New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?" at http://aypsite.com/10.html
Q: Before we do all the practices would it not do justice if we clearly define ENLIGHTENMENT? "What is enlightenment?" I guess many people practice the techniques for powers, problem solving etc. Few of them practice for actual enlightenment... would it make a difference?
A: Yes, I agree that it is important for everyone to know what the ultimate objective of advanced yoga practices is. But does it make a difference? Let's explore that.
We have focused on the subject of the enlightenment process several times (including the fruition in unity/Oneness), and also on the subject of "powers." Here are a few of those lessons:
#35 -- Enlightenment milestones (http://aypsite.com/35.html)
#76 -- Siddhis: Are powers real? (http://aypsite.com/76.html)
#85 -- Enlightenment milestones revisited (http://aypsite.com/85.html)
In addition to these, there is an ongoing discussion on where we are in the enlightenment process throughout all the lessons. There are many sub-milestones that can be recognized. In general, I try and keep out of philosophical and theoretical speculations, and instead tie everything to practices and direct experiences we are having. The lessons attempt to keep it relevant by keeping the discussion as "experience-based" as possible. That has a practical value as we have experiences coming up. If we understand where our experience fits into the overall enlightenment process, we can have a much better handle on our practices and what to do: when to make small adjustments, when to forge ahead, and when to hold back. So, everyone gets to sit in their own driver's seat -- a new approach, really. It
seems to be working for many, which fills my heart with joy.
It should be emphasized that undertaking meditation and the other advanced yoga practices does not have to be with the end goal in mind. We'd all like to find some relief from the burdens of daily life, more inner peace, more bliss, and find more energy and creativity to carry on toward our goals, whatever they may be. Everyone has their own ideal they are aiming for, their own bhakti process, if you will. Their own idea of "enlightenment." So, while there is an enlightenment process, everyone has their own approach to it, their own ideal they hope to fulfill. As we move forward with daily practices, our ideal will expand as our nervous system purifies. Over time, we reach higher and higher. That is how bhakti unfolds in our nervous system. Then, one day we are seeing everyone as an expression of our blissful self, and we have become a fountain of love. There may be a thousand levels of expanding experience on the way to that one, each as valid as the one before and after.
To tell you the truth, it really does not matter why people do advanced yoga practices. We each have our own reasons. Doing them will open our gateway to the infinite regardless of our original motivation for coming on to the path. Purifying and opening our nervous system to the truth will expand our point of view to what is true, no matter what point of view we started with. So, while it is good to hear about our final destination of enlightenment, it is even better to be a more fulfilled person today than we were yesterday. This is the real draw of advanced yoga practices, because they do work day by day with regular practice, and that is where the rubber meets the road.
So, what is enlightenment? It is a process, a journey. Most important, it is the ideal you choose that turns you on to doing daily practices.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed discussion on enlightenment milestones, see the AYP Eight Limbs of Yoga book at http://aypsite.com/books.html#8lim