First Update: 8 months of meditation and advanced yoga practices
My experience of using AYP practices: techniques for spiritual transformation
I commenced practice of AYP (http://www.aypsite.org/) in August 2010. AYP contains a series of extremely powerful meditative spiritual practices, that are open to all people regardless of religion, and ultimately lead towards a transcendent, blissful awakened state of consciousness. These are the tools that enable one to become like Jesus, Buddha or any other of the enlightened spiritual masters, to follow in their foot-steps, and live a transformed, loving, compassionate and awakened life. Everyone has this longing in their heart for a transformed existence, and AYP provides the vehicle for transformation.
The length of practice has varied a little, but since August 2010 I have done (twice daily):
· AYP Deep meditation. (http://www.aypsite.org/13.html) – 20 minutes twice daily.
· AYP Spinal Breathing Pranayama. (http://www.aypsite.org/41.html) – 5 minutes twice daily.
After 6 months experience, I have no doubt that AYP is one of the most powerful tools I have ever encountered to facilitate spiritual transformation. I have tried various types of meditation
What does AYP do?
AYP activates kundalini energy. This occurs through the spinal breathing pranayama technique. Kundalini is a powerful, divine energy that lies latent with each of us. The energy storehouse is physically located at the base of the spine. AYP’s spinal breathing pranayama raises kundalini up the spine, up through the nervous system and into the brain. As the energy moves up through the body, in results in spiritual transformation. The expression of this spiritual transformation is multi-faceted and ranges from a rising level of ecstasy and joy, to greatly increased love and compassion for others and heightened intuition and brain functioning.
AYP fosters deep inner silence. The deep meditation practice is like a doorway into an ocean of peace and calm. It leads to us become increasingly stable and centered in the present moment, and frees us from being trapped in a stream of continual emotional reactions of life. It allows us to no longer be controlled by fear, anger or other emotions.
The Benefits I’ve Experienced
I am open minded and I am also a skeptic. I was ready to entertain AYP, however I formed no beliefs about whether it was or wasn’t true. A resonance of truth struck me through Yogani’s words (he is the author of AYP) particularly as he makes it all available for free, and doesn’t try to sell it to you. I also had something inside me which strongly guided me to it, giving me an urge to try it. I decided the best way to approach it was to try it and find out for myself.
Having tried multiple meditation techniques, I have some basis for comparison. The AYP experience was very different.
· Ecstatic experience. Within about 2 months of twice daily practice, I began to have ecstatic experiences whilst meditating, and during the day following meditation. By this I mean a feeling of joyous pleasure running through my entire body. It gives me a feeling like I want to sigh with happiness and satisfaction. This feeling will often last for an entire day. This has been an incredible part of the experience, sometimes I’m overwhelmed with joy and ecstasy from this feeling.
· Remission of depression. For my entire life, I’ve suffered from periods of intense depression. Oftentimes, this could be suicidal. However, typically it would express itself as just having a few hours of the day when I felt a bit low and worn out. It’s odd because overall, I’m a very positive person, my relationships with people are great, I’m successful in my career, I take time to help others, I exercise 5 times a week, I’m very healthy and have an extremely healthy diet. Despite doing all the right things, I’d still get these phases of very intense depression. With AYP, this completely disappeared in the first two months, and was replaced by an ecstatic current of joy. I suddenly felt as though a deep longing had been fulfilled. This hasn’t been completely permanent, the ecstatic experience comes and goes, and sometimes I’ve experienced more depression, but generally my emotions are greatly uplifted by my spiritual practice.
· Energy. Since doing AYP I’ve had much greater levels of physical and mental energy. I used to have a point after lunch (around 2 or 3pm) where I’d become very sleepy and unable to concentrate. After about 3 months of AYP my ability to concentrate has improved, I never get sleepy during the day, and I have a much more balanced energy level from morning to evening.
· Desire to serve and morality. Gradually over the past 6 months of AYP, a strong desire to serve others arose. I started volunteering in the Bronx and around Manhattan in projects to help people who needed it. In addition an increasingly strong sense of morality has arisen. I’m not perfect, but there’s a much stronger desire to do good and be good, and a much stronger internal sense of what is wrong and what I should not do. My morals are now coming from my heart, instead of my social conditioning or by accepting the beliefs that are spoon fed by others. I don’t need anyone to tell me what is right, and what is not, I already know in my heart.
· Loss of fear. There has been a huge decline in the amount of fear that I’ve experience. I feel a lot less concern about the ups and downs of life, I tend to feel “come what may, I can deal with it”.
· Loss of attachment. One of the very enjoyable things that began to occur during AYP practice was a significant decrease in my level of attachment. What do I mean by attachment? It’s the desire for things to be a particular way, that your mind conceives. The desire to have money, and the suffering when you don’t have it. The desire to look good, and the suffering when you have a bad hair day or get a pimple. The desire to be treated with love and respect, and the suffering when people are unkind to you. These are examples. My mind has released, to some extent, it’s controlling grasp on life, constantly trying to impose its concept of how things should be, and suffering when life fails to match that concept. So for example, things can go badly, but I still find I am happy.
· Massive decrease in addictive or compulsive behaviors. A lot of unbalanced behaviors, such as drinking until the point of drunkenness, or other activities which result in only transitory pleasure, have started to fall away. With the ecstatic experience inside me, there was a lot less need for pleasure from external sources.
That’s most of it for now. Have I become enlightened? Not yet. Have I experienced dramatic changes in my life that encourage me to keep going? Yes, certainly.
The Challenges Encountered
The greatest challenge that I’ve met stems from my own desire for escapism and avoidance of pain. I’ve always had a tendency to retreat, to retreat into myself, to retreat into books and reading, to anaesthetize myself with alcohol or worse, and when I was a child, to retreat into my bedroom and not want to go out. To create my own little world, safe from the outside. As very sensitive person I have always found, and in some ways, still find, the world a very painful place, full of suffering and hurt. So when the inner ecstasy arose, and I started to feel so joyous and full of pleasurable energy, it was like a breath of fresh air given to a man who was drowning.
I clung to it. I didn’t want to engage the outside world at all, I’d found a boundless source of ecstasy that came from within, and I quickly lost all desire to do anything. It was good enough just to sit around and experience this intense joy and ecstatic experience inside me. Resting in contemplation of the inner ecstasy was so pleasant, that I’d avoid stressful experiences that might shake me from my peaceful contemplation.
I’d also much prefer to meditate and activate this ecstasy, than to face my emotions. Strangely enough, I found negative emotions could co-exist with the ecstatic experience. I could go from a joyous Samadhi into an anger outburst. Rather than deal with what I was feeling, I’d just escape into meditation.
I knew something was wrong. There was a wounded and hungry part of myself that was desperately needing the ecstasy, fearful that this respite from suffering might only be temporary, and seething with an agonized desire to finally end its suffering. Emotions started to arise, mainly deep depressions and feelings of sadness. I unconsciously started to fall back into addictive pleasure-seeking behaviors, like drinking too much alcohol, seeking ego gratification, eating unhealthy foods like chocolate.
The ecstasy from meditation also started to decline (this began in late December), and the more it declined, the more I found my addictive behaviors coming back. More and more strong negative emotions started to well up, whereas before I’d spent entire weeks or months feeling blissfully free of such feelings.
I felt like my life’s storm clouds had temporarily parted, allowing a brief ray of sunshine from heaven to fall upon me, before closing and leaving me cold, wretched and without illumination. The depression welled up, and peaked with an intense desire for suicide. I contemplated various ways of doing this, but it’s harder than it sounds.
There was no longer a choice, AYP meditation had stopped bringing joy, and only seemed to heighten my despair. I realized that I must sit down and just face my emotions. Over a period of a few days, the internal resolution became immensely strong to face my suffering, and I sat, with my eyes closed, breathing in and out, allowing my attention to rest completely within my despair, and everything taking place within and without, in the present moment. I’d stress, this is not a meditation, it’s a technique, which is extremely grounding. I learned to allow myself to fully experience intense negative emotions like this, through doing The Presence Process, which was written my Michael Brown.
I spent a few days doing this, allowing my resistance to these feelings to become gradually broken down. In this manner, the storm passed, and I became stronger inside than I was before. The ecstasy is now returning to my meditations, but this time I’ve retained my interest in the outside world. I’m still able to motivate myself to work, and I no longer cling to the ecstatic experience by avoiding difficult or stressful activities.
I learned an important lesson, that spiritual practice must be grounded, and should not be used as a means to avoid facing the world.