Archive for October, 2010
An activist friend once told me a conversation she’d had with her grandmother, a devout Catholic. The two were watching a television program about prisons. My friend commented that yes, jail food did in fact taste terrible. Her grandmother was shocked and asked how her darling granddaughter could possibly know.
“I’ve been arrested several times, Grammy.”
Silence. I can only imagine the possibilities running through the grandmother’s head. Finally my friend continue, “For sitting down in front of bulldozers that were cutting logging roads into ancient forests.”
“Why would you do something like that?”
My friend thought a moment, then said, “What would you do if someone was going to run a bulldozer through St. John’s cathedral?”
Her grandmother looked at the television, looked out the window, then looked back to her granddaughter. She said, “Next time, don’t take on those bulldozers sitting down. You stand up for yourself.”
Tags: Civilization, Communication, Culture, Economic, Education, Environment, Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Spirituality
- How and why do we numb ourselves to our own experiences? How and why do we deafen ourselves to the voices of others?
- We are too afraid to explore the potential for life and love and happiness we each carry inside.
You may not destroy someone’s world unless you are prepared to offer a better one. – Franz Kafka
Our behavior is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves. – R.D. Laing
- When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many hand grenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre party. We try to stay out of harm’s way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and to ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become. And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.
- Silencing is central to the workings of our culture. The staunch refusal to hear the voices of those we exploit is crucial to our domination of them.
The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. – Judith Herman
- We live in a world of make-believe.
- …he created the reality that he required in order to continue his behavior.
- In attempting to describe the world in make-believe terms, we have forgotten what is real what isn’t. We pretend the world is silent, whereas in reality it is filled with conversations.
- We pretend death is an enemy, although it is an integral part of life.
- We pretend that anything we do not understand – anything that cannot be measured, quantified, and controlled – does not exist.
- We pretend the animals are resources to be conserved or consumed, when, in reality, they have purposes entirely independent of us.
- By substituting the illusion of disembodied thought from experience, by substituting mathematical equations for living relations, and most importantly by substituting control, or the attempt to control, for the full participation in the wild and unpredictable process of living, Descartes became the prototypical modern man.
- Single most important rule of Western philosophy: if it doesn’t fit the model, it doesn’t exist.
- We live our lives, grateful that things aren’t worse than they are. But there has to be a threshold beyond which we can no longer ignore the destructiveness of our way of living.
The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years. – R.D. Laing
The rite of passage into the scientific (modern) way of being centers on the ability to apply the knife to the vocal cords, not just of the dog on the table, but of life itself. Inwardly, he [the modern human] must be able to sever the cords of his own consciousness. Outwardly, the effect must be the destruction of the larynx of the biosphere, an action essential to the transformation of the world into a material object. – Neil Evernden
We are the land…That is the fundamental idea of Native American life: the land and the people are the same. – Paula Gunn Allen
- Whether we are electrifying a kitten or petting a cat, if the purpose is specifically to collect data we’re still objectifying the cat…But the point is pursuing a relationship, not gathering data.
Today we took a little snake. I had to apologize to her for cutting her life off so suddenly and so definitely; I did what I did knowing that my own life will also be cut off someday in very much the same fashion, suddenly and definitely. – Jack Forbes
- We have come to believe that violence equals aggression, and we have come to base our model of sexuality on our model of violence. This goes a long way toward explaining the prevalence of rape scenes in horror movies, art films, and blockbusters alike, the woman pushing at her attacker’s chest, until, by the end of the scene she has her arms wrapped around him, pulling him close to her. By enacting this transition, the filmmakers convert an act of aggression into an act of consensual sexuality. The ubiquity of rape in real life attests to the desire of many members of our culture to attempt this same transition.
- To kill without emotion and without respect, or to ignore the intimacy inherent in the act, is to rob it of its dignity, and to rob the life you are ending of its significance.
All through school and University I had been given maps of life and knowledge on which there was hardly a trace of many of the things that I most cared about and that seemed to me to be of the greatest possible importance to the conduct of my life. I remembered that for many years my perplexity had been complete; and no interpreter had come along to help me. It remained complete until I ceased to suspect the sanity of my perceptions and began, instead, to suspect the soundness of the maps. – E.F. Schumacher
Sufficiently severe and enduring social isolation reduces these animals to a social-emotional level in which the primary social responsiveness is fear. – Harry Harlow
- What is real? It is always possible to consciously or unconsciously “see” almost anything we want.
- Perception is of course intimately tied to preconception.
- It is up to us to determine for ourselves how closely the patterns we’ve been handed by our culture fit our experience of the world.
- When my teacher told me how, I wanted to know why, and when they gave me abstractions, I asked them to make the lessons real.
- To ask how without asking why might be dangerous.
- The God of our culture has always been jealous, and whether going by the name of God the Father, Yahweh, Jesus Christ, Civilization, Capitalism, Science, Technology, Profit, or Progress, He has never been less than eager to destroy all those He cannot control.
- Every morning when I wake up I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam…Anyone who lives in this region and who knows anything about salmon knows the dams must go. And anyone who knows anything about politics knows the dams will probably stay. Scientists study, politicians and businesspeople lie and delay, bureaucrats hold sham public hearings, activists write letters and press releases, I write books and articles, and still the salmon die. It’s a cozy relationship for all of us but the salmon.
God does not send us despair in order to kill us; he sends it in order to awaken us to new life. – Hermann Hesse
Don’t look at my finger, look at the moon. – Buddhist saying
- I will no longer forget. I have learned that whether I choose to feel or not, pain exists, and whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, atrocities continue. I have grown to understand that in the shadow of the unspeakable I can and must speak and act against our culture’s tangled web of destructiveness, and stop the destruction at its roots.
The most striking difference between ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of argument at the expense of truth, whereas the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality. – Hannah Arendt
- Scientific verification is impossible [for interspecies communication], because science is by definition the study of objects, and a conversation is an interaction between two or more subjects.
- The nature of physical reality is not determined by popular vote. Many people sharing the same delusion does not make the delusion true, whether we are talking about interspecies communication, modern science, Christianity, or capitalism.
The press is the hired agent of a monied system, and set up for no other purpose than to tell lies where the interests are involved. – Henry Adams
Art is whatever you can get away with. – John Cage
- The price of admission to public discourse is an optimistic denial pushed to absurd lengths.
- When dams were erected on the Columbia, salmon battered themselves against the concrete, trying to return home. I expect no less from us. We too must hurl ourselves against and through the literal and metaphorical concrete that contains and constrains us, that keeps us from talking about what is most important to us, that keeps us from living the way our bones know we can, that bars us from our home. It only takes one person to bring down a dam.
- …it is no longer possible to be lonely…and it is only our own fear that sets us apart.
- Take responsibility for one’s own action, and to fight for egalitarianism. It is easier to listen to the voice of God than it is to listen to the voice of one’s conscience, suffering and outrage.
- “A claim to virtue” – It is not possible to commit deforestation, or any other mass atrocity – mass murder, genocide, mass rape, the pervasive abuse of women or children, institutionalized animal abuse, imprisonment, wage slavery, systematic impoverishment, ecocide – without first convincing yourself and others that what you’re doing is beneficial
- First, the pattern itself is horrifying, too terrible to think about. Second, if we allow ourselves to recognize the pattern and fully internalize its implications, we would have to change it.
- Rational discussion presupposes rational motivations, yet claims to virtue are always attempts to place rational masks over nonrational urges.
- The way out of from these destructive frames of mind is to step in – experience, not thought or rationalization.
- Thought divorced from experience is nonsense.
- Fearing death, fearing life, fearing love, and fearing most of all the loss of control, we create social rules and institutions that mirror our fears and reinforce our destructive behaviors.
- Perhaps in taking the world into our bodies we also need to dive into the body of the world, to dive down deep and let it pull us deeper still, until at last we not only consume but are consumed, until at last we are no longer separate – standing alone and lonely on the darksome heights to which only men aspire – but instead, simply living in commune with the rest of the world.
- The primary function of grades is to offer an external reinforcement to coerce people to perform tasks they’d rather not do.
- Grades, as is true once again for wages in later life, are an implicit acknowledgement that the process of schooling is insufficiently rewarding on its own grounds for people to participate of their own volition.
- [School] Systematically – inherent in the process – direct personal experience is subsumed to external authority, and at every turn creativity, critical thought, and the questioning of fundamental assumptions are discouraged.
- A primary purpose of school – and this is true for our culture’s science and religion as well – is to lead us away from our own experience.
- The process of schooling does not give birth to human beings – as education should but never will so long as it springs from the collective consciousness of our culture – but instead it teaches us to value abstract rewards at the expense of our autonomy, curiosity, interior lives, and time.
- Through the process of schooling, each fresh child is attenuated, muted, molded, made – like aluminum – malleable yet durable, and so prepared to compete in society, and ultimately to lead this society where it so obviously headed. Schooling as it presently exists, like science before it and religion before that, is necessary to the continuation of our culture and to the spawning of a new species of human, ever more submissive to authority, ever more pliant, prepared, by thirteen years of sitting and receiving, sitting and regurgitating, sitting and waiting for the end, prepared for the rest of their lives to toil, to propagate, to never make waves, and to live each day with never an original thought nor even a shred of hope.
- We should not be surprised that our culture as a whole must destroy all life and that we as individuals must not dwell upon the horrors we visit not only upon others but upon ourselves, that we dwell instead upon the daily earning of our bread, and beyond that pile upon ourselves project after project to keep ourselves always occupied, always unconscious of the fact that we do not have to live this way, always blinded to alternatives. For if we looked we might see, if we saw we might act, and if we acted we might take responsibility for our own lives. If we did that, what then?
When the oppressors give me two choices, I always take the third. – Meir Berliner
- One method Nazis used to control Jews was to present them a series of meaningless choices…In making these choices victims felt the illusion of control over their destinies, and often failed to reject the entire system. Resistance to exploitation was diminished.
- I sometimes called in sick when it was a nice day, rationalizing the lie by telling myself I was sick of work, which was true enough.
- Selling the hours of my life was no different from selling my fingers one by one. We’ve only so many hours, so many fingers; when they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
- It should not be terribly surprising that people would ignore the world to rationalize exploitation. In order to exploit, we must deafen ourselves to the voices of those we are victimizing. The justification of this exploitation would demand that we continue with our selective deafness, selective blindness, and selective stupidity.
- We all – humans and nonhuman alike – are refugees from the war zone that is civilization – that we cannot longer survive unless we cooperate with those around us.
The world of the concentration camps…was not an exceptionally monstrous society. What we saw there was the image, and in a sense the quintessence, of the infernal society into which we are plunged every day. – Eugene Lonesco
- In a concentration camp, it is better to be the killer than the killed, better to be a collaborator than a resister, a guard than a collaborator, a supervisor than a guard, and better still to be the boss. But of course it would be better to not be in the camp at all.
- In order to make equations manageable (thus allowing the pretension that life is manageable) economists must disregard or fudge variables that may be difficult or impossible to quantify.
- Not much that we do in our personal lives makes much economic sense, just as most things we do for money make no sense in personal terms.
- Our economics, as is true for our science, represents the triumph of product over process, and form over content. It is the triumph of selective deafness and blindness over conscience and relationship.
- One of the problems with our economic system is that money is valued over all else.
- So long as money is valued – and in fact necessary – a great percentage of people will end up spending a great deal of time doing things they don’t want to do.
- Because our cash economy is predicated on the idea of a society composted of atomistic individuals pulling in selfish directions, it can do no other than reward selfish behaviors.
- Our economics promises a life of increasing ease…For those of us rich enough to reap its benefits, our economic system offers a life devoid of experience; as though life, and experience, were a hassle.
- Negative experiences can lead to joy and understanding. Life is untidy. When we reject this messiness – and in doing so reject life – we risk perceiving the world through the lens of our economics or our science. But if we celebrate life with all its contradictions, embrace it, experience it, and ultimately live with it, there is the chance for a spiritual life filled not only with pain and untidiness, but also with joy, community, and creativity.
- To believe any one thing is “the problem” would be to believe that if we simply reform our economic system, everything will be okay, or if we reform science, or Christianity, then everything will suddenly be fine.
- We need to look beyond, to the urges that inform, to the hidden wounds and presumptions that lead first to the conceptualization and late implementation of our economics, our science, our religion, our misogyny and child abuse.
- An economics like ours can emerge only from a consciousness like ours, and only a consciousness like ours can give rise to an economics like ours.
- We must fundamentally change our consciousness, and in so doing fundamentally change the way we perceive the world.
- It is unavoidable: so long as we value money more highly than living beings and more highly than relationships, we will continue to see living beings as resources, and convert them to cash; objectifying, killing, extirpating.
- If monetary value is attached to something it will be exploited until it’s gone.
- Money perfectly manifests the desires of our culture. It is safe. It neither lives, dies, nor rots. It is exempt from experience. It is meaningless and abstract. By valuing abstraction over living beings, we seal not only our own fate, but the fates of all those we encounter.
It’s life that matters, nothing but life – the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Your faith must be strong enough that you can walk the path blindfolded.
- Wherever you put your foot, there is the path. You become the path.
- Develop – to cause to become gradually fuller, larger, better.
- I’m more of a practical man, so rather than write papers about being kaitiaki, I just do it. I don’t trust words. I’m frightened of the intellectualism that can insulate us from action and turn the problems and solutions into puzzles or fantasies…The work has got to be done.
- We rescue a piece of beautiful wood out of an old building, and as we restore it and put it in place, we rescue and restore ourselves.
- We are suffering from a great illness, and the way to get better is serve others. We should all be in service. It makes us well. I serve the birds and trees, the earth, the water.
- As with everything else, our lawns manifest our cultural desire: they are static, they are artificial, and they are kept sexually immature.
- How much richness do we deprive ourselves of by accepting the default decisions handed to us by our elders?
- The tree had made it clear to me that the price of diversity is death.
- Transitions by definition involve pain, loss, sorrow, and even death.
- Part of their personal identities includes their habitat – their human and nonhuman surroundings. Thus they are not working to save something out there, but responding in defense of their own lives.
- Activation energy – the amount of energy that must be present before a certain reaction can proceed.
- How much – and what – will it take for you to begin to act?
- Violations come not only in paroxysms of rage, spasms of violence and violent orgasms. They come more often with constant erosion, with an incessant imparting of the full knowledge that there is nothing, no one, nowhere, no thought, no action, that the violator will not seek out and attempt to control.
- The central question of our time: What are sane and appropriate responses to insanely destructive behavior?
- Gandhi wrote a letter to Hitler asking him to stop committing atrocities, and was mystified that it didn’t work.
- It is desperately true that we each need to look inside, to make ourselves right.
- The Old One says you must put your house in order before you can have guests.
You didn’t set up the system. Do what you can, but don’t identify with the problem. If you internalize what is not yours, you fight not only them but yourself as well. Take responsibility only for that which you’re responsible – your own thoughts and actions. – Jeannette Armstrong
- We’re responsible not only for what we do, but also for what is in our power to stop.
We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, affliction, or infamy. We kill when, because it is easier, we countenance, or pretend to approve of atrophied social, political, educational, and religious institutions, instead of resolutely combating them. – Hermann Hesse
- Because life feeds off life, and because every action causes a killing, the purpose of existence cannot be to simply avoid taking lives. That isn’t possible. What is possible, however, is to treat others, and thus ourselves, with respect, and to not unnecessarily cause death or suffering.
- The finitude of the planet guarantees that running away is no longer a sufficient response. Those who destroy must be stopped.
- …but their democracy is our dictatorship…
- I asked what the MRTA wants for Peru. He replied, “I am not sure what you mean. We are Peru. We want nothing from Peru. There are others who want plenty from Peru: our oil, wood, fish, gold. Our lives. Capitalism is taking away what is elemental to our lives: our land, rivers, forests are being violated by institutions and individuals who have deafened themselves to the meanings they have for us.”
- The children of Peru continued to starve, the forests continued to fall, and the fisheries continued to be depleted. In other words, Fujimori continued his policy of committing genocide and ecocide to benefit transnational corporations. In other words, it was business as usual in the civilized, industrialized world.
- Time and again we show ourselves willing to die or to live to support ecological and economical justice and sanity, and time and again our enemies – the indecent ones, the destroyers – show themselves willing to lie and to kill to maintain control.
When those in power lie, the only way to conduct a meaningful dialogue with them is to have in your hands a way to force them to be accountable. Even then you can only be sure they will remain true so long as you continue to hold them tightly in your hands. – Isaac Velazco
- Readers may more closely recognize our own culture in Fromm’s description of the Dobus, Kwaikutl, Aztecs, and others he put into the category of “destructive.” These cultures, he said, are “characterized by much interpersonal violence, destructiveness, aggression, and cruelty, both within the tribe and against others, a pleasure in war, maliciousness, and treachery. The whole atmosphere of life is one of hostility, tension, and fear. Usually there is a great deal of competition, great emphasis on private property, strict hierarchies, and a considerable amount of war-making.”
- The social forms and institutions of nonaggressive cultures positively reinforces acts that benefit the group as a whole while negatively reinforcing acts (and eliminating goals) that harm some members of the group.
- The social forms of aggressive cultures, on the other hand, reward actions that emphasize individual gain, even or especially when that gain harms others in the community.
- One of the primary problems with our system of social rewards is its tautological nature. We grant communal responsibility and esteem to those who have accumulated and maintained power; but the primary motivation for those who are responsible for decisions affecting the larger community lies in the accumulation and maintenance of power.
- Although I cannot predict the future, I do know that any culture that consumes its natural environmental base will eventually collapse under the weight of its own strengths.
- Cultural convention is merely cultural invention. It does not have to be this way, that not all cultures have as their trajectory centralized control and ultimate annihilation.
What I fear is being in the presence of evil and doing nothing. I fear that more than death. – Otilia deKoster
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others. – Thomas Jefferson, Owner of Slaves
- I’m not certain the language is raw enough. My language is too fine, the sentences too lyrical, to describe things neither child nor adult should have to describe at all.
- It is not the writing that must change, but the reality.
- I understand now that somewhere inside of each of us – some more than others – still survives that person who would not and will not rape, who would not and will not coerce, that person who understands what it means to be alive and to be a part of a relationship, a family, a community of both human and nonhuman.
Happiness is love, nothing else. A man who is capable of love is happy. – Herman Hesse
- It was the bees who provided me my first real somatic understanding of cooperation and compliance: work against bees and they sting; work with them as they work with themselves and they reward you with honey, joy, and sore muscles.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. – Abraham Lincoln
- We’re so good at getting along that we do so at the expense of actions that would in a meaningful sense bring a change in those original circumstances that cause our suffering.
- What you value is what you create.
- We do what we reward, and we reward what we value.
- Underlying the different forms of coercion is a unifying factor: Silence. The necessity of silencing victims before, during, and after exploitation or annihilation, and the necessity at these same times of silencing one’s own conscience and one’s conscious awareness of relationship is undeniable.
- The perpetrators of these atrocities share a deeply unifying belief in their own separateness and superiority, and a tightly rationalized belief in the rightness of their actions.
- Fearful of life, the perpetrators forget that one can affect another with love, by allowing another’s life to unfold according to its own nature and desires and fate, and by giving to the other what it needs to unfold. One can affect another by merely being present and listening intently to that other.
- Our religion, philosophy, science, economics, politics, and so on are manifestations of cultural desire, that means these fields have as their purpose the rationalization of exploitation, what makes you think we could expect anything different from a revolution that comes from this same culture?
The greatest virtue between heaven and earth is to live. – ‘The Great Treatise’ of the I Ching
- Economic production requires that resources be funneled toward producers, while ecosystemic production requires that resources be returned to all members of the natural community, including, especially, the ground.
Our goal should be not the emulation of the ancients and their ways, but to experience for ourselves the aspects of human existence out of which arose those ancient forms which we we see them elicit such a feeling of longing. Otherwise the modern will remain forever superficial while the real will remain ancient, far away, and therefore, outside of ourselves. – Mr. Aoki
On the terms imposed by technocratic society, there is no hope for mankind except by ‘going with’ its plans for accelerated technological progress, even though man’s vital organs will all be cannibalized in order to prolong the megamachine’s meaningless existence…But for those of us who have thrown off the myth of the machine, the next move is ours: for the gates of the technocratic prison will open automatically, despite their rusty hinges, as soon as we choose to walk out. – Lewis Mumford
- For an entire community to disentangle itself from that web may be well-nigh impossible, given the modern economy’s interconnected nature as well as overpopulation, resource depletion, and environment degradation that comes with civilization.
The advantage of one individual becomes a victory over another, and the majority who are not victorious must shift as they can. – Ruth Benedict
- An emphasis on production requires an emphasis on private ownership requires a means to protect this ownership requires, in the end, murder.
- When a slave rebels without challenging the entire notion of slavery, he merely encounters a new boss. But if all the blood is painfully squeezed away, what emerges is a free man, and not even death can stop those who are free.
- Like an iceberg, or the entrance to a cave, or like the ocean itself, there is so much more beneath only hinted at by the surface.
The body’s carbon is simply carbon. Hence, ‘at bottom’ the psyche is simply ‘world.’ – Carl Jung
- For scientists to give up predictability means they have to give up control, which means they have to give up Western culture, which means it’s not going to happen until civilization collapses under the weight of its own ecological excesses.
- There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of the earth, and it is the language of our bodies. It is the language of dreams, and of action. It is the language of meaning, and of metaphor.
- This language of symbol is the umbilical cord that binds us to the beginning, to whatever is the source of who we are, where we come from, and where we return.
- We suffer from misperceiving the world. We believe ourselves separated from each other and from all other by words and by thoughts. We believe – rationally, we think – that we are separated by rationality, and that to perceive the world “rationally” is to perceive the world as it is. But perceiving the world “as it is” is also to misperceive it entirely, to blind ourselves to an even greater body of truth.
A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake. – George Gurdjieff
- Everyone understands that for there to be growth, there must always be a dying away.
- To let part of your life die so another may emerge.
The part of the mind that is dark to us in this culture, that is sleeping in us, that we name ‘unconsciousness,’ is the knowledge that we are inseparable from all other beings in the universe. – Susan Griffin
- It is no more possible to cheat fate than it is to resolve the nonrational through the purely rational.
The significant problems of the world cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness at which they were created. – Albert Einstein
All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble…They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This ‘outgrowing’ proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge. – Carl Jung
- We do not easily give up our acquired ways of being, even when they’re killing us.
- Only when that mindset had, like a plant in a too-small pot, exhausted its own possibilities did I begin casting about for another way to be; only when I no longer had any real choice, far past the time when what little choice there was – death or change – had become all-too-painfully obvious, did I begin to reject the earlier mindset. This is why I don’t think our culture will stop before the world has been impoverished beyond our most horrifying imaginations.
It seems to me that anything that can be taught to another is relatively inconsequential, and has little or no significant influence on behavior…I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning. Such self-discovered learning, truth that has been personally appropriated and assimilated in experience, cannot be directly communicated to another. As soon as the individual tries to communicate such experience directly, often with a quite natural enthusiasm, it becomes teaching, and its results are inconsequential… When I try to teach, as I do sometimes, I am appalled by the results, which seem a little more than consequential, because sometimes the teaching seems to succeed. When this happens I find that the result is damaging. It seems to cause the individual to distrust his [or her] own experience, and to stifle significant learning. Hence I have come to feel that the outcomes of teaching are either unimportant or hurtful. When I look back at the results of my past teaching, the real results seem the same – either damage was done, or nothing significant occurred… As a consequence, I realize that I am only interested in being a learner, preferable learning things that matter, that have some significant influence on my own behavior… I find that one of the best, but most difficult ways for me to learn is to drop my own defensiveness, at least temporarily, and to try to understand the way in which experience seems and feels to the other person. I find that another way of leaning is for me to state my own uncertainties, to try to clarify my puzzlements, and thus get closer to the meaning that my experience actually seems to have…It seems to mean letting my experience carry me on, in a direction which appears to be forward, toward goals that I can but dimly define, as I try to understand at least the current meaning of that experience. – Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person
- The people in my class, including me, did not need to be controlled, managed, nor even taught. What we needed was to be encouraged, accepted, and loved just for who we are…to be given time in a supportive space to explore who we were and what we wanted, with the assistance of others who had our best interests at heart.
- All we want, whether we are honeybees, salmon, trash-collecting ants, ponderosa pines, coyotes, human beings, or stars, is to love and be loved, to be accepted, cherished, and celebrated simply for being who we are. Is that so very difficult?
The great way has no gate; there are a thousand paths to it. If you pass through the barrier, you walk the universe alone. – Wu-Men
The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. – Milan Kundera
- Isolated from the rest of nature, isolated from each other by walls of fear, isolated from our own bodies, and isolated most of all from our own horrifying experience, is it any wonder that we are all crazy?
Atrocities are actions so horrifying they go beyond words. For people who witness or experience atrocities, there is a kind of silencing that comes from not knowing how to put these experience into speech. At the same time, atrocities are the crimes perpetrators most want to hide. This creates a powerful convergence of interest: no one wants to speak about them. No one wants to remember them. Everyone wants to pretend they didn’t happen. – Dr. Judith Herman
- In order to escape accountability the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting.
- The more extreme the crimes, the more determined the efforts to deny the crimes happened.
- Once you’ve forced a person to violate his or her moral codes, to break faith with him or herself – the fact that it’s done under duress does not remove the shame or guilt of the experience – you may never again even need to use threats. At that point the victim’s self-hatred, self-loathing, and shame will be so great that you don’t have to beat her up, because she’s going to do it herself.
- A man who had knowingly compromised himself did not revolt against his masters, no matter what idea had driven him to collaboration: too many mutual skeletons in the closet.
The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees – all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related. – Thomas Berry
The future of mankind lies waiting for those who will come to understand their lives and take up their responsibility to all living things. – Vine Deloria, Jr.
- All of us who participate in a system that “makes” money at the expense of our ecological base – upon which not only our economics but our lives depend – are signing our own death warrants. Allowing our crazy system to destroy our land base is not merely unethical and unwise but suicidal.
Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself? – Tao Te Ching
- Perhaps we will awaken in an exterior landscape that is barren and lonely enough to match the landscape of our hearts and minds.
- It is not possible to recover from atrocity in isolation. It is, in fact, precisely this isolation that induces the atrocities. If we wish to stop the atrocities, we need merely step away from the isolation. There is a whole world waiting for us, ready to welcome us home. It has missed us sorely as we have missed it. And it is time to return. Godspeed.
Outside an electronics store, there was a little boy delirious with delight, surrounded by computers, stereos, and other gadgets. The text on the poster read: “We know what your child wants for Christmas.”
What your child wants for Christmas is your love, but if he can’t get that, he’ll settle for a bunch of electronic crap.
- Think for yourself and question authority.
- By drop out, I mean to detach yourself from involvement in secular, external social games.
- The drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures.
- You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
Individual societies begin in harmonious adaptation to the environment and, like individuals, quickly get trapped into nonadaptive, artificial, repetitive sequences.
When the individual’s behavior and consciousness get hooked to a routine sequence of external actions, he is a dead robot, and it is time for him to die and be reborn. Time to “drop out,” “turn on,” and “tune in.” This period of robotization is called the Kali Yuga, the Age of Strife and Empire…
- Timothy Leary
Tags: Asana, Meditation, Philosophy, Present, Spirituality, Yoga
- By persistent and sustained practice, anyone and everyone can make the yoga journey and reach the goal of illumination and freedom. Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek but a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.
- Spiritual realization is the aim that exists in each one of us to seek our divine core.
- Yoga could reveal to us our innermost secrets, as equally as it reveals those of the universe around us and our place in it as joyful, suffering, puzzled human beings.
- If you take up any noble line and stick to it, you can reach the ultimate.
- Be inspired but not pound.
- I do not want yoga’s widespread popularity to eclipse the depth of what it has to give to the practitioner.
- While we often think of these as the problems caused by the demands of modern life, human life has always had the same hardships and the same challenge – making a living, raising a family, and finding meaning and purpose.
- As bearers of a divine essence, we are among the stars. As human beings, we are caught in the middle, seeking to reconcile the paradox of how to make our way upon the earth while striving for something more permanent and more profound.
- Most people simply want physical and mental health, understanding and wisdom, and peace and freedom.
- Yoga’s goal is to attain the integrity of oneness – oneness with ourselves and as a consequence oneness with all that lies beyond ourselves. We become the harmonious microcosm in the universal macrocosm. Oneness (integration) is the foundation of wholeness, inner peace, and ultimate freedom.
- To a yogi, freedom implies not being battered by the dualities of life, its ups and downs, its pleasures and its suffering. It implies equanimity and ultimately that there is an inner serene core of one’s being that is never out of touch with the unchanging, eternal infinite.
- Life itself seeks fulfillment as plants seek the sunlight.
- When you and I meet together, we forget ourselves – our cultures and classes. There are no divisions, and we talk mind to mind, soul to soul. We are no different in our deepest needs. We are all human.
- Yoga is like music – the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.
- The practice of yoga teaches us to live fully – physically and spiritually – by cultivating each of the various sheaths.
- The human being is a continuum – there are no tangible frontiers between the kosas as there are no frontiers between body, mind, and soul. But for convenience sake, and to aid us on our journey, yoga describes us in terms of these discrete layers. We should imagine them as blending from one into the other like the colors of the rainbow.
- [The existence of soul] is logical but remains conceptual to our minds until we experience its realization within ourselves.
- In unity there is no possession, as possession is a dual state, containing me and it.
- Everything that exists in the macrocosm is to be found existing in the microcosm or individual.
- There can be no realization of existential, divine bliss without the support of the soul’s incarnate vehicle, the food-and-water fed body, from bone to brain.
- Nothing can be forced; receptivity is everything.
- By drawing our senses of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind.
- In asana our consciousness spreads throughout the body, eventually diffusing in every cell, creating a complete awareness.
- Stressful thought is drained away, and our mind focuses on the body, intelligence, and awareness as a whole.
- Duality is the seed of conflict. But we all have access to a space, an inner space, where there is an end to duality, an end to conflict. This is what meditation teaches us, the cessation of the impersonating ego and the dawn of the true, unified Self, beyond which there is no other. Yoga says that the highest experience of freedom is Oneness, the supreme reality is unity.
- Yogis know in their innermost being that the divine unites us all and that a word or action done to another is ultimately done equally to oneself.
- …exist purely in the moment, without reference to past or future.
The Physical Body (Asana) – Stability
- Because most modern people have separated their minds from their bodies and their souls have been banished from their ordinary lives, they forget that the well-being of all three (body, mind, spirit) are intimately entwine like the fibers of our muscles.
- To be spiritual, one must not deny or forget the body.
- To a yogi, the body is a laboratory for life, a field of experimentation and perpetual research.
- Purity permits sensitivity. Sensitivity is not weakness or vulnerability. It is clarity of perception and allows judicious, precise action.
- Strength and flexibility allow us to keep an inner balance, but man is trying more and more to dominate the environment rather than control himself (i.e. central heating, air conditioning, cars, imported food)…Yet none can deny that there is more to life than mere physical pleasure and pain. If we abandon or indulge our bodies, sickness comes, and attachment to it increases.
- The essence of yoga is not about external display but internal cultivation.
Asanas bring perfection in body, beauty in form, grace, strength, compactness, and the harness and brilliance of a diamond. – Pantajali
- Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence, and benevolence of spirit.
- We think of intelligence and perception as taking place exclusively in our brains, but yoga teaches us that awareness and intelligence must permeate the body.
- The duty of the brain is to receive knowledge from the body and then guide the body to further refine the action.
Action is movement with intelligence.
- The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.
- Be self-aware, not self-conscious.
- Self-consciousness is when the mind constantly worries and wonders about itself, doubting and being self-absorbed.
- Self-awareness is when you are fully within yourself, not outside yourself looking in. You are aware of what you are doing without ego or pride.
- Extension is attention, and expansion is awareness.
- When you extend and expand, you are not only stretching to, you are also stretching from.
- Extension and expansion bring space, and space brings freedom. Freedom is precision, and precision is divine.
- Extension is freedom, and freedom allows for relaxation. When there is relaxation in the asana, there is no fatigue.
- Keep your attention internal, not external, not worrying about what others see, but what the Self see.
- All people are born with different constitutions. Never compare with others. Each one’s capacities are a function of his or her internal strength. Know your capacity and continue to improve upon them.
Perfection is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached. – Pantajali
- Inhalation is tension, exhalation is freedom. All movements should be done with exhalation. Exhalation purges the stress and tension of the body.
- We are seeking the balance of polarity, not the antagonism of duality.
- If you balance in the present, you are living in Eternity.
- When the intellect is stable, there is no past, no future, only present.
- Only when there is pain will you see the light. Pain is your guru. As we experience pleasures happily, we must also learn not to lose our happiness when pain comes. As we see good in pleasure, we should learn to see good in pain. Learn to find comfort even in discomfort. We must not try to run from the pain but to move through and beyond it.
- Practice is about awareness, and awareness leads us to notice and understand both the pleasure and the pain.
- Yoga is meant for the purification of body and its exploration as well as for the refinement of the mind.
- I use the body to discipline the mind and to reach the soul.
- Body is the bow, asana the arrow, and soul is the target.
- Many intellectually developed people are still emotionally immature – when faced with pains, they try to escape rather than work through them.
- When everything else is stripped away, the essential is revealed.
- To do nothing is an action too, with inevitable consequences.
- Let the goal be to reach Perfection, but be content with a little progress toward perfection every day.
- The test of a philosophy is whether it is applicable and even more so applicable now in how you live your life.
- Yoga is mastered only by long persistent nonstop practice, with zeal and determination.
- When the gardener plants an apple seed, does he expect the apples to appear at once? Of course not. The gardener waters the seed, watches each day, and feels happy seeing the growth. Treat the body in the same way.
- Light comes to a person who extends his awareness a little more than seems possible.
- You have always to do a little bit more than you think you can, in quality and in quantity. This is what leads ultimately to beauty and greatness.
- Never repeat: A repetition makes the mind dull.
- You must always animate and create interest in what you are doing.
- You have to create within yourself the feeling of beauty, liberation, and infinity. These can be experienced only in the present.
- The word tapas contains the meaning of inner intellectual heat, which burns out our impurities.
- Practice and purity of life place us “among” not above. The fully sensitive and sensible being becomes not a “somebody” but the common denominator of humanity. This takes place only when the intelligence of the head is transformed by humility and the wisdom of the heart and compassion is kindled.
- We all receive God-given talents, and it is our duty to develop them energetically to realize their full potential, otherwise it is as if we are turning our nose up at the gifts of life.
- The pain is temporary. The freedom is permanent.
The Energy Body (Prana) – Vitality
- Prana, Chi, Ki – vital energy, life energy, the Holy Spirit in Christianity.
- Prana is God’s breath. Breath of life of all beings in the universe.
- Prana is the energy permeating the universe at all levels. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual, and cosmic energy.
- Prana carries awareness. It is the vehicle of consciousness.
- Prana is our link to the infinite cosmic intelligence (mahat).
- Hindus often say that GOD is Generator, Organizer, and Destroyer. Inhalation is the generating power, retention is the organizing power, and exhalation, if the energy is vicious, is the destroyer.
- Pranayama – the extension and expansion of all our vital energy.
- We live within our individual consciousness with its limited intelligence, often feeling lonely and puny, when there is conduit available directly to cosmic consciousness and intelligence. Pranayama is about restoring this conduit so that the intelligence bearing the energy of the macrocosm can illuminate our microcosm.
- We must live fully before we die. We must generate sufficient energy to realize our full potential.
- Watching the flow of the breath teaches stability of the consciousness, which leads to concentration.
- By learning to appreciate breath, we learn to appreciate life itself. The gift of breath is the gift of life. When we receive a gift, we feel gratitude. Through pranayama we learn gratitude for life and gratitude toward the unknown divine source of life.
- Pranayama is the beginning of withdrawal from the external engagement of the mind and senses. This is why it brings peacefulness.
- As leaves move in the wind, your mind moves with your breath. When breath is regulated and pacified, there is a neutralizing effect on the mind. When you hold your breath, you hold your soul. By retaining the full in-breath, you hold the divine infinite within yourself. At this moment you have reached the full potential of your individuality, but it is a divine individuality and not the small, selfish creature you normally take yourself for. By exhaling you generously give your individual self to the universal world. To expire means both to breath out and to die. What dies is the known I-sense, which clings passionately to its own identity and existence. In retention after exhalation, you experience life after death. The ego’s worst fear is confronted and conquered. The veil of illusion that shrouds the “me” is lifted.
- Inhalation engulfs the whole body with life. Exhalation surrenders that life to the source of life.
- We cannot eliminate stress and tension from our lives. That is not the point. Our aim is to be able to deal with stress as and when it arises, and not to imprint and accumulate it in the body’s various systems, including both conscious and unconscious memory.
- The cure to combat the three S’s – stress, strain, speed – can be found in three W’s – the work of devoted practice, the wisdom that comes of understanding the self and the world, and worship because ultimately surrendering what we cannot control allows the ego to relax and lose the anxiety of its own infinitesimally small self in the infinitude of the divine.
- Humans innately resist change because we feel safe with what is familiar and fear the insecurity that comes with something new. We tend to live in a familiar fixed routine and try to avoid accepting or even feeling what is beyond the known. But life inevitable oscillates, moves, and changes between the known and the unknown. So often we are not ready to accept the flow of life. We seek freedom but cling to bondage. We do not allow life to “happen” and take on its own shape.
- The yogic solution is to control the emotional disturbances and the mental fluctuations. Conscious self-control will save many a situation.
- Six emotional disturbances – lust, pride, obsession, anger, hatred, greed.
- Religion tell us to get rid of these emotions, but we cannot. They are human emotions that we will feel whether we want to or not.
- We carry around within the recollection of the mind our rancor, resentments, hates, greed, and lust, even when the motivating stimulus is absent. When we allow feelings to harden and coalesce into emotions, which we transport like overburdened slaves, we deny ourselves life’s freshness, its ever-present potential for renewal and transformation.
- Yoga is about transforming that energy to higher purposes.
- 99% of all human communication is emotional, not intellectual. Emotions, far more than thought, guide most behavior in the world. Emotions relate not only to what we feel, but to the value we place on things.
- Trust and faith bind us not only to each other but to the Universal.
- Virtue is an ideal. Integrity is an reality.
- The ego seeks power because it seeks self-perpetuation; it seeks at all costs to avoid its own inevitable demise.
- Lust is self-validation through consumption.
- Be fanatical with yourself but not with others.
- A passion for excellence is one thing; to force one’s beliefs and practices onto other people is another. That is ego; that is pride.
- Appetite for life is wonderful – for scents, for sights, for taste, and for color and human experience. You just have to learn to control it. Quality is more important than quantity. Take in the essence of life as you would smell the fragrance of a flower, delicately and deeply, with sensitivity and appreciation.
- We seek power from the accumulation of surplus; we are greedy for more than our fair share. In a finite world, we search for infinite satiation.
- We minimize our needs so that we can minimize our attachments and to maximize our contentment. The fewer our demands on life, the greater is our ability to see its bounty.
- Yoga is not asking us to refrain from enjoyment. Draw in the exquisite fragrance of the flower. Yoga is against bondage. Bondage is being tied to patterns of behavior from which we cannot withdraw. Repetition leads to boredom, and eventually boredom is a form of torture. Yoga says keep the freshness, keep the pristine, keep the virginity of sensitivity.
- The superficial sympathy we express for the woes of others, when we watch the nightly television news, for example, is often no more than a wish to feel good about ourselves, a sop to our own conscience. “I am a person of sensibility and feeling,” we say. Without action, this is mere self-indulgence.
- All illness fragments and so whatever integrates also heals. It is axiomatic in yoga that illness has its origin in the consciousness. Self-cultivation really begins only with total self-absorption, so anything that facilitates concentration, reflection, an inward absorption is going to begin to heal the problems of the fissured, imbalanced self.
- Our desire to control by description, interpretation, and consumption robs us of much of the scent, taste, and beauty of life.
- Involution means “turning in.” As though a rose should be shut and be a bud again.
The Mental Body (Manas) – Clarity
- A conceptual understanding is not a substitute for practice.
- An architectural plan is not the same thing as the building itself, but it is certainly an important element in bringing about its realization.
- Consciousness means our capacity to be aware, both externally as well as internally, which we call self-awareness.
- Mind is an aspect or part of consciousness.
- Consciousness is a double mirror, able to reflect the objects of the world, or the soul within.
- One good image for consciousness is a lake. The pure waters of a lake reflect the beauty around it (external), and one can also see right through the clear water to the bottom (internal). Similarly a pure mind can reflect the beauty in the world around it, and when the mind is still, the beauty of Self, or soul, is seen reflected in it. But we all know what stagnation and pollution do to a lake. As one has to keep the water of a lake clean, so it is yoga’s job to clean and calm the thought waves that disturb our awareness.
Happiness does not consist in acquiring the things we think will make us happy, but in learning to like doing the things we have to do anyway. – Descartes
Know yourself. Know what is good. Know when to stop. – Lao Tzu
- The specific quality of the mind is cleverness. All people are clever compared to other forms of life.
- Stupidity is the absence of intelligence.
- To innovate is to introduce the new, to engage in a process of change. To invent is to produce a different variation of the old.
- Two characteristics of intelligence:
- It is reflexive; it can stand outside the self and perceive objectively, not just subjectively.
- It can choose. It can choose to perform an action that is new, that is innovative. It can initiate change.
- After samadhi we return to our ego but use it as a necessary tool for living, not a substitute for soul.
- Mind produces thought and image all the time, like a television with no off switch. Thought moves too fast to catch and never, of its own accord, stops.
- The role of intelligence is to stop, to discern, to discriminate, to intervene.
- We feel happy when we are directing our own lives because we are experiencing a growing freedom. We are exploring the possibilities of life on earth through the release and realization of our own potential. Freedom is the innermost desire of all our hearts. It is the only desire that leads us toward unity and not separation. It makes possible our aspirations to love and be loved, and on its farthest shore, touches that union with infinity.
- Yoga takes us to an unconditioned freedom, because yoga sees even good habits as a form of conditioning or limitation.
- Deal with a the situation as it is; with moderation and lightness.
- Direct action stems from direct perception, the ability to see reality in the present, as it is, without prejudice, and act accordingly.
- Actions are either black, which means they are entirely rooted in selfish motivations and lead to painful consequences, or white, disinterested and good or, like most actions, grey, in that they stem from mixed motives and therefore bring mixed results.
- The yogic action is an action that is absolutely unfettered by past habit and without desire for personal reward in the future. It is the right thing in this present moment just because it is right and is colorless or taint-free.
- The soul is always outside the game of life, a Seer, not a player, and so when the ego-based human consciousness loses its identity in the Soul it can no longer be ensnared in pains and pleasures. The ego is then understood to be no more than an actor’s mask for the true self.
Yoga is about stilling the turbulence of consciousness. – Pantajali
- By breathing before acting, we are able to slow down our responses, inhale divinity, and surrender ego in our exhalation. This momentary pause allows us the time for cognitive reflection, corrective reaction, and reappraisal.
- A scab that we constantly pick will not heal. In the same way we have to let old wounds in memory heal over. This does not mean repressing them. It means that what is not fed will wither.
- Memory is absolutely necessary for the development of intelligence. Only when intelligence (buddhi) consults memory can it get at the information it needs to initiate the transformation it seeks. While mind reacts to memory, intelligence interrogates memory. Intelligence can conduct a thorough interrogation of memory to discern consequences and make connections that mind (manas) shies away from as they are too uncomfortable.
- Where nerves are, mind must be. Where mind is, so is memory. Any repetitive skillful action depends on that memory.
- Intelligence strives to see things as they are, but mind and memory tend to interpret these in relation to the past.
- When intelligence is awakened in the cells, then instinct is transformed into intuition and the past loses its deterministic grip on us, as our inner intelligence tells us what the future requires.
- Memory at the cellular level is at the service of intelligence in the form of intuition.
- When intelligence consults spontaneously with memory at each moment, then conscious intuition arises, and the word we give to conscious intuition is wisdom.
The Intellectual Body (Vijnana) – Wisdom
- Hatha Yoga – Sun (Ha) and Moon (Tha)
- Sun is the Soul and Moon is Consciousness.
- If our house is gloomy because the windows are dirty, we don’t say there is a problem with the sun; we clean the window.
- The consciousness must become passively alert – not placid like a cow contentedly chewing the cud, but alert and receptive like a wild deer in the forest, except that whereas the deer’s senses are turned outward, the yogi’s, with equal acuity, are directed inward.
- Three functions of consciousness (citta):
- Cognition – perceiving, knowing, and recognizing
- Volition – of will, which is the impulse to initiate action
- Motion – express the fire nature of mind, ever transforming itself
- All philosophies recognize that a pleasure-seeker will end up as a pain finder.
- The ancient Greeks said that moderation was the greatest virtue.
- When awareness is linked to intelligence, we are able to see with absolute honesty. When brain and body move in harmony, there is integrity.
- Socrates said quite simply that self-knowledge allows us to live deliberately out of a state of freedom.
- Most of us travel through life in the same way an 18-month-old baby walks. The reason he keeps putting one foot in front of the other is that if he doesn’t, he will fall over. His walk is a sustained totter, punctuated by falls. To live deliberately is to walk like an adult, to have balance, direction, and purpose and to walk in growing freedom and assurance toward the ultimate freedom.
- One should be natural, like a happy, confident child. The soul seeks nothing more than to expand to fill our whole being.
- Yoga is an interior penetration leading to integration of being, senses, breath, mind, intelligence, consciousness, and Self. It is an inward journey, evolution through involution, toward the Soul, which in its turn desires to emerge and embrace you in its glory.
- Yama and niyama (the ethical code) assist us in this reasoned restraint, acting as a firebreak for our behavior. Asana is a cleansing agent and pranayama begins to tug our consciousness (citta) away from desires and toward judicious awareness (prajna). Pratyahara is the stage at which we learn to reverse the current that flows from mind to senses, so that mind can bend its energies inward. Dharana (concentration) brings purity to intelligence (buddhi), and dhyana (meditation) expunges the stains of ego.
As the hot coal is covered by smoke, mirror by dust, embryo by the amnion, so the intoxicated intelligence covers the Self. – Bhagavad Gita 3.38
- True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness.
- Yoga is about how the Will, working with intelligence and the self-reflexive consciousness, can free us from the inevitability of the wavering mind and outwardly directed senses.
- I do not say, “I am meditating.” I am not. I am practicing asana but at a level where the quality is meditative. The totality of being, from core to skin, is experienced. Mind is unruffled, intelligence is awake in heard rather than in head, self is quiescent, and conscious life is in every cell of the body.
- Yoga is meditation, and meditation is yoga.
- Meditation is the stilling of the movements of consciousness.
- Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of consciousness.
- The yogi is journeying in the opposite direction, from the world of things and events, which are so joyful, painful, baffling, and unending, back to the point of stillness before the waves were ruffled.
- If we are a mansion with hundreds of rooms and corridors, we might say that normally we are always in one room or another. We are in our minds, in our memories, in our senses, in the future, eating so that we are in our stomachs, and thinking so that we are in our heads. We are always in one bit or another, but we never occupy all our inheritance. To experience the totality of being is to be in every room of the mansion at once with light streaming out of every window.
- We use the word kaivalya for the state of Ultimate Freedom that follows samadhi, a state of aloneness, which means that one has merged with the infinite and can therefore never again be taken in by the appearances of the world of diversity.
The Divine Body (Ananda) – Bliss
- Being ignorant of our true Self, we identify only with aspects of the natural world, which is in a state of flux.
- When we first asked the question, “Who am I?” what we were truly hoping for was to discover an enduring identity, beyond roles or function or attribute, a “real” Self, real in the sense that it is not menaced by the mortality of the flesh but that is permanent and unchanging.
- Discover the unknown, and you will encounter your own immortality.
- We judge by externals and by worthless comparisons. We lose the possibilities of joy in the existence of others. We expect others to perform according to our desires and expectations.
- The correct attitude to our “possessions” is gratitude, not ownership.
- Love is transcendental and transcends the separation of death.
- Naturally when you are sick, your biological body clings to life; it is supposed to. This is the struggle for existence, the reasonable desire to prolong the life of the vehicle of the soul. After all, it is not like a car. You cannot just buy another one.
- We are not our body in any permanent sense, but for all practical purposes we are our bodies, because they are the vehicles through which we perceive and can discover immortality.
- The Five Afflictions:
- Avidya – ignorance, lack of knowledge, lack of understanding
- Asmita – ego, sense of I-ness
- Raga – attachment or desire
- Dvesa – aversion, emotional repulsion and flight from pain, manifesting as prejudice and hatred
- Abhinivesa – fear of death, clinging to life
- Where there is pride there is always ignorance.
- When we begin asana, we worry about the shape of the pose, that is, how we look in the mirror, in other words, the space we exclude. By now we should be worrying about the space we include, the space within, for it is largely that which gives true life and beauty to the asana.
- The eyes belong to mind and fire, the ears to awareness and space. The eyes are the window of the brain, the ears are the window of the soul.
- The ears also witness silence. Silence is the music of samadhi.
- To yoga, nature is nature and spirit is spirit. They intercommunicate, and the spiritual Soul is supreme, the abiding reality. But we must take nature seriously as we belong to it and live in it. To dismiss it as an illusion by a philosophical sleight of hand is, to the yogic mind, naïve.
- Yoga sees nature and soul as inseparably joined like earth and sky are joined on the horizon.
- The Three Gunas (qualities of nature):
- Cosmic intelligence (mahat), which exists in all of us, is the first manifestation of the invisible. From cosmic intelligence sprout cosmic energy (prana) and consciousness (citta), and from these devolves ego (ahamkara) or the sense of self. From the one root comes duality (which is the ability to separate), from duality comes vibration (which is the pulse of life beginning), from vibration comes invisible manifestation, and from the invisible comes the visible in all its glorious and horrendous diversity and multiplicity.
- Yoga dissects but it is not only analytical. It examines in order to know, like science, but it wants to know in order to penetrate, to integrate, and to reconstruct through practice and detachment the perfection of nature’s original intention.
- We struggle from the gross material world into the subtle heart of nature, like the salmon returning to their source for both death and regeneration.
- …recognizing that whether the fault is his or not, the solution is in his hands.
- The knowledge and the effort are all within you. It is as simple and difficult as learning to discipline our own minds and hearts, our bodies and breath.
- When the clouds covering the sun move away, the sun shines brilliantly. In the same way when the covering of the self in the form of afflictions, disturbances, and impediments is removed, the Self shines brilliantly in its own glory.
- Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.
- Remember the Greek root meaning for actor is “hypocrite”.
Living in Freedom
- The Ultimate Freedom is the fusion of our individual soul with the Universal Soul, as we release our own wants and wishes for a higher purpose and a higher knowledge of the will of the Absolute in our lives.
- Ordinary people say, “I live my life.” The yogi is aware that it is the Divine Breath that lives us. And he can see that Divine Breath in others. His insight penetrates at all times beneath the surface of appearances. Essence is more real than expression.
- Kaivalya is both freedom and aloneness. It is the aloneness of a prime number that, indivisible by any other number except Oneness itself, lives in unassailable innocence and virtue. The yogi has experienced the freedom that comes from realizing that life has nothing to do with perpetuating the existing of our mortal selves, either in its physical or egoic forms.
- The realized yogi continue to function in the world, but free from the desires of motivation and free from the desire of the fruit or rewards of action.
- Spiritual maturity exists when there is no difference between thought itself and the action that accompanies it.
- A spiritual man with his knowledge and wisdom perceives the differences of age and intelligence between himself and others, but he never loses sight of the fact that the inner being is identical. Even though the man possesses an inner knowledge of such depth and subtlety that he visibly lives in a state of exalted wisdom, he also visibly lives with his feet planted firmly on the ground. He is practical and deals with people and their problems as and where they are.
- The free man, although he still lives in a world of cause and effect, has learned to tread very lightly and to act with great precision.
- Cleverness, acting alone, can be seen as a centrifugal force, likely to spin ever faster and to lose control of its original intention. Yogic knowledge is, on the contrary, a centripetal force, forever discarding the irrelevant in order to invest in the search for the core of being where enduring truth resides.
- To relax is to cut tension. To cut tension is to cut the threads that bin us to identity. To lose identity is to find out who we are not.
- The problem with Time is this. We can conceive of it only in spatial terms, like a running river or a piece of string. We divide up the string into decades, years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. These are lengths of time, and whatever time is, it is not fair or accurate to treat it as a dimension of space.
- Acting takes places over time; it has duration. Being transcends time. A state of being can be achieved only by cutting all threads that bind to past or future.
- The ultimate yogic triumph is to live in kaivalya, outside time, you might say, but really inside it, inside its heart, disconnected from past and from future. That is to live always in the kernel of the present.
- Being is not static, but like the heating water, it is a moment in present time, in certain state or condition, and from which, if we continue to add the flame of zealous practice, suddenly another state will spontaneously emerge, as if by magical transformation…We perceive only the sequence of these transformations in time, which is why we are caught in the illusion of becoming, instead of just being, and then being again, and being again, separately but transformatively, ad infinitum.
- Life puts us in one place and time, and we must live it to the best of our abilities from that point.
- The Four Aims of Life (Purusartha):
- It is our training for the greatest detachment that leads to the ultimate freedom, kaivalya.
- Tradition is like a beautiful statue, which over the years, gradually returns to a raw lump of stone. It is our duty to chisel away at it and recarve the beauty of the original form within.
Behaving morally to ward other people requires that we respect them for themselves, instead of using them as a means for our enrichment or glory.
- The yogi cannot be afraid to die, because he has brought life to every cell of his body. We are afraid to die, because we are afraid that we have not lived. The yogi has lived.
- A yogi becomes a dharma – a righteous person who merely enacts his duty as an end and fulfillment in itself. This is what keeps him clean and free from worldly entanglements.
- Wealth is energy, and energy is intended to circulate. By covetousness or miserly clinging on, we stop energy from flowing, from creating more energy, and eventually, by this offence against natural law, it is we who are impoverished and poisoned by our own hoarding of life’s riches.
- We are creatures that are designed for continual challenge. We must grow, or we begin to die. The status quo leads to stagnation and discontent. Standing still is not an option, we have to move on.
- Asana should be comfortable and steady. The steadiness comes only when the effort has ended.
- Both birth and death are beyond the will of a human being. They are not my domain. I do not think about it. If one is already free from that complexity, death comes naturally and smoothly.
Asanas for Emotional Stability [PDF]
Tags: Esoteric, Faith, Present, Tarot, Zen
A fool is one who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience. You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it.
Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don´t try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, herenow, as if just born, just a babe.
In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you…let them. They are poor fellows. Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen, because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you.
And each time you don´t allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallized.
Moment to moment, and with every step, the Fool leaves the past behind. He carries nothing more than his purity, innocence and trust, symbolized by the white rose in his hand. The pattern on his waistcoat contains the colors of all four elements of the tarot, indicating that he is in harmony with all that surrounds him. His intuition is functioning at its peak. At this moment the Fool has the support of the universe to make this jump into the unknown. Adventures await him in the river of life.
The card indicates that if you trust your intuition right now, your feeling of the ‘rightness’ of things, you cannot go wrong. Your actions may appear ‘foolish’ to others, or even to yourself, if you try to analyze them with the rational mind. But the ‘zero’ place occupied by the Fool is the numberless number where trust and innocence are the guides, not skepticism and past experience.
When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise — to deny the political character of the modern corporation — is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are the students who instruct in error. Let there be no question: economics, so long as it is thus taught, becomes, however unconsciously, a part of the arrangement by which the citizen or student is kept from seeing how he or she is, or will be, governed.
I believe the greatest error in economics is in seeing the economy as a stable, immutable structure.
A nuclear war does not defend a country and it does not defend a system. I’ve put it the same way many times; not even the most accomplished ideologue will be able to tell the difference between the ashes of capitalism and the ashes of communism.
- John Kenneth Galbraith