I have often heard it said that without the help of Yoga, metaphysical realization can be very difficult. What do you think about it?
To begin with Yoga is a harmonization of the body, to prevent it from being an impediment to spiritual research. It is also a set of techniques tending to the ending of all mental activity. It is a method of voluntary effort and systematic purification, leading to a state of mental stillness (Samadhi).
Samadhi can be experienced as bliss or emptiness. In the case of bliss, it remains in the world of duality. In the case of emptiness, it is the last stage of duality, but it does not throw it off. The emptiness of Samadhi takes place when the object has reached its ultimate simplification. One might say that it is pure object, without any qualification whatsoever, an object which is object and nothing else. This is why it is a barrier, the last barrier, to realization. Sooner or later, Samadhi experienced as emptiness, will reveal its duality and the longing for unity will appear.
This meeting with emptiness is something absolutely new and it may easily be mistaken for realization. Then there occurs a tendency to settle in this emptiness which one has learnt to produce. It is comforting to pacify the ego and to taste this emptiness. But one should not mistake the taste of a silent mind with the experience of which I am speaking. This taste is still an object, it has to be abandoned, the last step has to be taken, for the Yogi who does not awaken to the Experience, is in a situation which, from a certain point of view, may be considered worse than that of the ordinary man. Indeed, when he returns from the state of Samadhi to find those usual objects which had been temporarily eliminated by a voluntary technique, he runs the risk of rediscovering them with an increased virulence.
Samadhi experienced as joy is in fact a state in which one enters and from which one emerges. Sooner or later its insufficiency is felt. The man who leaves this joy, falls back into the world of objects. He has no precise memory of his experience which, since it belongs to a supra-mental reality can leave no mental trace (memory), but nevertheless he remains in a state of shock, of exaltation, of longing which is a source of confusion. Such is the result of the Yogic path.
In the direct path we, by discrimination, come to the conviction that ultimate reality lies beyond any physical or mental framework. As a sideline, we make use of Yoga to loosen certain knots, or do away with certain disturbances. But we never lose sight of the non-dual background.
Liberation is not reached by subservience to certain more or less strict rules, but by knowledge which wipes out time, space, cause-and-effect. A return to ignorance is now excluded.
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