Let’s talk about what the term ‘outgrown’ means, because if the practice is a true yoga, it can take you all the way to enlightenment. Now, if that’s the case, what does it mean to say, ‘I’ve outgrown my practice?’ Does it mean you got enlightened? Usually not. What it means is that from where you’re standing, you can’t use it anymore to get further, because of the way you’re standing in relation to it.

What often happens, and this has happened to me many times, is that I will do a practice and after a while it won’t work for me anymore. No fault of the practice, but the fault of the marriage between where I was at and the practice. I then went away from the practice and then came back to it from a whole different place of my consciousness. I do intensive meditation retreats every two years. I’ll go to India and practice… like sitting in a puja to the Mother for many days with my Indian group of brothers and sisters. Each time I do it, I do it from a different level of my consciousness – I can feel that it’s like I’m spiraling through.

I’m really a great advocate of the spiral process, of the spiral path, where you go very much into a practice, and then where you’re doing it from – it all doesn’t work anymore, and so then you pull back and go either back into the world or go into another practice. Then you come around again, and you see where you are the next time around, so that the ‘outgrowing’ is really just you and I saying to the practice, “You and I don’t have work to do together at this moment.” It’s not judgement of the practice, it’s not saying, “This practice is no good, ‘cause it didn’t get me enlightened,” it’s merely saying that who you are at this point, and this practice, this interaction, you no longer feel it’s productive at this moment.

I think you have got to trust your intuitive wisdom about your own spiritual practice. You cannot buy someone else’s judgements about you. You cannot buy a book’s judgement. You’ve gotta run it through your own intuitive judgement and say, “What I really need is some quiet meditative space now. What I really need is to develop my heart. What I really need is to quiet my mind more deeply. What I really need is a fierce teacher. What I really need is a lot of loving, gentle support. What I really need is to get my psychological stuff cleaned out a little bit before I can go on spiritually.”

Then as you keep studying, you’ll begin to feel where your block and where your next path is, and trust it.

There’s a quality of learning how to trust your own inner guide. Most people say they would love to have an external guru, but there aren’t many external gurus alive on the physical place. What you do, while waiting for the Messiah, is recognize the truth of Ramana Maharshi’s statement, that God, guru, and self are all one and the same, and you have to go inward to hear the intuitive truth of what you should do next… and trust it.

-Ram Dass