Tag Archives: yoga sutras

How to Give Advice to a Bobble Head

BGKrishnaBobbleheadHere’s an idea: find an object that has some personal significance for you, something that represents you or some aspect of yourself; something you can use as a proxy for ‘you’. Personally, I find that Bobble Head dolls work best. Put the object ‘you’ on a table or desk and sit with it. Then think of the biggest challenge you currently face in your life or a challenge that you know you will have to face soon. Now, imagine that you are the Supreme Being and you are looking at the proxy ‘you’ in full knowledge of the challenge ‘you’ face and the difficulty associated with facing it.

What would you, in your role as the Supreme Being, do? Continue reading

Culture of Violence

McDonaldsGun_USEAfter the shock wears off what remains is a desire for understanding; we long for something that will explain the inexplicable. Convenient rationalizations like “it was God’s will” or “it was just their karma” top the list of platitudes that no one wants to hear. And with good reason: such banal consolations trivialize unfathomable depths of grief and anger by decorating God with causeless cruelty or blaming victims who are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

This most recent and particularly horrific tragedy has, predictably, been blamed on the ease by which ordinary citizens can acquire military-grade armaments, a collective indifference to the scourge of mental illness, and the glorification of violence in everything from video games to news coverage that relentlessly sensationalizes the very events from which we wish to be spared. Continue reading

Listen To The Wind Blow

“The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.”

Bhagavad-gita 2.23

This verse came to mind during the past week of back-to-back natural disasters assaulting the east coast of the United States. I have to admit that I was a little slow in getting my yoga mojo in gear during the earthquake: despite the violent trembling of my apartment and the accompanying sounds of shattering objects, I stood stupefied in complete denial of the self-evident truth before pulling it together as the tremors dissipated.

It’s easy to understand why the mental discombobulation inspired by an earthquake (in Washington DC?) would throw one for a loop. As Brooke Gladstone tells us in her book about the media, The Influencing Machine; “Humans are wired to absorb information that confirms their worldview, and to repel information that disputes it. The quality of that information is immaterial.” This explains my denial: in my worldview, I’m immortal. The earthquake was clearly and emphatically disputing my worldview, so my mind reacted by rejecting the information it was receiving.

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The Hermeneutics of Confusion

“Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.” – Edward R. Murrow

At the conclusion of my previous blog post I asked a not so rhetorical question: where does the popular association of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra with non-dualistic philosophy come from? A good example of how this happens played out a few months ago: A respected teacher of yoga philosophy spoke about the Yoga Sutras at a local yoga studio. He gave an insightful overview of the Sutras from Patanjali’s definition of yoga all the way to asamprajnata samadhi; the stage at which the yogi relinquishes the mind altogether and experiences the fully liberated self by direct perception.

Elaborating on this final stage of self-realization, the speaker matter of factly stated that, according to Patanjali, all sense of our individuality, along with the apprehension of a multiplicity of beings, disappears as we experience the absolute oneness of pure awareness. Continue reading

The Force

Now that the annual celebration of calculated violence and conspicuous consumption known as the Super Bowl is over, let’s contemplate the spiritual truths hiding within one of this year’s most critically acclaimed Super Bowl commercials: The Force.

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The Meaning of Surrender – part 1

A few weeks ago a friend was asking me what I thought about the meaning of surrender. It’s a subject worthy of consideration; surrender plays a prominent role in traditional yoga scripture. Unlike “giving up” or “throwing in the towel”, as we would define it in the conventional sense, surrender for a yogi is an essential component of devotion. Continue reading

Afraid of the Dentist

I went to visit my dentist not too long ago. Lot’s people are afraid of the dentist. And why not; my dentist is terrifying! She’s a sweet and cheerful woman with lots of long, sharp metal objects and motorized devices that, but for a well-placed shot of an anesthetic to numb half my face, would cause me more pain than I can imagine every time she gets down to business.

But the scariest thing she’s ever done to me had nothing to do with drills or dental scalers. The most frightening moment I’ve ever spent in her chair was the moment she gave me something she insisted I use every day: a toothbrush. Continue reading