Advanced Yoga Practices
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 168 - Is Pain a Prerequisite for Inner Peace?
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?”
Date: Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:46am
Q: I have been practising meditation for nearly a month now. It gives me tremendous energy and peace. However a friend of mine, a person who has a fair amount of yogic knowledge and a person whom I respect a lot, told me that If I pursue this course, I should be willing to experience pain, especially since my past is extremely painful. As a matter of fact I had started meditation to heal myself of this pain and face life, move on, live life with peace, harmony and respect for my fellow human beings. Is pain, a pre-requisite for finding peace?
A: Thank you for writing and sharing. No, pain is not a prerequisite for finding peace. This does not mean we will not have any pain, or that we should assume the journey is not worth making if we encounter some along the way as our nervous system purifies and opens.
It all depends on the obstructions lodged in our nervous system, and how we manage our practices to release them. Peace and bliss are inherent inside us. There are many ways we can uncover our native state. Some are more radical (and uncomfortable) than others.
In the lessons, everything is designed for simplicity and maximum power, with minimum discomfort. In fact, advanced yoga practices are designed to be a path of enjoyment from start to finish. There is no requirement that anyone overdo with any practice — in fact, it is strongly discouraged. If we enjoy the results of our daily practices, we will continue. If they are a painful drudgery, then who will want to do yoga? Only masochists. So everything is geared to balancing practices to maintain a positive experience of ongoing purification and growth. It can be done.
Advanced yoga practices are like a fine tuned automobile. You can push on the gas pedal and go as fast as you want. You can arrive at your destination smoothly and safely, or you can wrap yourself around a tree. It is all in the driving, you know. You are the driver with these practices. This is why we talk so much about “self-pacing” in the lessons. It is very important. It is the new approach in these modern times. Each person can drive themselves home to enlightenment at their own speed. Many are ready for this.
Even a good driver will hit a few bumps in the road from time to time. It is inevitable on any journey. It is part of life. So we compensate (slow down) when the going gets a little bumpy, and speed up again when the road smoothes out again, as it surely shall.
Do we have to go out of our way to drive through every pothole and ditch we see? No. This is why we say pain is not a prerequisite for peace.
It sounds like you are traveling smoothly so far, and it fills my heart with joy to hear of your rising energy and peace. You are a blessing to the entire world in your practices, for everyone is benefiting from your purification and opening. Continue with enthusiasm and prudent self-pacing, and you will arrive home to your divine Self straight away. Much is being accomplished with every sitting. Lifetimes of pain and suffering are painlessly melting away.
The guru is in you.
Note: For a detailed overview on building a daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.