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 Jnana Yoga/Self-Inquiry - Advaita (Non-Duality)
 Self-Inquiry -- A Practice Between our Meditations
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 24 2006 :  8:19:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi All:

Every now and then, I get asked what practice we can do all day long between our meditations. As you know, what I always say is , "Go out and be active." That really will do it, because as our inner silence rises and we integrate it into our daily life through normal activity, we will become more aware of the relationship between our self and our inner and outer environments. Add to that the cultivation of ecstatic conductivity via spinal breathing and other means, and our inner silence will be come active, riding on our ecstatic radiance flowing everywhere in and around us.

Well, I think it is time to expand on this discussion a bit, and look into the primary practice of Jnana Yoga -- Self-Inquiry. Jnana yoga is the yoga of the intellect. It involves the ways that we can think throughout the day that can be used to promote our spiritual growth, happiness and enlightenment.

Below is an email Q&A on this that sums up where I hope to go with self-inquiry in relation to AYP. All thoughts and inputs on this are welcome!
----------------------------

Q: I read the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, and I am trying to incorporate that into my life. Have you ever thought about writing something on what we could do during the times in-between the meditations, when we add all the mud that we are trying to clean off during meditation? I mean, this book on "Power of Now" is good, but like so many other books -- very vague -- not how you give instructions on how to do something. It says, "Observe your mind, don't identify with it." How?

A: I have been through Tolle also. He strikes me as being one of those mountain climbers who woke up on top of the mountain not knowing exactly how he got there and is now trying to tell everyone how to get there too. But he doesn't know, really. He is very sincere, and trying very hard. I give him a lot of credit for that. But he knows little about yoga practices, so he is working from a disadvantage. The fact that he has become extremely popular is a testament to how much people would like to have what he has -- inner silence, living in the now. Good stuff.

What to do between the meditations? Live life as fully as you can, and pay attention! If you are looking for a way to keep the mud off during the day, I suggest reading "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie. It is the best book on self-inquiry I have seen -- Tolle even endorses it. It is not easy to read and absorb -- but worth the effort. The bottom line is that we make all our own mud, and all we have to do is develop good habits of noticing how we do that. Then the mud machine grinds to a halt. Of course "noticing" is a function of our awareness, our inner silence. It always gets back to that.

Another one is "The Four Agreements" by Ruiz, which is a Shaman book. Very good and to the point advice on how to live daily life. It is a form of self-inquiry also -- always asking ourselves if we are doing thus-and-so that leads us to greater peace and happiness. His four guidelines are excellent. See here: http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....TOPIC_ID=466

Self-inquiry is really the best practice to do during the day. Ramana Maharishi is the most famous promoter of it, and it is what Tolle is trying to get across. I think Katie actually does a better job, with practical instructions, though a bit messy.

Next year I will take a crack at simplifying self-inquiry in an AYP Enlightenment Series book -- one of those little skinny ones, you know. If I can do in 100 pages what Katie did in 250 pages, making it much simpler and easier to apply, then that will be a useful addition to the literature, and will help round out AYP as well. It won't be easy, because self-inquiry does not lend itself to a simple practical application. At least not until now.

In truth, self-inquiry relies on the presence of inner silence (the witness) to work at all. Both Tolle and Katie have it, but many of their students do not, so the results are mixed. That is why I have not tackled self-inquiry so far. Solid grounding in deep meditation and samyama should come first. With inner silence coming up, a lot more is possible. Everything is possible! The AYP approach will be from that angle -- meditate and do samyama, and then do self-inquiry during the day. Then maybe the whole operation can be made more reliable. Before a systematic cultivation of inner silence is brought in, structured self-inquiry is pretty much hit or miss. That's not what we want in AYP. We want to hit the target every time.

Going out and living fully while paying attention is self-inquiry too -- if inner silence is coming up from sitting practices, we naturally see more and inquire more about the relationship of our self with our environment. It is all about becoming stillness in action. There is enough in AYP now to get it done. But I will keep adding more. I hope eventually to make AYP absolutely airtight, so no one will be able to ignore the practicality of it. Give me a few more years at this keyboard.

The guru is in you.

weaver

832 Posts

Posted - Mar 24 2006 :  9:39:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Yogani,

Thank you for posting this subject. You state that "Self-Inquiry... Jnana yoga is the yoga of the intellect." Then that "self-inquiry relies on the presence of inner silence (the witness) to work at all." So I assume then that this self-inquiry is supposed to take place by pure awareness rather than by regular reasoning or logical thinking. Most of the time in everyday use I think that the term intellect is associated with logical thinking. So maybe we could say that Jnana yoga is the yoga of awareness (of the processes in our mind)?
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 24 2006 :  11:55:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Shanti and Weaver:

Oh, jnana and self-inquiry are a can of worms until inner silence is brought in. Then, eventually (all by itself), it turns into a cake walk, because the witness puts us beyond our thinking process, and we can really see it for what it is -- a bunch of knee-jerk reactions coming out of the subconscious. From the position of the untouched observer, new and healthier habits of thinking are much easier to cultivate. The mind becomes like dust that vanishes in the breeze of our awareness, instead of like a brick wall that seems impenetrable. Such is the power of deep meditation and growing inner silence.

Self-inquiry is getting inside the thinking process with certain kinds of questions, exposing it piece by piece to unbiased observation, during which the machinery of self-made illusion can be gradually dissolved. It is the kind of thing we can do all day long if we want.

Some of the most basic general questions are "Who am I?" (Ramana Maharishi's favorite), "Why am I here?" "Is there something more?" "What is real?" (neti, neti -- not this, not this), etc. Personally, I never found these very helpful in dealing with the specifics of daily life, but very helpful for inspiration to meditate, which is not a small thing at all.

Katie's work in "Loving What Is" is impressive, because she boils it down to a sequence of a few practical questions that can be applied to any situation in daily life, including very difficult challenging ones. No matter what the problem is, it always comes back to identifying a contracted thought process in the observer that is revealed for what it is, and then it dissolves. So it is intellectual, in that the inquiry is via the mind. But the inner observer of the revealed dysfunction ("story") is ultimately what dissolves the contraction, kind of the way we do when there is a big disruptive knot in deep meditation that we rest on with our awareness and watch dissolve. That sort of benign observation is a big part of self-inquiry. So, yes, jnana is mainly about the processes of the mind rather than intellectual analysis. That is absolutely correct. As soon as we turn it over to western-style intellectual analysis, the whole thing is lost in building huge castles in the air. That is not jnana, though many think it is.

Just to make it interesting, there is desire involved in the self-inquiry process also. This is a bhakti component. It is touched on in the lessons, here: http://www.aypsite.org/185.html If we long deeply for answers to our inquiries, this does facilitate the process -- there is the element of surrender involved in self-inquiry. That is a quality of the witness also.

I avoided diving headlong into self-inquiry when writing the original AYP lessons for the reasons mentioned in the Q&A above. It is a really complex subject, and very dependent on the presence of the witness. But maybe over the next year it can be gradually developed into something simple and practical that can be useful to anyone who is meditating and having some inner silence coming up. I would certainly like to do that. It is much needed. In the meantime, there are the other resources, and whatever else we can cook up here. And, of course, the natural self-inquiry we gain with the rise of inner silence. That is why I say, "Between your meditations go out and live life fully, and pay attention!"

If anyone knows of additional approaches to self-inquiry, please do share them. I view this as a long term boiling-down process on this end -- an ongoing inquiry!

The guru is in you.
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Sparkle

Ireland
1457 Posts

Posted - Mar 25 2006 :  05:14:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sparkle's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Yogani
I am delighted you are developing this as an addition to the AYP practices, it will give the oportunity to use all our waking lives in the practice of AYP.

Something I wondered about is what, if any, part the emotions would play in this. Would you be linking the mind and emotions in the self enquiry and/or would you be including a vispassna type approach in this?
Louis
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 25 2006 :  08:02:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sparkle:

We are treading into fuzzy territories of yoga here. Jnana, bhakti and karma yogas have so much overlap, and in some ways could be considered as one. That is why this particular forum was originally set up to cover all three. I knew we'd get to it sooner or later. All three of these can be used "between the meditations."

In practical application, what we are talking about is cultivating methods/attitudes of self-inquiry, devotion, and service to others. All of these are highly dependent on the presence of the witness. Without the witness, it is just more "gee whiz" mind and heart games. AYP is not about that, though it sure does sell well in the mainstream.

My limited understanding of vipassana is that it is a sitting practice. Is there a walking around version? If so, then maybe there is some further overlap there, because the success of all these methods depends on the presence of the witness. In AYP, we do that in deep meditation, and then stabilize it in activity. In Buddhism, they do "mindfulness," a different kind of practice. I don't think that is what I am suggesting for AYP -- we have the witness already from deep meditation. It is mindfulness. I think we are looking for elements of practice that are much easier to latch on to in daily life. Specific techniques, you know, like we have been doing so far. This may or may not work when addressed in daily living. It is one thing to sit and do a specific practice for 20-30 minutes. We know that works. But when we are at work or walking down the street, doing other things, it is a different matter.

One thing I am against is turning us into highly disciplined all day long "practice robots" like we see in some of the European systems of the past century. Not only does that not work, it is not much fun either. I strongly believe that whatever we do ought to be a joy in daily life. Meditating and then going out to live life fully certainly accomplishes that. Maybe in the end the conclusion will be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That is why this is only an inquiry, for now.

Meanwhile, in the AYP lessons there are discussions on all of these branches of yoga and their role as they relate to progress in cultivating inner silence, ecstatic conductivity, the joining of these two, and eventual endless outpouring of divine love. This evolution includes within it the natural development of all the elements of yoga we are looking at here -- self-inquiry, devotion and service.

The guru is in you.
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Anthem

1608 Posts

Posted - Mar 25 2006 :  9:50:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Yogani,

I have experienced something like telling someone "just lift your hand up and you'll make it" 50 different ways only to see it just not click with them. Then another person comes up and says just once, "put your hand up" and the lights suddenly go on and they look at me like why didn't you just say so?

In regards to Tolle, and I hope I am not building "huge castles in the air" here, but I found that both his books really brought me to greater understanding and awareness (as did your Deep Meditation book), just by reading. I never got the feeling that Tolle was out to teach big techniques but more to bring awareness to some of the multitude of ways the mind/ ego can manifest itself so subtly into our lives. By reading his work I felt more strongly established in the here and now then prior to it. For me it was a great service to add to my AYP practices. I see it as once the awareness is brought to some of these patterns of consciousness, it awakens, even if it is in just a small way at first and then it can flower over time. Maybe he doesn't work for everyone but I certainly felt it did for me.

Just some thoughts from the peanut gallery!
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Mar 25 2006 :  11:57:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by yogani
Some of the most basic general questions are "Who am I?" (Ramana Maharishi's favorite), "Why am I here?" "Is there something more?" "What is real?" (neti, neti -- not this, not this), etc.



Another tack is:

Who is seeing? Who is hearing? Who is smelling? Who is tasting? Who is feeling (i.e. touch sensation)?

This inquiry has a number of good things going for it, not least of which is that this is the true pratyahara (if done with senses receding...that is, don't chew on a cookie when inquiring about tasting...divorce the inquire from flavor and even from the mouth itself; instead, work inward from the sense organs). So it's more than just extra stuff to do during the day, it's an actual limb of yoga sadhana.

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Mar 26 2006 12:02:05 AM
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  12:05:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by yogani
[We are treading into fuzzy territories of yoga here. Jnana, bhakti and karma yogas have so much overlap, and in some ways could be considered as one.



I think that the distinction - re: which of the three is stressed more in a given individual - is made on grounds as arbitrary as "style".

Some people are more the jnana, bhakti, or karma yogic type. Or some people fall in with a crowd or a teacher more of one type than the other. And one eventually finds oneself approaching the universe through one lens more than the others. And it doesn't really matter, because all three routes produce more or less the same end result (but only in the VERY end. There are tons of crusty jnana yogis out there with closed hearts, and weepy bhakti yogis with ditzy understanding)

anyway, it can't hurt to ring all three chimes once in a while.

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Mar 26 2006 12:10:20 AM
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  01:18:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Anthem:

If it resonates in stillness, it will not be a castle in the air. That is the appeal that Tolle or any teacher has -- the extent to which their teachings resonate in stillness. In his case, it is a huge audience. So he must be doing something right. But for practice-oriented yogis and yoginis there is sometimes that feeling about unclear guidelines that Shanti described.

I agree with you that multiple approaches will bring the best results, and that we should go with what resonates for us always.

Times have changed a lot in that respect. It used to be that if you signed on with a tradition, you were literally banned from studying anything else. Of course the black market for eclectic spiritual knowledge thrived anyway. What is denied is sought all the more!

The guru is in you.

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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  01:28:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Jim:

I agree that each will find a different manifestion of the characteristics of yoga, particularly bhakti, jnana and karma, as these are intertwined with lifestyle. The question is how to offer simple guidelines that will both recognize this diversity of individual natures and offer clear pathways of practice at the same time.

I guess my job is to identify the clear pathways, and then individuals will pick and choose according to their nature. In fact, that has been going on in AYP from the beginning, hasn't it? It works for me.

The guru is in you
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Etherfish

USA
3615 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  02:12:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit Etherfish's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I've found what I thought was prayer is an effective method of self inquiry for me. Now I'm not sure if it's prayer or not, but it works.

I notice something about myself or my perception of reality that I don't understand. Then I ask a question about its meaning of God and let it go into the silence and forget about it, knowing I will get an answer. Then later I notice something happening that catches my attention for some reason, and I'm not sure why. Then I realize that occurence is the answer to my question I had earlier.
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satyan

34 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  10:53:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit satyan's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
hi yogani,

is not bhakthi itself enough for bringing inner silence and stillness? i have been doing AYP for a few months now, but i find bhakthi alone more comfortable. i do experince some degree of stillness in me. should i go into self-inquiry or continue the way i am doing now?
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Shanti

USA
4854 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  11:52:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Satyan,
quote:
i do experience some degree of stillness in me. should i go into self-inquiry or continue the way i am doing now?

I am so glad to hear you can feel some amount of stillness in your ever day life. Go ahead and do what you are doing.. don't stop your practice over self inquiry.. Please read what Yogani has said.. First comes the practice.. then once you get some inner silence only then will this make sense..
quote:
In truth, self-inquiry relies on the presence of inner silence (the witness) to work at all.Both Tolle and Katie have it, but many of their students do not, so the results are mixed. That is why I have not tackled self-inquiry so far. Solid grounding in deep meditation and samyama should come first. With inner silence coming up, a lot more is possible. Everything is possible! The AYP approach will be from that angle -- meditate and do samyama, and then do self-inquiry during the day. Then maybe the whole operation can be made more reliable. Before a systematic cultivation of inner silence is brought in, structured self-inquiry is pretty much hit or miss. That's not what we want in AYP. We want to hit the target every time.

Going out and living fully while paying attention is self-inquiry too -- if inner silence is coming up from sitting practices, we naturally see more and inquire more about the relationship of our self with our environment. It is all about becoming stillness in action. There is enough in AYP now to get it done. But I will keep adding more. I hope eventually to make AYP absolutely airtight, so no one will be able to ignore the practicality of it. Give me a few more years at this keyboard.

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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 26 2006 :  12:59:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Satyan:

Bhakti is always a stimulus to other actions in yoga, because all the limbs of yoga are connected within us. It is the ultimate stimulator of practices -- it is our desire for freedom manifesting. That is why it is covered first in the AYP lessons, and developed further along the way.

Which practices your bhakti will lead you to is a matter of your personal style. If you are inclined to worship, which is regarded by many as a bhakti-only path, then that is a style thing. On the other hand, don't be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night doing an asana, or advanced pranayama technique. Reading the life of Ramakrishna (the ultimate bhakti yogi) is very instructive on things like this.

In AYP, we try and create a template of reliable practices that will address the primary aspects of the process of human spiritual transformation, with deep meditation being the central practice after spiritual desire (bhakti) arises, because the cultivation of inner silence is the primary mover of enlightenment. At least that is my opinion. Can this be done with bhakti/devotion only? Sure, but the odds of it are less than when using a broad systematic approach utilizing our bhakti plus a full tool kit of time-tested methods.

As for the role of self-inquiry in all of this, I am sure it can be done with bhakti and self-inquiry only. I just don't have any examples to give you to support that opinion. In fact, traditionalists would argue that bhakti and jnana are incompatible. That is sectarian bickering, of course, because bhakti and jnana are two sides of the same coin, and we are that coin!

On silence, a fellow came to my email a month or so ago who felt like he had a lot of resident inner silence, and ecstatic energy moving besides. Indeed, he seemed to. His conclusion was that he did not need to do sitting practices at all. Instead, he was determined to stop eating, because he had read somewhere that enlightened sages can live on sunlight alone. He had lost a lot of weight and was betting on achieved his goal of living on sunlight before he expired. I did my best to talk him out of that and into taking a more centered course of sitting practices and going out and living life to the fullest to stabilize and expand on his inner silence and ecstatic conductivity.

The point is, just because we feel some inner silence, we do not have a blank check to ignore sitting practices and be a success in any other practice we choose, including self-inquiry. Better I think that we keep cultivating our inner silence to such a level that all the rest will happen automatically. I think it is the closest we can come to a guanrantee of success in yoga. Then if we want to play around with self-inquiry (or living on sunlight), any success we have with those things will be the icing on the cake. Of course, the prerequisite for anything we do in yoga is desire, and that is where bhakti comes in.

Note: One key word I have left out of the self-inquiry discussion so far, and I don't think anyone else has mentioned it yet either, is "discrimination." When we talk about jnana and self-inquiry, what we are really talking about is choosing particular inquiries and organic responses deep within us, as opposed to analyzing them in thought. So, as our inner silence provides an infinite screen of stillness, we then are in a position to choose according to resonance in stillness. External analysis is a choosing also, but not necessarily in the direction we want to go for maximum progress in yoga.

So, let's throw discrimination/choosing into the mix here and see what comes out. Gee, sounds like samyama. Well, we'll save the discussion on the relationship between samyama and self-inquiry for another time.

The guru is in you.
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sean

USA
20 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  12:55:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit sean's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yogani, so would you say jnana yoga is any practice that uses the intellect as a means to expose the limitations of the intellect and in a way that inspires a loosening of the identification with thoughts-as-me and an increased dropping into the ground of awareness as witness?

If so I got a few.

1) Sedona Method and Abundance Course were really really important methods of inquiry that got me started on really understanding the process of dropping into the witness. The methods are basically built around a set of simple questions. Anything that arises you ask "Could I let this go? Would I let this go? When?". One can do this all day long and get very profound results.

2) The 3-2-1 Shadow Process. Similar to Byron Katie's work. Here's a blurb about it:
First step -- the "3" or third person perspective: "Face it."
Look at a positive or negative disturbance in your field. For example: an irritation that you have had with another person, someone who rubs you the wrong way, or even a positive aspect that you see in others that you don't feel is an aspect of yourself. Write out your thoughts and feelings about this "it."

Second step -- the "2" or second person perspective: "Talk to it."
Write a dialogue with the person or situation that you wrote about in the first step. This is a script-like conversation between you and this other person or situation, meaning you will have to "role-play" that other person as you journalize this dialogue.

Third step -- the "1" or first person perspective: "Be it." In your imagination, become the person / or "it" that you wrote about in the first step. Write about the situation and your role in it from that person's perspective -- write about it as if you were that other person.

After you've given yourself a good amount of time for journaling each of these steps, read what you wrote and sit with it for a bit. Then ask yourself: "What is it that I'm projecting out onto others that I need to own for myself?"

3) The "Big Mind" process. http://www.bigmind.org/index.html
This process was developed by an advanced Zen meditator. It's kind of a spin on working with parts in a psychoanalytic context. In fact it reminds me of Internal Family Systems. The way that it works is that you ask to speak to different parts of yourself, the controller, the damaged child, the protector, the seeker ... you speak to the parts briefly, thank them for what they are doing, then you start calling upon parts that really quickly drop you into witness mode ... Ie: Can I speak to the non-seeking, non-grasping mind?

...

Hope this is of some help.

Sean

http://www.thetaobums.com/forum
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Katrine

Norway
1813 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  05:35:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit Katrine's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi all

I am very happy to see this thread being born in AYP. On my way here I run into Tolle, Katie and Ruiz some years back. They all struck my inner bell.

Tolle: The way he describes his meeting with truth is the best part of the book. You just know - in your heart - that he speaks the truth. So it is a good book to read for those who still doubt. He does give directions: He says to be present to your emotions. This is of course way too general for many people. It worked for me because I already had a certain amount of presence when I "met" him. (Don't ask me where I got it from......previous lives?....I don't know. Ever since I was a very small child I can remember reverting to this inner silence whenever I was mistreated or badly hurt. I actually remember "knowing" inside that the one hurting me could not "touch me" there). Tolle clarifies and amplifies the binding/blinding power of "the pain body". Most of all, he pulled me into Now (when I was busy looking everywhere else).

Katie: The best is the simplicity of the method. Four questions. Wow! It is great for cutting through all the BS of the personality/ego. Also - by letting your own name replace the name of the one you accuse of being the reason for your problems - it becomes strikingly obvious where the real source of misery lies. It showed me my whole life was a projection. Katie is a razor - there is no way you escape her cut. (I have never met her in person).
The book itself is bigger than it has to be. I think her point could have been made with less "stories".

Ruiz: I have read all his books and I like his messages a lot. The only problem I had with him was the fact that some of his guidelines actually made me supress my behaviour instead of exposing it. For instance: "Don't take anything personally etc". Well...this led to me supressing the tendency to feel hurt or rejected. It is too late to "not take anything personally" when it has already happened. So for me, it works better to note inside: "Oh....I take that personally. I am hurt now" - and instead of me nullifying this reaction (which I am incapable of anyway) - I watch it until it dies down by itself. I do not, however, act on it. This is a big difference. I allow the hurt/the rejection - but I do not act on it. This I learned from Tolle and A.H.Almaas. Of course, the ability to watch instead of act, also requires inner silence.

Without inner silence you get nowhere near here. Without inner silence, you might as well be doing nothing (meditation ). I strongly agree with Yogani on this. But - when your inner silence has reached a momentum - it would be silly not to use it in your daily life. Just as it would have been silly of me to say no to doing pranayama and samyama, when I found out about them. I am still in awe over how this safely speeds up the inner process.

Yogani wrote:
quote:
In fact, traditionalists would argue that bhakti and jnana are incompatible. That is sectarian bickering, of course, because bhakti and jnana are two sides of the same coin, and we are that coin!


These two - bhakti and jnana - are definitely compatible. I know so little about Yoga - but when I read about bhakti and jnana, it is perfectly clear to me that this is exactly the two main limbs of my spritual journey. Bhakti and jnana together is what propelled me into Now. Inner silence balanced the two.

quote:
When we talk about jnana and self-inquiry, what we are really talking about is choosing particular inquiries and organic responses deep within us, as opposed to analyzing them in thought.


Yes! Exactly! Self-inquiry is first and foremost seeing what is - not thinking about it. It is of course the presence that sees. The instant the seeing is there - the knots start dissolving. The seeing is the understanding.

May all your Nows be Here
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Shanti

USA
4854 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  08:12:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Katrine, I have to say, I find your writing very inspiring. You know how to hit the spot every time... Don't stop...
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Lili

Netherlands
372 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  10:24:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Maybe we should put a dedicated topic for each of the approaches people have tried. E.g. one topic for Tolle and the benefits people got/did not get from applying his teaching, one for Byron Katie, one for Ruiz, one for the Emotional Freedom Technique someone mentioned lately. Just an idea.
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  10:28:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sean and Katrine:

All I can say is, Wow! Wonderful perspectives. And you have both confirmed that it was the right thing not to tackle self-inquiry in the original AYP lessons.

The basics of cultivating inner silence and ecstatic conductivity are so much more fundamental. Once that is going on, then we can use them in self-inquiry and other real life oriented (between the meditations) yoga methods.

Yes, Sean, those are all self-inquiry methods, and Katrine has really refined the focus on what is involved. If we have some inner presence of witness, then these methods work. And if we do not, it is problematic.

Maybe self-inquiry is best thought of as being like a higher gear in a car, or an afterburner in a jet. Once we reach a certain velocity (with inner silence) then the higher gear or afterburner will add a lot. But before then, it will not work so well. Of course it never hurts to try, and we should, as long as we do not spend years in a technique that is not working for us because we have not cultivated sufficient inner silence first. Self-inquiry, when working, is a confirmation of our inner condition. If it is not working, that is a strong signal to get on that twice-daily deep meditation seat.

Now, how to simplify all this even more? As mentioned, I'd like to condense it into a 100 page book that anyone can use after getting settled into a stable deep meditation routine. I think we have taken a few steps in that direction already.

Thank you, Shanti, for inspiring this "between the meditations" topic. We've all got an oar in the water, and the boat is moving.

The guru is in you.
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Shanti

USA
4854 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  2:05:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yogani, thank you for your thank you... but really don't thank me.. the motive behind this inquiry was completely selfish I assure you...You are the only person I know who could write this book and make it simple and effective... now, you know I have a bias towards your research and writings...right?....
I am glad you made of post of it.. this way we can get other opinions.. other angles.. that helps too.
I will be waiting for the 100 page book to be out... ummmm... next year????
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Sparkle

Ireland
1457 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  2:16:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sparkle's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Yogani and everyone
Yes this can look like a mine field with all the various approaches.

The type of practice that has helped me immeasurably over the past 15 years is the one of identifying our projections. This of course has been mentioned above and also by you in another thread.

This is the one tool that runs through almost every practice of self enquiry that I know of.
It is, I'm sure you know, a complete revealer of our issues that lie hidden to us, and even though we know how the process of projection works it is still often very difficult to come around to the fact that what we are projecting onto "that disgusting person" is in fact the mirror image of our own issues. It's an absolute gem.

Yogani wrote:
My limited understanding of vipassana is that it is a sitting practice. Is there a walking around version? If so, then maybe there is some further overlap there, because the success of all these methods depends on the presence of the witness. In AYP, we do that in deep meditation, and then stabilize it in activity. In Buddhism, they do "mindfulness," a different kind of practice. I don't think that is what I am suggesting for AYP -- we have the witness already from deep meditation. It is mindfulness.

I have'nt practice vispassna formally but read a good book on it years ago. It happened to coincide more or less with what I was doing at the time.
This was:
1.Regognise the projection
2.Make sure you are established in the witness.
3.Allow the thoughts and feelings associated with the projection, which are now in your body and owned by you, to just be there.
4. Breath
For me the feelings would often dissolve in my spine.
The important thing is that these projections can, if not identified, go round and round forever, churning up the same old patterns over and over.
When we hold up the mirror to ourselves we can break that cycle. When it is done with the witness present it, not only is much more powerful, but we can keep our centre and not get overwhealmed by the feelings.

Having said all that, this was my process but I would be at a disadvantage in that I have nat practiced mantra meditation for very long.
I think mantra meditation has a different effect on the system. I have found that if I am angry at someone and I do mantra meditation, the anger disappears and I become peaceful and warm.
So the process might be a little different when practicing mantra meditation, I get the impression that not so many feelings actually come up in the first place - but I could be totally wrong about this, this is just my limited experience so far.

It occured to me that the mirroring type of self enquiry would be very useful if we overdo it a little with the routine practice and find ourselves getting annoyed with someone.

I agree that mantra meditation is "mindfulness". Mindfulness is origionally a Buddhist term but I think it is crossing into almost every field now. It is really the "here and now".
I would see AYP as being totally grounded in mindfulness or the here and now, whatever you want to call it.
It is evident that when we practice mantra meditation that we automatically become more aware in our everyday living. This to me is also living mindfully, the terms are different but the effects are the same.
This is the way it sould be of course and it consolidates that the core of all sound practices are the same.

Personally I like to practice mindfulness throughtout the day and find since I started mantra meditation it has become more pleasant more often. It is like the mantra meditation is more powerful for me and leaves me in this beautiful serene place from which I can -look at a cup, see and feel it going to my lips, feel the liquid passing into my mouth etc etc. It is wonderful when it is kick started with AYP.

There is also a book called "The Power of Intention" don't know if anyone has read it, but it gives another powerful approach.

But enough rambling for now.

Hope this helps
Louis



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Katrine

Norway
1813 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  2:24:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit Katrine's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Shanti wrote:

quote:
Katrine, I have to say, I find your writing very inspiring. You know how to hit the spot every time... Don't stop...


I am glad, Shanti
I am inspired by all of you.

And I don't think I could stop even if I wanted to......it is (luckily) out of my hands now.


May all your Nows be Here
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yogani

USA
5189 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  3:28:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Lili:

Nice to see you again. Yes, creating some separate topics for the different methods may be a good approach, as each method is a world in itself. I don't know how deep we will end up going into each method. It is up to all of you. I have been looking to light this one off for some time, as I know everyone is interested in "what more" can be done during the day. Hopefully, we can put a good foundation under it -- inner silence. Then it will be okay, and all of these methods will be at their best.

Anyone wishing to start new topics on various approaches involving discrimination and the intellect (jnana), feel free. Bhakti and karma yoga topics are good too -- there is plenty of overlap.

The guru is in you.
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nearoanoke

USA
525 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2006 :  10:20:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by yogani

Hi Sean and Katrine:

All I can say is, Wow! Wonderful perspectives. And you have both confirmed that it was the right thing not to tackle self-inquiry in the original AYP lessons.



It is really best not to include these into AYP. Not including them definitely makes AYP more saleable than other systems. For the readers/practitioners it is always the effort versus results. The yama/niyamas, self-inquiry and others can really make the practitioner feel that he is doing a lot but not getting any results which might make him move away from the practices.

There were lot of yoga systems but the best thing about AYP is that it will get you started. The writings are very inspirational and stress again and again about the importance of getting started.

-Near
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sean

USA
20 Posts

Posted - Mar 28 2006 :  12:18:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit sean's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I think a method of self-inquiry should be included in the AYP material. I agree with Yogani strongly that inner silence is the foundation and I also think that good methods of self-inquiry are vital to the evolution of consciousness.

Ken Wilber makes an excellent case for the position that meditation alone cannot truly clean all your junk. In fact he even goes so far as to say that meditation can be a great way to hang on to really dark features of your shadow.

Part of the reasoning is that meditation is limited to taking a first person person perspective to phenemonon which produces a deep awareness of states of consciousness. Whereas very important findings that are coming out of the research of developmental psychologists are ways in which humans develop through stages of consciousness over time. Stages are discovered through statistically analyzing thousands of people and are mostly invisible to a meditator. States can fluctuate from moment to moment. But breaking through to a new stage is permanent. Meditation is probably the single most important thing you can do to move through stages, but again I think it needs help as we can all see from the dozens of highly advanced meditators we all know about that were super messed up in other areas of their life. It's common sense now that a meditator can stabilize very high states of consciousness while remaining stuck at low stages of development. For example, someone can be blissed out in samadhi yet be at a low emotional or cognitive stage of development. I believe self-inquiry is a absolutely essential tool to couple with meditation to move us past the age of blissful gurus with closets full of shadows.

Just my two cents.

Sean

http://www.thetaobums.com/forum

Edited by - sean on Mar 28 2006 04:18:30 AM
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satyan

34 Posts

Posted - Mar 28 2006 :  08:06:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit satyan's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
hi yogani,

thanks for the enlightening and broad reply. surely, i will not try anything like living on the sunlight even if i get that information from somewhere unless and until i have direct experience because as you have told always "The guru is in you" and that is the best part of AYP each having a different kind of experience for the same goal.
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