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 Building a Daily Practice with Self-Pacing
 Self-pacing lessons with ecstasy and the crown
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1608 Posts

Posted - Sep 13 2007 :  10:05:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I have just "returned" from a relatively lengthy period of over-doing symptoms and some heavy duty self-pacing.

About 3 to 4 weeks ago I found myself suddenly feeling quite out of sorts, seemingly out of nowhere and I couldn't figure out why as there hadn't been any significant changes in my practice routine.

The symptoms manifested as the sensation of not recognizing my own mind in terms of its thought patterns and reactions. I found myself over-reacting mentally to things, feeling jittery, more emotional than usual, more negative, very out of balance in general.

It's funny, at the time I speculated that it was "almost like maybe having over done crown practices", though I couldn't, consciously at least, figure out how that could be as I don't do any practices during sitting sessions that go near it.

I self-paced, drastically cutting back practices and time sitting and did have brief periods of feeling better but still not "my self". By last weekend most of the "mental" symptoms had cleared up but I went 3 full days feeling horrible in my heart-center, like a loved-one had passed on or something. This was more or less the tail end of things as the reason for my challenges started to become apparent.

It seems my initial assessment may have been correct, I had been over-doing the crown but in a way that got past my "inner radar". Any time I had ecstatic waves outside of practices or during any form of tantra, I instinctively would bring my attention to where it felt good which was usually some energy center in the body and the crown at the same time. For example, root and crown simultaneously. So I would spend lots of time with my attention firmly rooted on the crown over many months not thinking anything of it.

This apparently added much purification to what I was already doing and may explain, (time will tell), why the comfortable length of my practice routine has been slowly diminishing over the last year. Needless to say, I am carefully avoiding any attention on the crown at any time and over the last few days am feeling myself again.

It wouldn't be responsible for me not to mention that there are other possibilities that could have contributed to finding myself over the way I was. The fact that I attended a couple of intense retreats over the last few months could have contributed though I had no negative consequences apparent at the time, sometimes these things can take a while to kick in. It is also important to note that in general I am quite aggressive with my practice routine and seem to easily forget the consequences of going over. Having said all that though, I’ve always recovered pretty quickly from “going over” and the fact that I was concurrently exasperating my problem as I was self-pacing makes me feel in the gut that crown attention during ecstatic moments outside of practices was the crux of the issue for me.

As Yogani points out in his writings, consequences from over doing the crown can take a long time to manifest and a long time to re-balance so it is important to be careful.

In any event, I wanted to share in order to help others avoid similar pitfalls.

All the best,



193 Posts

Posted - Sep 14 2007 :  07:52:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing Andrew. I am glad that you are feeling better.
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5192 Posts

Posted - Sep 14 2007 :  10:26:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Andrew:

Glad to hear you are feeling better. Make sure to give yourself some "headroom" going forward, meaning, room to go over a bit without going over so much that it will require a long recovery. Of course, sometimes it is hard to tell. But going to the crown for extended periods poses obvious risks under any circumstances.

A good and generally safe place to go during ecstatic reverie is sambhavi - to the brow. Once ecstatic conductivity is resident, it is also a good place to stimulate it in the whole body. This is the "mainstream" approach on the energetic side of yoga. Isn't it interesting that there is no mainstream mudra identified for the crown? ... though the crown is obviously involved in any ecstatic event. This is also true for what we call the "whole body mudra" in AYP, which is not crown focused, but involves the crown.

With long term practice, sambhavi tends to expand upward toward the crown, where both ajna and crown are involved, a kind of merging. But this is not something we can advise to do arbitrarily. If we do, we face the same risks of going directly to the crown. However, when it evolves naturally, there is generally little or no crown backlash. In short, sambhavi, besides being the master controller of ecstatic reverie in the nervous system, is also a means for naturally approaching the crown.

Of course, we can overdo with sambhavi also (headache is the most common symptom), but generally the recovery is much quicker than overdoing at the crown. In both cases, grounding methods and self-pacing in practices are utilized.

As we know, quite a few people who come to us with energy overloads have been involved in crown practices and/or premature crown openings. So it is a real issue. But not one to demonize and run away from. There is a time and place for everything in yoga, and that is certainly true of crown openings too. That is why the lessons do approach the crown later on, with caution. The crown is also incorporated into cosmic samyama (yoga nidra procedure), stimulating the flow of awareness both within and outside the body. I'm not aware of anyone having overload issues with cosmic samyama. It generally has a balancing effect on the energies, while expanding and stabilizing inner silence.

There are those who claim easy crown opening with certain types of practices, particularly spinal breathing to or from the crown -- not an AYP method. I am not sure if this is true over the long term, since we have seen a significant number of energy overload refugees from such approaches. Any clarifications that can be offered on these approaches will be welcome. If we are missing something, it would be good to pin point the dynamics involved. We are not resting on our laurels here, and are always looking for ways to further optimize cause and effect in our practices. The more everyone knows about the journey and its means, the better. Much better we face the issues as they arise and resolve them.

Our goal is to make the full path easily accessible for everyone, leading to the flowering of acts of kindness and loving service, spreading naturally across humanity like an invisible wave. Stillness in action. This will be the outcome of effective spiritual practices occurring in every household.

The message is simple: Enlightenment is for ordinary people living ordinary lives. We are getting our arms around the technology that can enable it to happen surely and safely on a wide scale. This is what will change the world. Not gurus sitting on pedestals.

The guru is in you.
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1608 Posts

Posted - Sep 15 2007 :  3:44:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by lucidinterval1

Thanks for sharing Anthem11. I am glad that you are feeling better.

Thanks for your post Paul, I do feel better but not quite 100%, so self-pacing will continue until things come fully back into balance, for a sustained period of time.
Originally posted by Yogani
A good and generally safe place to go during ecstatic reverie is sambhavi - to the brow.

Thank you for your feedback Yogani. I think it is an important point and is great advice to go to sambhavi when ecstasy presents itself as there seems to be a need (for me at least) to go somewhere internally when it does. I am aware I have created a habit of enjoying the ecstasy wherever it might occur but will be sure from now on, to create a new habit of going to sambhavi instead.

Thanks again for helping me get to the bottom of things,

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1608 Posts

Posted - Sep 18 2007 :  9:36:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
So just to follow up, inner silence has been present with some intensity the last few days so I am feeling re-connected. I had been "away" for so long I had forgotten the peace and love that shines forth when we are home with our Selves. It's funny, not that inner-silence can go anywhere, but it can be obscured at times by our attention being pulled elsewhere. The desire to stay with the inner-silence is stronger than ever with the recognition that to leave means to suffer.

I had an interesting experience 2 days ago, when I woke up in the middle of the night. For whatever reason, a series of realizations came to me, the first of which was just what I mention above, that as we believe a thought and fear that it might be true, we pull ourselves away from our natural states of peace and love. It was amazing to notice that as I stayed with the inner-silence how the peace and love mixed with a gentle ecstasy to flow intensely as our natural state. I started to see how in some ways no thoughts are true and the resulting desire to no longer suffer by believing thoughts and fearing for no reason.

It's so strange these human minds we all inhabit, fearing and believing every thought that comes our way. Now I understand why Miguel Ruiz says believe nothing! Too funny.


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2072 Posts

Posted - Sep 19 2007 :  5:01:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful realization, Anthem! I needed to read that. Thank you!
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1608 Posts

Posted - Sep 19 2007 :  9:20:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
My pleasure EMC, a little synchronicity perhaps? Since at least one other finds it interesting I'll share a few more, it helps me understand better by sharing. For some unknown reason, there are lot's of realizations coming at night right now not sure why, maybe I'm attending spiritual school in my sleep or something. Of course, it's all been said before so these are just my perspectives and words describing the same things.

It's interesting I had a momentary glimpse into the entirety of my conditioning and it was way more elaborate than I could possibly have imagined. It was everything actually. It doesn't just end with the usual thoughts that we as humans "buy" into daily like, "maybe she wasn’t friendly because I offended her somehow" or "I'll never succeed today because I didn't yesterday" etc. It goes way beyond to our ideas of what is good and what is bad or what it means to be a good human being or a bad human being etc.

To spirit (inner silence), good and bad are only thoughts and ideas and what is good today isn't necessarily so tomorrow. Spirit is pure and unconditioned and knows pure peace and love in its unconditioned state. It became apparent that one reason it is so important to observe and practice “right” living is because when we behave in a way that feels right, we do not attach ourselves to thoughts the way we do when we do something that deep down runs against what we know to be right. We can kid ourselves all we want but on the deepest level there is only truth and we will attach to the thoughts, behaviours and corresponding emotions stemming from fear, doomed to suffer again and again until we get it right. By "right" living all the time, we will feel better and better as we attach to fewer and fewer thoughts and spend more and more time in inner-silence. By destructive behaviour we feel worse and worse in our average emotional state as we attach to more and more thoughts spending less and less time in inner-silence.

We punish ourselves and try to punish others when we believe thoughts that we don’t like. Ironically, it all stems from confused self-love. We are self-love by default, someone says something about us that is in opposition to this inner harmony and if we believe it, it captures our attention. For example, someone says “you are inadequate” and we believe it, we take this thought into our existence and live the reality which makes us suffer. Sometimes our fear that it is true makes us punish ourselves and other times we lash out at the person who said it. It’s all in vain of course and all we need to realize is that none of it is true, we are nothing at all and once we realize this we return to our natural state of peaceful bliss.

Of course, easier said than done!

Edited by - Anthem on Sep 19 2007 9:25:20 PM
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1608 Posts

Posted - Oct 02 2007 :  09:24:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I am going to continue to report this process as others may find themselves in a similar situation at some point. We will see where it leads.

Night time continues to be a period of meditation for me that I can't turn off or turn down. At some random point during the evening, inner-silence becomes intensified, sometimes before my second sitting session. When I lay down for sleep and as the body relaxes I fall into nothingness and so many realizations come. Ecstasy flows more strongly too with waves of love, I find it tough to sleep well when this happens. Any thoughts that come up are immediately seen as just thoughts and dissipate into the nothingness. I realize that waking up from the dream is as simple (note I didn't say easy) as not believing the mind and being with what truly Is.

Last night I was momentarily startled as it felt like I vanished completely into the void. I immediately started to worry about issues of self-pacing as there was a rise in ecstasy/ bliss, but those worries were recognized as just more thoughts and fell away quickly. It is like the reverse of self-pacing, the reasons to suffer fall away, all that is left is a mild burn in the upper forehead and up from there to the crown.

I continue to self-pace with 1 to 2 minutes of pranayama and 7-8 minutes of meditation. I am giving samayama an extended break.

Overall, I feel good, though I would like to sleep better. I do recognize that this is just another belief I have that I need to sleep better, it really isn't founded on any hard evidence, more on fear of feeling crappy. Deep down there is a sense of inner joy that finds most of these experiences, particularly the ones I complain about, amusing.

I'll just watch myself breathe the next breath and go from there...
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United Kingdom
4156 Posts

Posted - Oct 03 2007 :  07:19:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Anthem,

thanks for sharing. i think you are right.... if you really do feel crappy the next day, then that could be a good reason to self pace, but just the fear that you might feel crappy, isn't any reason at all. That's like eating a meal when you're not hungry, because you are afraid you may feel hungry later.
Likewise, a slight burn in the forehead, going up to the crown is manageable. If it turns into a severe and painful burn then that could be a good reason to cut back.
Your nights sound very much like mine, except that I wake up in the morning actually feeling crappy. But it only lasts 20 mins, and then I'm back on track. I don't worry about it. I don't get the slight burn thing though.

It'll be interesting to see where it goes from here.
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