else in a bundled manner? It rises several questions. Are mindfulness practices considered AYP as well, or vipassana, allowing attention to be with sensations, essentially using whatever is coming up in awareness as object? Or asked differently, can those gentler forms of practice be regarded as part of AYP since they don't interfere or double up with other practices?

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United Kingdom
4050 Posts

Posted - Jun 11 2022 :  2:13:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

Inner silence often comes gradually over a long period of time and gradually deepens through "layers of silence". These are also called stages of samadhi. In the beginning it can be simply a greater sense of peace and stillness. Or more calm in daily life. Then it can gradually deepen to a sense that everything is happening within stillness and silence, even though thoughts, emotions and sense objects are still present. Things arise and pass away without any aversion or attraction or process of identification. This is the rise of the witness. And then there are deeper stages than that, where sense objects, thoughts, etc. begin to subside and fade away, and only the Self remains.

But getting initial glimpses of this process happening is a very good sign, as it is often only a short step from the initial glimpses occurring, to the next stages of spiritual evolution and the rise of the witness.

In terms of practices such as loving kindness, AYP has a whole range of practices that fall under the label of "self-inquiry", or "Jnana yoga". These are things that can be done off the mat, during the day, once some degree of inner silence is developed. There are many different forms of self-inquiry practice including inquiry into the nature of phenomena, inquiry into the nature of love, inquiry into the our relationships with others and so on. These are forms of indirect self-inquiry, meaning they take things that are considered to be "not-self" as the object of the inquiry. Then there are other forms of self-inquiry that are more direct, looking at the true nature of Self, such as asking the question "who am I?". There are also forms of self-inquiry practice which revolve around what is called jnana affirming. These are things such as "I am That, "I am truth", "I am love", "I am pure awareness" and so on. Yogani talks about these different forms of self-inquiry in this lesson.

Yogani stated that he did not want to give prescribed methods of self-inquiry practice to people, but rather to let them find their own way with self-inquiry practice. This is because everyone is very unique when it comes to self-inquiry, and what works for one person may not work well for another. He talks about that at the end of this lesson:

Lesson 326 - Styles of Self-Inquiry and Bridging the Gap

"Meanwhile, how we build on our beginning in self-inquiry is up to us. We will no doubt be drawn to study and, in time, find our own path of self-inquiry that is compatible with our inclinations and lifestyle. No one can tell us exactly what that will be, and we will be wise to avoid mimicking the pronouncements of others. In self-inquiry it does not work. That is why you will not find many pronouncements here about how you must view the world. We will find out for ourselves through direct experience. Our seeking is a form of self-inquiry also, the journey of our unfoldment. If we persist in that, we will bridge the gap and come to experience the truth in everything we do, which is the radiant eternal joy of living in the present." [Yogani]

So, yes, mindfulness practices (being aware of everything simply as it is) can form part of AYP practice once some degree of inner silence is established in the mind. If by "vipassana" you mean simply allowing the attention to be with sensations, then that is also an AYP practice called "the passive awareness technique", which is described here:

Addition 367.4 - Passive Awareness Technique for Very Sensitive Meditators

However, if you are referring to the Burmese meditation practice of slow body sweeping, also sometimes called "Vipassana", then that is not a self-inquiry practice. It is an energetic practice and is not part of the AYP system.

I would strongly recommend that you read the Self-inquiry book by Yogani if you have not yet done so. It can be found here for kindle, paperback and hardback, and here on AYP Plus. It will give you a good idea about how you can expand your AYP practice in many ways.

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166 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2022 :  4:57:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Christi. I didn't expect those questions of mine to be related to the field of self-inquiry. I read "Self-Inquiry" a while ago. I kept in mind that self-inquiry is a part that comes at a relatively late point down the road, as some form of witnessing is required (to be relational).

I refered to vipassana to allow attention to be with sensations. I didn't know about the Burmese meditation practice of slow body sweeping, but thanks for clarifying.

In the forum I found a recommendation of yours to read "A path with heart" by Kornfield as one of the best book about breathing meditation. I'm reading it now and found that "taking the one seat" is not only about the Passive Awareness Technique but also about sticking to the practices one does for the long run. In spite of all doubts, thoughts and ups and downs. It kind of matches the topic :). There are still some pages to read, but up to now the practices described fit in AYP quite well.

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United Kingdom
4050 Posts

Posted - Jun 13 2022 :  5:08:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

Yes, it is true that some degree of witnessing is required in order to use self-inquiry practices effectively. So, this would be true for practices such as using the statement "I am love" (jnana affirming), or more expansive variations on that, such as loving kindness practices. It is also true for things like "taking the one seat" and the "passive awareness technique" and mindfulness practices. This is not always made clear to people in other traditions, when they start out on the path.

But witnessing is not a late point down the road. It comes more in the middle of the road. There are many stages on the path after witnessing arises, such as discrimination (viveka), renunciation of attachments (vairagya), unity (yoga) and Divine love.

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