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Infinite Awakening
The Practice of Yoga Nidra and its Application in Psychotherapy

© Richard C. Miller PhD

Psychotherapy entails the art of listening. True listening is free of direction. It is open without preconception. It is the ability of therapists to listen, without agenda or judgement, that enables clients to completely explore and reveal the hidden and disregarded aspects of themselves.

From the perspective of listening, clients contain both the presenting dilemma and its solution. In listening all issues and their solutions find resolution in awareness for listening is an aspect of awareness. In non-directional listening, as in all-pervading awareness, the deep movements of body sensation, energy, feeling, emotion, belief and imagery have the freedom to completely unfold without prejudice of preconceived beliefs of how things should be.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra (yoga = living in and as nondual awareness; nidra = sleep), is an ancient tantric process that reflects this perspective of awareness as the container, agency and agent of healing. Yoga Nidra provides not only a framework for how transformation and healing unfolds but provides the client with a process for healing their presenting issues as well as an opportunity for them to experience their fundamental nature as nondual awareness.

The word 'yoga' means the abiding action of living in and not-separate from nondual awareness. Nidra, in the application of Yoga Nidra, refers to our ability to remain awake as, and not separate from, nondual awareness even in the midst of the circumstances of life. During Yoga Nidra the client is supported by the therapist to describe their presenting issue and listen to and welcome into awareness all of the attending body sensations, energetic movements, emotions, beliefs and images until an appropriate resolution is revealed. In supported non-directional listening and welcoming, resistance to what is dissolves and the client finds him/her self vulnerably open in their expansive nondual awareness in which healing spontaneously unfolds.

Disidentification from the structures that give rise to suffering, which include sensations, emotions, thoughts, memories, images and the sense of being a separate ego-I, occurs spontaneously during the process of Yoga Nidra. When clients are supported in welcoming the both their pain and its opposite, their shadow material and its opposite, their projection and its opposite, healing unfolds spontaneously and naturally in the passive-active container of nondual awareness.

The Perspective of the Opposites

Much of the transformative power of Yoga Nidra lies in its recognition and capitalization of the play of opposites. When we live in the experience of being a separate ego-I we live fixed in an attitude of having to negotiate with existence. The separative ego-I is governed by the law of opposites in which all that is seen as positive is held captive by its opposite. Where there is darkness there is light. Where there is good, there is evil. What we create we destroy and what we destroy is recreated.

But opposites are never separate. They are actually complimentary polarities arising within a unified field of awareness. When a movement arises, its opposite always co-arises. Neither is separate from the other and neither is separate from awareness. Darkness cannot exist without light and good cannot exist without evil. Pain cannot exist without pleasure and conflict cannot exist without its opposite, resolution. And none of these exist separate from the field of awareness in which they arise.

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About The Author
Richard Miller's teachings come out of his direct experience of living truth as echoed in the timeless teachings of nondualism found in Advaita, Zen and Chan. He is recognized as a leader in the field of nondualism, honored by Yoga Journal and featured in American Yoga and Will Yoga and Meditation Really Change My Life? Richard is the founder and director of the......more
 
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