Sati: Yoga & Philosophy

10 Thought Bites On Yoga And Contemplative Practice

 From the last few months….
1. We may often readily accept the worth of not clinging/identifying to our illnesses and injuries. Yet, we often forget the equal value of not clinging to our health and vitality. Equanimity is sacrificed if we cling to either, for the seed of fear is navigating this grip. Illness or wellness, we would do well to regard with a balanced, unattached mind. All is impermanent. All is an opportunity to develop more nourishing karma. Yet, neither is representative of our innate boundless being.
2.  The ego that which we must transcend and or dissolve, we must also nourish most profoundly—for it is the location of spiritual exercise. It is the location of transformation. It is the vehicle by which we must ride, in loving quest for selflessness. Cradle her. Embrace him. Prepare it for the alchemy of liberating exercise. With all of its shadows and possibility for chaos. With all of its channels for luminous compassion. With its front doors, back doors, side exits, and hidden crevices between the floorboards. This mighty feature that exhibits the arcane, profane, and venerated features of worldly creation. To you, I give water. I give sun. I give rest—so we may continue.

3. Greater degrees of well-being brings us a refined discrimination of what unacceptable conditions are that lead to suffering of the mind/heart/body.

4. If we are going to have really productive discussions about Yoga asana practice it would benefit to cease having discussions about asana practice devoid of the deeper contexts it sits within including; psychology, emotions, energetics, ethics, and metaphysical “View” including karma—the last being perhaps the most valuable. Treating the body as if it has nothing to do with those dimensions or those dimensions have no relevance to how you experience the body or asana practice—right here, right now—is in my opinion, a very limited, untrained, inexperienced view of contemplative practice and spiritual insight. It is a rationalistic, materialistic view with pretty severe boundaries that do not extend beyond the basic sense faculties. We have a recent rush of articles about asana and the body filled with people angry about “injuries” without a profound look at the attachment, aversion, and suffering in their responses. We have people searching for the “best” and wanting to create the “perfect” asana practice. It is a journey that is akin to someone trying to manifest a “perfect” samsara. Someone trying eradicate suffering in samsara. Ain’t gonna happen. At least not through the quadrillionth attempt at manipulating matter with a limited, unrealized view. Yet, generally folks do not like to hear that. Because it means they have to develop a more mature inquiry practice (a.k.a. practice Yoga). It means they will have to move beyond basic conceptual thinking powers and physical prowess. However, if we started to push these discussions deeper into absorption and how meditative insight alters and “clears up” our clouded, segregated sense of self (and the body is included in that) we would perhaps realize that beyond a very basic level, it really does not matter how you stack your bones. It matters how deeply absorbed you become into the recesses of your perception. It matters how you relate to the sensation of self. In the light of profound wisdom and direct insight beyond the five senses, the normal rules do not apply. It is a new world and with it, a new understanding of what “body” is—what it is capable of and how it can be IN SERVICE of spiritual insight.

5. Every passing year my ability to retain knots in my heart diminishes. I credit this to my practice and study.

6. Genuine spiritual practice is a practice of radical intimacy.

7. If you want to know the current limits of your patience, compassion, and wisdom leave what makes you comfortable.

If you want to know the current limits of your patience, compassion, and wisdom go out of your way to make someone else comfortable.

If you want to expand and nourish your patience, compassion, and wisdom, do either or both of the above.

8. Sometimes I think dharma teachings or yoga philosophy should be translated as: profound sanity.

9. If you hear a Yoga teacher say that Yoga helps you discover your authentic Self and by authentic Self they mean the “you” that now practices Yoga, then that teacher has taught a concept that is in direct conflict with the authentic Yoga tradition. For the record, the sages pretty much agree that your authentic Self does not practice Yoga, live in Bali, do handstands, or instagram for that matter.

10. Seems like there are a lot of articles being written lately about the misappropriation of Buddhism in the West, in particularly the use of mindfulness meditation practices (minus the aim of enlightenment and basic Buddhist ethics) by corporate companies to increase profit. The latest flush of articles seem to be due to the “protest” or “interruption” during the presentation by Google at the Wisdom 2.0 conference. Well, all I can say to my fellow Buddhists is…welcome to what we have dealt with for years in Yoga! And really it does not surprise me. If a mind has not been “cooked” by practice how can it produce enlightened understanding and action? If you are dealing with a highly clinging mind, it will pick anything—seemingly sacred or profane, to fortify its identity or clinging no matter how outrageous; for example, what the Chinese government did in installing a fake Panchen Lama. I do not think the root power and teachings of Buddhism and Yoga are being ruined. How could they? Only untrained minds, varied and paradoxical, kind, and clinging working with aspects of these traditions in varying levels of sincerity that will produce their own fruits or toxins. These traditions are new here. And there will be growing pains. However, there is plenty of scandal in these traditions in the lands where they have been established for centuries. At the end of the day, it is the quality of the mind of each individual that determines the quality of action and thereby transmission. Discrimination and clarity and even a genuine attempt of establishing some level of “quality” is ideal, but we must be sure that we do this while not clinging to our own traditions which easily inflames our own kleshas, even while we may wish to “save the dharma” or “save yoga” etc. However charitable the aim, if grasping is motivating us, it will turn us into “victims” and create an easy “us and them” view which dehumanizes the precious, complex sentient being who we disagree with or even abhor the actions of. Easily provoked, we will become angry, greedy, and violent and suddenly “the aim to save” has instead, created the very monster mind the dharma and yoga seeks to heal and dissolve.  (March, 9 2014)



This entry was posted on August 14, 2014 by .
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