The Process of Divine Unfolding
“The yogi realizes the knower, the instrument of knowing and the known are one, himself, the seer. Like a pure transparent jewel, he reflects an unsullied purity.” Yoga Sutras 1.41
Enlightenment has been described by many throughout the ages. Some have attempted to describe the experience of being enlightened. Some have posited the type of behaviors that an enlightened person might exhibit.
If you asked 100 people to define enlightenment, you’d probably get 100 unique answers. Enlightenment is the fruition of yoga, the “union” of our inner divine nature with our sensory involvement in the material world. A marriage of our inner and our outer lives. A merging of blissful inner silence with the movement of divine energy through us. It is a process of purifying and opening our nervous system to the experience of our inner divine reality.
But rather than engaging in philosophical or theoretical speculations, we will focus on how the process of enlightenment unfolds. This way we can keep the discussion as “experience-based” as possible. This has a practical value as experiences begin to arise from our practices. 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, when to hold back.
So everyone gets to sit in their own driver’s seat. The evolution of experiences is a complex and personal journey, but has a certain pattern to it. In AYP we think about the process of enlightenment as having 3 interrelated components:
1) The Rise of Abiding Inner Silence:
Inner Silence is our true nature, a steady state of peace, happiness and bliss—but most of all an unshakeable stability and calm in the face of the outer circumstances of life. Inner Silence is the essential nature of the Divine, what has been called in various traditions…sat-chit-ananda, the Self, the witness, unconditioned awareness, the void, emptiness, God the Father, Shiva, samadhi, Tao and so on. In the AYP lessons we often refer to it as pure bliss consciousness. So many names. It is the “I” in you and me that remains constant.
Success in the cultivation of inner silence brings a state of freedom from the ups and downs of this world, even as we continue to be involved in our daily activities. We experience it as bliss, a complete unending happiness. In our spiritual practice routine, we will gradually unfold 24/7 Inner Silence using an effective form of Deep Meditation. As we meditate each day, we will come to know what pure bliss consciousness is.
Deep Meditation and the resulting Inner Silence are the foundations upon which all other practices and experiences in AYP are built.Back to top
2) The Rise of Ecstatic Conductivity:
The second phase in the enlightenment process comes with the rise of ecstatic experience in our body and surroundings. Ecstatic conductivity is the ability for divine energy to flow through us and radiate out and into our surroundings. It is the result of awakening the life force within us and a refinement of our sensory perception. It is Inner Silence/Pure Bliss Consciousness moving inside of us and can be experienced as an endless abyss of ecstasy.
This divine energy is referred to as Kundalini in the tradition of yoga (aka The Holy Spirit in Christianity or Chi in other traditions). AYP utilizes a specific form of Pranayama—Spinal Breathing—as the primary means for awakening this divine energy. Spinal Breathing Pranayama enhances our Deep Meditation practice, opening the senses inward, allowing us to perceive this divine energy in and around us.
After we have developed a stable routine of Spinal Breathing and Deep Meditation, various asanas, mudras, bandhas as well as additional forms of pranayama can also be incorporated into our practices to facilitate the flow of this life force.Back to top
3) The Merging of Inner Silence and Ecstatic Conductivity Into a State of Unity:
The full fruition of our daily spiritual practice comes with the merging of Inner Silence and Ecstasy within us.
As this happens, we experience ourselves to be the blissful Silence underlying all things…experiencing ourselves to be One with both Inner Silence and with everyone and everything in creation. Boundaries become like veils, thinly covering the essence of life, which we have come to know as an expression of our own nature.
We live in the reality of “loving our neighbor as ourself”, as it becomes experientially obvious that our neighbor is ourself. As this happens we become channels of divine outpouring love, as we increasingly act for the broader Self. From the beginning of our practices we may experience shades of any of these three stages, depending on the dynamics of our unique purification process. In fact, we may experience elements of all three stages at the same time. Over time we come to recognize these experiences as mileposts on the way to enlightenment. Ultimately, enlightenment is not so much about mileposts, it is about enjoying becoming that which we always were.Back to top
How Long Will It Take?
With so much to gain—unshakeable inner peace, ecstatic energy flows and outpouring divine love—it is logical to ask, “How long will all this take”? The answer is, it will differ for each one of us, but it is a long-term process of purification and opening. The amount of time that it takes to complete this process depends in large part on us. On our past actions that have produced the obstructions that are lodged deep in our nervous system. On our diligence and consistency in utilizing effective spiritual practices. On our sincere desire on our path. For most it is not an overnight process. It will take many months and years of consistent and dedicated practice. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
The good news is that it should only take a short while to experience the benefits of a daily spiritual routine: increasing happiness, peace, and love in our lives. And the ultimate fruition of our efforts is priceless: freedom from suffering, unending devastating bliss and unshakeable inner silence.