Listen to Chapter 2: Easy Navigation Through This Course
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To prepare you for the Short Path exercises and milestones, you’ll first use a set of meditations. These are based on the latest neuroscience, and they stimulate the production of seven key neurochemicals in your brain. They are: Serotonin, Oxytocin, Nitric Oxide, Beta Endorphin, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and Anandamide.
Neurotransmitters like dopamine are part of the “reward system,” while hormones like oxytocin are the biochemical basis of love and emotional bonding. You’ll use each meditation for 3 days, then go on to the next one. These pleasure neurochemicals give you what PB calls a “Glimpse” of the Infinite.
A randomized controlled MRI trial of EcoMeditation found that a month of practice produces significant change in two brain regions. It downregulates the mid-prefrontal cortex, a key node of the Default Mode Network. Simultaneously, it upregulates the insula, the center of compassion, gratitude and happiness.
These meditations will propel you into elevated mental and emotional states. They’re designed to give you the “felt sense” of ecstasy in your body. When you read the inspired poetry of Rumi, or the “interior castle” of Saint Teresa, it’s clear that these mystics were experiencing the highest levels of ecstasy.
These weren’t just spiritual states. They were brain states and chemical molecules too. By studying the brains of modern-day monks and nuns having similar experiences, science has been able to identify exactly what neurochemicals are active during the mystical experience.
These special mediations you’ll listen to first are carefully designed to stimulate their production. You’ll listen to them for 21 days at the very start of the Course. They’ll put you in a “flow” state and remind you of the peak experiences or “Glimpses” you’ve had in the past.
You’ll have access to these meditations throughout the Short Path Course. You’ll also meet with your Mentor before and after that 21 day period, and share your experiences.
The second preparatory step is called the Personal Peace Procedure. It uses evidence-based psychological tools to release the emotional triggering of past events.
The reason we do this before starting Paul Brunton’s exercises is simple. Neuroscientists guiding people through Short Path work have found that many of them experience the “Dark Night of the Soul.” This is just what it sounds like, traveling in consciousness to a dark place in which the light of the journey is lost. It can be scary and disorienting, and Brunton says that many people are scared away from the spiritual path after a Dark Night experience.
The reason why people walking toward the light instead drop into the Dark Night is simple. When you reach for ecstatic states, you’re bathing your psyche in love. That love shines a light on all the dark and wounded parts of self. These traumatized parts, living in the shadow, cannot face the light. They often rise up in fear. They obscure the light, stopping our forward movement.
These wounded parts originated in unhealed trauma, usually from childhood. If you release your trauma, and integrate your wounded parts using the Personal Peace Procedure before you start the first of Brunton’s exercises, you’re much less likely to have a “Dark Night” experience. Seven randomized controlled trials show that these techniques reduce PTSD symptoms by over 60%.
For this reason, the second preparatory step is the Personal Peace Procedure Course. Besides the guided techniques you practice there, you have access to trained and certified practitioners. They have the expertise to help you through the emotions that arise when clearing your past. These methods are so effective that people are usually able to clear a significant part of their life trauma in 30 days or less.
Your Mentor is also there for you during the process, as is the community of “soul friends” with whom you walk the Short Path journey. The 21 meditations you’ve been practicing are also there to remind you of the ecstasy that coexists with the miserable experiences of our lives.
You’ll complete the Personal Peace Procedure in 30 days or less. You’re then unlikely to have a Dark Night experience on the Short Path. If you hit any rough patches, your mentor, the community, and certified practitioners are all there to support you.
With this second preparatory step of clearing trauma behind you, you’re ready for PBs exercises, and spiritually and psychologically prepared for the journey.
Moving at a steady pace, spending 30 minutes a day, you can move through the course in eight weeks, as follows:
|Long Path||Short Path||Page numbers in SPE|
|Does exercises for results||Does exercises for their own sake||79-81|
|You worry about the bad in you and the world||You smile at the good||49|
|Prepares you for the Short Path||After you’ve journeyed on the Long Path for a while||33|
|Equips you with strength required for the Short Path||Once you’ve developed strength on the Long Path||45|
|Cleansing of consciousness||Clarity of focus||33|
|Thinking of, remembering, meditating upon yourself||Thinking, remembrance of reality, and meditation without reference to the ego||17|
|Removes negative thought, base desire, ego, and other obstacles to Higher Self and Short Path||When the ego is no longer in the way, you are ready for the Short Path||34, 40|
|Disciplines thought and feeling||Intellect inspired by meditation||35, 41|
|Measures by how far you have advanced||Living in the now is what flips the switch from the Long Path to the Short Path; cease to wish to advance||38, 43|
|Effort of disentanglement, thus a negative attainment||Recognizes that success does not come through your own efforts or traits||39|
|Beginners are not ready to confront the unreality of the local self||You turn your back on improving the ego and give your full attention to the Short Path||41|
|You forcibly control undesirable feelings and thoughts as you cleanse ego||You lose interest in them, deserting ego||43|
|Happiness eludes almost everyone, despite seeking!||Bypasses seeking and goes directly to the Higher Self||44|
|Better to remedy faults than allow them, fight desires||Forget them, as you immerse yourself in Higher Self||44, 45|
|Seeking desperately for truth and insight||Holding yourself in peace and patience||45|
|Develop capacity to find inner Stillness||Knowledge that Stillness is you, and continually practice being the Stillness||47|
|Arranged in stages||Direct enlightenment||47|
|Clearing obstructions and character errors||Devoted to affirmatives||47|
|Future illumination||llumination here and now||47|
|Engaged in world||Retreat from world; requires solitude and leisure||47|
|Earth Path: yearning, anxious, serious||Sun Path: spontaneity, enjoyment of life||48|
|Apprenticeship||Development occurs naturally; Grace draws you to the next stage, no effort required||31-32|
|Guru and religions; like stars in the sky, they come and go||Attach to Higher Self; the Universe is the sky, eternal||27|