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

The inherent tendency of the mind is to identify with whatever thought is currently present. And the main underlying thought is the belief in being a separate ego-I. This belief gives birth to reaction and defense, attraction and aversion. The ego-I reacts to each situation by expressing "I should" or "I shouldn't". Neither of these reactions is welcoming of what is actually arising. Guilt and remorse always co-arise with the tyranny of the should. Guilt and remorse are secondary reactions to the primary reaction of the belief of separation, which is based on a refusing of welcoming the truth of the moment.

Immanence and Transcendence

The sense of 'I-ness' is both immanent and transcendent. We experience our self immanently living as, and therefore not separate from, our name and form. But we also experience our self transcendentally aware of, and therefore distinct from, any experience. We live immanently in and as our lived bodily experience and we exist transcendently, as the awareness which is aware of bodily experience. Both are true simultaneously. Immanence and transcendence are paired opposites that mutually co-arise.

When the transcendent quality of 'I-ness' remains hidden, immanence is all that is experienced and changes in the status quo of our life are experienced as fearful and threatening. We feel limited when we live only the immanent dimension of life. Fear limits life, but also signals us that we are refusing one half of the equation. In order to heal suffering we must recover our transcendental nature as nondual awareness.

While identification gives rise to separation and suffering, disidentification heals separation and suffering. Disidentification constitutes the ability to experience any and all states, contents and psychic events without reactive defenses. Disidentification is not dissociation, but the willingness to experience what is without any attempt to change or make it different. Dissociation is a refusing to be with what is. In disidentification we are immanently open to experiencing what is, while being transcendentally aware of each experience.

Relevant Sutras

Various spiritual texts affirm the process of disidentification with the pairs of opposites as a way of healing the sense of separation and its consequent retinue of suffering. For instance, Maharshi Patañjali states in his Yoga Sutras:

I.12 abhy¡sa vair¡gy¡bhy¡ tan nirodha? By approach and relinquishment and experiencing the pairs of opposites, suffering ceases.

II.33 vitarka b¡dhane pratipakßa bh¡vana When distress arises, ride opposing thoughts back into non-dual awareness.

II.35 ahi s¡ prati߆h¡y¡ tat sa nidhau vaira ty¡ga? By reversing instability into stability, from refusing into non-refusing, hostility is relinquished.

II.48 tato dvandv¡ 'nabhigh¡ta? Through disidentification the pairs of opposites cease their noxious effect.

III.6 tasya bhmißu viniyoga? By reversing the pairs of opposites stability and the release of suffering is quickly achieved.

The Dimensions of Yoga Nidra

Seven dimensions that make up each experience, conflict or life circumstance can be explored during the process of Yoga Nidra. These dimensions include sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts/beliefs, images, pleasure/joy and the sense of ego-I separation that accompanies the experience being described. As each of these levels is welcomed into awareness through exploration and description, disidentification naturally unfolds and we increasingly rest in our natural disposition as the nondual awareness that is equally aware of as well as participates in, each level of experience.

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 About The Author
Richard C. Miller PhDRichard 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,......more
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