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 Bhakti and Karma Yoga
 Confused on How to Actively Cultivate My Ishta
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elderberry

USA
37 Posts

Posted - May 27 2024 :  6:11:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I am re-reading Lesson 67 - Bhakti, The Science of Devotion.

I feel that I understand the concept of bhakti as explained in Lesson 12. It seems simple enough. Bhakti is the burning desire inside of me for divine union. The same burning desire which leads me even to make this forum post.

However, bhakti yoga as it relates to selecting and cultivating an ishta throughout your day, is a bit confusing to me.

In lesson 67, yogani gives the example of being frustrated at the red light. If we are frustrated at the red light, and we attempt to use this as an opportunity to cultivate our ishta. I've heard this process described in basically two ways, which appear to be rather different:

Option 1: Attempt to release our red light frustration into the arms of inner silence, bringing our attention back to our ishta. The mental process if we tried to translate it into words would be something along the lines of "the red light is not too important, what is important is my desire for divine union. Focus on that instead. Bring your attention back to inner silence."

Option 2: Attempt to "transform" our frustration for the red light into frustration that we have not yet merged with the divine (our whatever your specific ishta may be). In other words, take that same emotion we are feeling, and rather than releasing it, in a sense we redirect that emotion towards our ishta. This can be done with any emotion. For example, instead of feeling lonely because you do not have a romantic partner, you redirect it such that you consider yourself lonely for not having yet merged with the divine.

Option 1 seems simple enough. At its core, this seems somewhat similar to self-inquiry practice as described in AYP. Option 1 seems fairly similar to the practice of Jnana-Releasing as described in lesson 350.

Option 2 is a bit more confusing to me, and it feels a bit harder to apply. How can it be that my frustration for the red light is the same frustration for not having yet merged with the divine? While I may indeed be frustrated that I have not merged with the divine, and I may indeed be frustrated with the red light, it seems so difficult to "transform" one type of frustration into the other. I can see it is the same emotion. However they feel to be arising from such different sources.

At the moment, I am attempting to integrate tantra and brahmacharya into my yogic practice. I've decided to do so by taking a break from dating altogether for a period of time. As a result, I can feel an incredible amount of emotion (and sexual energy) bubbling up inside me. I have this feeling that I am able to redirect this intense desire for a partner into a desire for god. The feeling to unite with a partner, I have observed, is incredibly similar to my desire to unite with my divine self. But I am unsure on the proper way to sublimate one into the other. I feel rather clunky in doing so, as Yogani might put it.

When cultivating one's ishta throughout one's day, which understanding is more correct? Option 1, or option 2? Or both, to some degree?

If my understanding of option 2 is relatively correct, any tips on how to transform one's emotions into the same emotions directed at one's ishta? This is a difficult concept to wrap my head around.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by - elderberry on May 27 2024 6:14:25 PM

alain

Canada
23 Posts

Posted - May 30 2024 :  10:40:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi elderberry

Bhakti and self inquiry have a lot in common that's for sure. They are both very good practices but they lack the deliberate gradual progression of the sitting practices. So it makes them touch and go as far as getting it right, I guess some people can figure them a lot easier than other.
As far as I'm concerned I haven't tried those two until a lot later in my spiritual progression. The AYP practices work in two specific ways, simply stated there is before Unity and there is after Unity. Before Unity the practices are just that, practices, they give you a bit of inner silence, a bit of exctasy and a lot of purification of the nervous system, and at the beginning that is all that you need and unfortunatly all that you get, on top of that if you are too agressive they can necessitate some self pacing. Their main purpose is to get you to Unity, and you will get Unity unconditionally if you practice consistently and assiduously.
After Unity is kind of white lie, Unity is not instant for most people, but is more gradual in the way it arrives. Once you have it you will know it, because all of your practices, sitting, Bhakti and self inquiry will become the same, by that I mean that all practices will have ther same result, and the result is more Unity. I know it sounds weird but it's the way it is, its unfathomable like the ying yang or the infinity symbol.
The most important thing is to perfect your sitting practices and be patient. I started AYP in 2007 and I progresses very slowly until I was told to be more agressive with my pranayama and that's when I started feeling the merging of inner silence and conductivity, that was about 4 years ago. Now all my practices are a lot easier to do and I can do bhakti and self inquiry if I pay attention to my emotions. That's the way it is for me, perhaps one day all of this will be automatic and I'll be able to live it constantly without having to work at it, but until then its 10 20 10 twice a day every day.

I hope it helped you in some way

cheers

alain
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Christi

United Kingdom
4430 Posts

Posted - May 31 2024 :  12:07:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
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Dogboy

USA
2242 Posts

Posted - May 31 2024 :  01:37:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Elderberry, are you me? I, too, early on, wished an ishta, based on the AYP lessons. I settled on Lord Ganesha because on my childhood companion:

https://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic...hTerms=Ishta

At some point it switched to Lord Shiva, and the other end of the shushumna, why?, I do not know, probably while I was writhing in DM, it just did. I searched for images of him and settled on a few I can refer to in my third eye and then layer it on my heart when I am called to do so. Devotion has become easy access, and it registers profoundly in the heart area. Why would you not want to feel this way every day?

As far as the red light, my guess is when you are in the situation when you are frustrated, and can see AND feel your frustration, it probably wouldn't hurt to overlay your ishta on the whole thing, and see if frustration dissolve away.
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