Over the past few weeks, some truly amazing people have touched my life through this blog, other blogs and websites. Their sharing, counsel, and teachings are shining light on places I never thought would see the light or be understood by anyone.
I am humbled and thankful to those who’ve shared so much with me. You know who you are, so this is from me to you, in the heartfelt way of a student taking transmission from her teachers: Namaste. Hari om tat sat.
Today, I am sharing some answers to my questions (see my previous post) that are able to be shared. I share this in the hope that others with the same questions about the relationship between Advaita, practice and yoga can glean something from it. My questions are in bold italic.
you really don’t have to ‘practice’ anything as such to fully experience an understanding of the truth. Is this correct?
Yes, I would say this is true because who you are lives you and is right here; it’s just a matter of moving out of the mind and experiencing this Presence in the moment. And yet, the mind/ego is a formidable opponent–we are so programmed to pay attention to it and to believe that it is who we are. Practices like meditation and yoga teach us how to move out of identification with the mind and into the present moment. Those who do these practices are far more likely to see the truth because they are intentionally seeking to break through the programming.
where practice fits in Advaita/non-duality and what kinds of practice do people do. Ok… so you might answer me that to practice is hold the assumption that you are not already all that there is, and so practice is another manifestation of misinterpretation.
Many Advaita teachers teach that practices are not necessary and that you don’t need to do practices to awaken. People love to hear that because they like the idea of not having to meditate, etc.
While it is true that some awaken without having to do any practices–especially in this day and age, where many who awaken are higher dimensional beings who’ve taken on a body to help earth at this time and they are just re-awakening to their higher level of consciousness–most who awaken have been serious meditators. Yoga performs a similar function, as I said before.
What is always true is that when you awaken is determined by essence, or your true Self. Essence is actively guiding you in your life, and it might be guiding you to do yoga and other practices as a means to facilitate your awakening.
On the other hand, if practices come from a sense of “should” and not from essence, then they are perhaps not right. The ego can be quite the spiritual tyrant, pushing you to get it right and do it perfectly and be pure, etc., just as it pushes people in the world to do the things they do. Always, the answer for what is true for you is in your Heart, and no one knows that except you. Following your Heart will take you where essence intends for you to go.
I personally am always encouraging people to meditate. I believe it is very necessary for most people, since people give so much power to their minds. Practice giving attention to something else–something other than thought–is very important.
I (AnthroYogini) should state here that there is only one thing that doesn’t sit well with me at all -that of the higher beings incarnating (smacks of Ashtar Command-type fluff), and I’ve just chosen to ignore it. I’ve printed it here anyway as others might take something from it.
I hope that others benefit from this counsel. I share it freely for all.
I’ve been reading J. Krishnamurti recently, and find what he writes fascinating, as he pretty much argues against all beliefs, all systems of thought, all gurus, all practices and disciplines, including yoga and any formal kind of meditation, seeing all of these as standing in the way of clarity and truth. This all makes a great amount of sense to me up to a point, though I inevitably end up with a paradoxical conundrum of how without ideas or practices one can break through all of that (particularly if I’m not going to simply take J. K. and his words as my guru and belief system). I like what you say here– “if practices come from a sense of “should” and not from essence, then they are perhaps not right”–that the issue might be one of the attitude in which we practice. That goes along with something I was thinking about in yoga class, about the way my teacher really doesn’t present yoga as something that we “should” take part in in order to reach some kind of future enlightened state, but, instead, even while leading us through the most rigorous asanas, as something joyful, more like an intense kind of play than a “discipline”…..