Amount of Practice

I’ve been getting quite a few queries about “technique time” from readers of Rose Rosetree’s blog.

She recommends a maximum of 20 minutes a day of “spiritual” practice. That includes anything that takes your attention away from your physical life.

I recommend an effortless meditation like TM, normally done 2 x 20 minutes a day. Other things would of course be on top of that.

My position is that 40 minutes a day is no problem when it’s balanced with normal daily activity in the world. Where it becomes a problem is if we’re spending much of our attention on remembering experiences, daydreams, seeking guides, and other things that take us away from living our life.

The more time we spend “elsewhere”, the more ungrounded we become and the less growth we’re able to integrate. We become “mushy” and stop growing even if our day is filled with “spiritual practices”, formal or not.

One key is our approach to the practice – are we using it as instructed or as an escape to dreamland? Or did we turn the practice into a lifestyle at the expense of work and a social life?

Many New Age practices have fallen into the same boat. Guided meditation and prayer are forms of hypnosis. Where are you being guided? The Law of Attraction is often used as wishful thinking. All sorts of things can be co-opted by a mind looking for an easy escape.

This can lead to what I call astral entanglement and Rose calls spiritual addiction. This has become increasingly common as group consciousness rises and the astral has become much more accessible. If our life isn’t going the way we’d like, it is much easier now to escape into la-la land. But this doesn’t solve problems. In fact, it can make things worse.

Unrealistic ideas about life, ungroundedness, financial problems, health issues, bad choices, and an inability to get results are just a few issues I’ve seen with friends. (and my own phase of this)

In the world but not of it is not the same as not in the world.

If such issues are arising, then I fully agree with Rose – you need to cut way back on technique time and get real in the world.

To understand this better, it’s worth noting how much things have changed. Back in the ’60’s, long periods of retreat and meditation were recommended*. In the 70’s that gradually dropped to 8 and then 6 “rounds” of meditation a day on long retreats. About a decade ago, it became 1 extra a day. On the retreats I go on now, where many people have woken up, they recommend no extra meditation. Just socialize with the awake. Enjoy!

Group consciousness has risen substantially. Long hours of spiritual practice are no longer necessary in most cases. The way we’ll evolve fastest is by living in the world  – with skill.

Self authority, recognizing the stories we tell, finding OKness and gratitude with our life, healing, and working to fix what isn’t working – these are practical things for quality of life.

Remember that enlightenment is not a goal. It is a foundation for improved quality of life. We don’t wait for it to live, we live now and use spiritual development tools to enhance our quality of life. Then we have a foundation for enlightenment to build on. If we spend too much time escaping into woo-woo land, our development will stall out, along with our quality of life.

Heaven and hell are not somewhere else. They’re lived right here in the world.
Davidya

* The song Dear Prudence comes to mind. Prudence was a course participant with the Beatles in India. While the Beatles encouraged her to join them for their jam sessions, she spent as much time “rounding” (cycles of yoga and meditation) in her room as possible. Hence the lyrics.

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7 Responses to Amount of Practice

  1. Michael says:

    Hi David!

    ohhh i feel it tingleing in my fingers… 😉

    I would come from a different angle with this theme.
    If someone has spiritual addiction, of course it is important to get them off the drug 🙂
    However if you take away one addictive behaviour or substance another one will come.
    So we have to look at the drivers of the addiction, which is ususally a resistance to ones emotional hell (i call it a hell because it is a hell before it becomes integrated and that is why everyone in our Society is addicted to something or someone until inner Resolution has taken place)

    So for most People (beginners) this Limit of time is a good Thing because of our inner turmoil. but it is not and end stage.

    definitly we need much less “thrust” than we used do 20 years ago to go to the spiritual realms. But in my experience that also depends on the stage of growth of a particular Soul. From my perspective i would not say that everyone feels energies now. there are still very much People who do not and i would say most People. (because of my work i see a lot of People).

    then we have to look at what Systems we are talking about. In this case i take neidan as an example:
    there is just a difference in the time we need if we practice TM or Neidan. (neidan crossed my path again as i have been blessed to come to know the 2 only true lineagebranches that exist outside of China…..as you say David “it is interesting what Shows up in ones life” 🙂
    …had fully given up on that.

    Actually neidan Training would not start before the escapism-mentally has been cleared!
    Even in the past they would say that this is a danger with Buddhist practice.
    In the earlier phases one will replinsh ones ming (which is the “life battery” we have)and thereby rebalancing our System and deaging it. And we Need less time for this to happen than in the past, but we still need more than 20 or 40 minutes a day (neidan is not just sitting but also moving Meditation). Neidans Goal is full light Body process and to achive this a good amount of time is needed, especially in the later stages. On the other Hand it is much about Balance and that we Need a normal life for growth, but in the later stages becomes very time consuming.

    So we have to look what are our Goals (or better what is it that the divine wants to express through this form), and that means that we need to feel through the emotions which want us to escape life, only then can we know what is our way and what was just escapism.

    • Davidya says:

      Yes, Michael, you make a good point. If there is spiritual addiction, there is something being avoided so healing is called for.

      To be clear, I don’t advocate a practice that takes you to “spiritual realms” or worlds. While those do become conscious as our awareness clears, even divine worlds can be distractions from awakening. We want to go beyond worlds into source.

      I’m not familiar with Neidan and only generally with Chinese approaches. But yes, as it’s for building the light body, that would be an advanced practice for further along. My new Using Awareness post covers why more.

      From my experience, much of spiritual progress is managed by a higher intelligence than we have. Our skill is in learning to cooperate with it and support it. Then it will unfold naturally. Some will be drawn to various teachings and such but it’s good to see that as learning where to put your attention rather than new things to try and control or manipulate. (speaking to the larger audience here)

      These days, I find most growth happens by simply living life. Spending time with others awake is also productive. I do find some of the shifts can be time consuming or require more rest, etc. for processing. But I’ve moved away from a ton of time “sitting”. But yes, the needs of the time will vary for each of us.

      • michael says:

        I do not like going to spiritual worlds either!
        My mind just did not come up with something more useable when talking about that the process is easier in this time than back 20 or 30 years. 🙂

        It is allways about source! (or the dao as it is called in neidan)

        you wrote:
        From my experience, much of spiritual progress is managed by a higher intelligence than we have. Our skill is in learning to cooperate with it and support it. Then it will unfold naturally. Some will be drawn to various teachings and such but it’s good to see that as learning where to put your attention rather than new things to try and control or manipulate.

        I totally agree with you! That is why i put emphasise on the point that we need to clear out some stuff first so that we can become more aware of what really wants to be experienced through us.
        Scott Kiloby told me that most people who where into spirituality for bypassing loose interest in the spiritual once the inner world becomes more friendly and they find new ways of living life. I tiny bit of the people he works with become more interested in spirituality after some clearing but then not as an escape but because it is their path.
        I had almost no technique time at all in the last months (just allowing clearing taking place) And then that neidan lineage crossed my path out of nowhere, and there was a clear signal to follow that. (i became aware that i had several past lifes where i practiced that; in one life i was quite far in the process but got killed which shocked me at that time, so it will be interesting to see where this path goes in this life)

        Michael Brown uses a wonderful sentence in his presence process:”whatever happens in our life may not be what we want…..but what is required (for our evolution). What is required is most of the time not what we want.”

  2. Carl Smuda says:

    Thank you Davidya. You referred me to Rose with your book review for “Spiritual Cleansing and Protection.” That began to break up decades of spiritual addiction (even with a fairly decent – not perfect – TM program). Rose is my hero. I’ve blown decades of life with spiritual addiction. But her New Strong program is my Recovery! 🙂 Thank you Dear Saint for this balanced editorial. Jai Guru Dev. Thank the Fountain of Living Waters for both Rose and you. Sincerely.

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Carl
      I would not see your decades as wasted. Perhaps less effective than they might have been. But I’ve found that life on a spiritual path is taken care of. What may seem unproductive time can turn out in retrospect to have been needed for some deep background processing to happen. Then when the time comes, a new perspective came and it was time for change.

      For example, I spent a large section of my life focused on work. Spirituality took a back seat. But when that changed, it became apparent how integrating that “down time” had been. Then I was ready for awakening.

      Jai Guru Dev

  3. Jim says:

    Great post David – It reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons from The New Yorker magazine, in which a beautiful woman is walking down the sidewalk of an old NYC neighborhood. Sitting, watching idly from the steps of a brownstone, is a thirty something guy, still living at home, with a dopey smile on his face. His mom, standing at the top of the stoop, apron on, too old for this sh*t, yells at him, “Whistle, you dumb bastard!” 🙂

    Life is what we make it – “Remember that enlightenment is not a goal. It is a foundation for improved quality of life.” So absolutely true. It is the one way to join with life again, mend the separation, and embrace the transcendent, ever expanding nature of life.

    On “getting mushy” – lol – we must remember even when in the throes of seeking, who we are, what our normal interests and directions are. It cannot be an either/or. Spirituality is a normal, natural and healthy component of life, but its value only comes through integration, vs flights of fancy.

    A few times I have been surprised at taking a direction that seemed incompatible with whatever my spiritual focus was at the time, but it always works out for the best, expanding the container, dissolving boundaries, and so on. There is a tendency for all of us to focus on the attainment of “waking up”, but as crucial as it is for further advancement, I agree that it should be seen as a gateway vs. The Goal. After so many steps, we are allowed on the elevator.

    • Davidya says:

      Thanks, Jim.
      Good one. 🙂
      And a number of great points.

      I spent some time second-guessing the process back in the day. Later, it became apparent how artfully managed it was. Not just in terms of this body-mind but of all of it simultaneously. The right time is the right time for the entirety, not just some nerd. 🙂

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