Advanced Yoga Practices
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Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.

Lesson 403 - The Question with No Answer  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
403.1 - More Questions with No Answer
403.2 - In the World but Not of the World

From: Yogani
Date: May 19, 2010

New Visitors: 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?"

Questions are forever coming here. Seekers want to know what practices to use, often asking about practices that are not even in the AYP baseline system, wanting to know how to combine methods from diverse sources, wanting to know about wild kundalini experiences, wanting to know why there arent more experiences, wanting to know if yoga will fix a health malady, help find a mate, or pay the rent. And many want to know when they will be enlightened if they take up spiritual practices. So many things to ask about. And we keep churning out the answers.

But, you know, after it is all said and done, it boils down to the one question that has no answer: Who or what am I?

No answer? But arent we pure bliss consciousness, the One, the Void, the Tao, and all of that? Surely this is the answer. But that isn't the answer really. That is a structure in the mind, a concept. Not the thing itself. The who or what we are is not of the mind. It is beyond the mind. It is the infinite sea that mind is swimming in, which the mind is constantly trying to make into a solid concept. Trying to make solid what is fluid, invisible and without attributes. The mind is the proverbial fish that cannot see the water it is swimming in.

We say our true nature is blissful, conscious and absolute. But is it any of these things when the body is no longer functioning? When we are kissed on this earth plane (or any other plane) by the essence of who and what we are, we may experience these attributes, discuss them with excitement, and feel some satisfaction. Yet, none of these experiences are the answer, because they all will pass away. But something doesn't. And what is that?

While there can be no answer to the question "Who or what am I?" we can realize we are that, become that, simply by letting go of the need to know. As soon as we surrender the heart and the mind, we are unadulterated That. This is not an answer. It is a condition. A non-experience of the AM-ness underlying the inner and outer din of our lives. We can only talk about it in a removed way.

Then, somehow, magically, mysteriously, this AM-ness is able to move within and through us, and express on this earth plane, as Love. We may ask, "How does this happen?" There is no answer to this question either. We can set up the conditions for it to happen through daily spiritual practice, but we cannot say how it happens, or why it is. It is beyond the rational mind. That is why we call it "Divine," which explains everything, and nothing. We can have faith in what is, even if we cannot explain it. It has always been this way with human beings. When we don't know, we call it "God," or something that depicts the unknown, and our reverence for it. In time, we recognize that these too are concepts we transcend when we become the reality which they attempt to describe.

The spiritual path has been called a "razors edge." It is because to travel it, we must do something, and we must do nothing. We employ tools that lead us beyond doing. We must do something in order to do nothing, to become the mystery (see Lesson 84). We seek to become that which is beyond all thinking and doing, yet does all the thinking and doing. It is a riddle. But not a riddle to be taken lightly, because the end of all suffering is found in solving it, and an endless fountain of joy in life. In order to solve the riddle, we must become it. In order to know what cannot be known, we must become the unknown.

Again, we must say this is not a realm where the mind can succeed. The mind cannot solve this riddle. Never in a million years will mind triumph in this. Only in systematically going to the silent inner root of the mind will the mystery be solved. Only by becoming the mystery is the mystery solved.

This is why we meditate, because meditation takes us beyond the mind, bit by bit each day, into stillness, and we come to know ourselves to be an abiding inner silence. It is another description for something that has no description. Nevertheless, when we meditate effectively, we gradually become That, and It moves within and through us. As we know, the symptoms of this movement can be ecstatic and dramatic. And we ask all the questions about that. But sooner or later we arrive back at the question that has no answer: Who or what am I?

If we release that question in stillness again and again, we will not find an answer that will satisfy the mind. The need for concepts will be released also. Step-by-step, the mind will be released in stillness. That is when we become the answer a knowingness in the eternal unknown. We are That. This is liberation from the struggles of life, even as we remain fully engaged in daily activity with an effectiveness unknown to us before. Enlightenment is when we know we are That which has no existence, and which animates all of existence. Stillness in action.

Just more words. Don't think about it too much, for that is a detour. Better to practice and become That. Then we become the answer to the question that has no answer.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For instructions on building a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga book.  For detailed discussion on the practical utilization of self-inquiry ("Who or what am I?"), see the Self-Inquiry book and the Liberation book. Also see AYP Plus.

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