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Best of Yoga Philosophy

Best of Yoga Philosophy

The very best Yoga philosophy articles from all over the Web, selected by me, Bob Weisenberg (former Yoga Editor elephant journal). Wordpress fb twitter below:

We Drum Because We Can't Stop our Fingers from Moving. ~ Jerome Burdi ~ "When he’s in the zone, you fall into the zone, riding the wave of rhythm wherever it goes. He can pull you into his wave, and all of a sudden you’re playing better than you thought you could..."

Since I'm learning Italian, I'm reading the Bhagavad Gita in Italian. Found it free online, and lots of other good stuff at the link at the end of the page. (I know it's a very specialized interest, but I just couldn't resist posting it here, just in case anyone else is interested.)

Gita in a Nutshell #5: Why Is the Gita So Upsetting At First? ~ "Is it any wonder that many readers stop right there and say, “I don’t need this. I’m going to find something more uplifting to read”?...You’ll be encouraged to know that Arjuna, at the beginning of chapter 3, pretty much says to Krishna, “Are you crazy or something”. He has some of the the same problems we do!"

If you happen to be in Milwaukee, I'm teaching a six week Bhagavad Gita Workshop starting April 23 at the Kanyakumari Center: "The Bhagavad Gita has a reputation for being difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way. In this workshop you will not only come to understand the "Gita" and its history and background, but you'll develop a close personal relationship with this timeless work, connecting the wisdom of the Gita to your everyday life..." www.kanyakumari.u...

From Rejection/Assertion to Rejection/Possibility: Remixing Śaṅkara at 30K feet ~ My good friend Matthew seems to think that feeling one with the universe is a rejection of humanness. See my rebuttal and join in the discussion. --Bob W.

  • Best of Yoga Philosophy

    One could dissect and reject almost any romantic or transcendentalist or Rumi (!) poem, in the same way. Try “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman, for example. Haven’t you ever felt like the ocean and not just the wave? Does this make you feel any less a wave? Does knowing you are literally made of stardust make you feel less of a living breathing feeling human being? Why does it have to be an either / or? For many of us who enjoy a feeling of oneness with the universe, it makes us feel simultaneously more fleshily human as well. For some of us, being able to feel like part of the ocean makes us appreciate our waveness (= fleshy humanness) even more. I don’t understand your black and white, all or nothing, thinking here. If I emerge from reading the Upanishads or from a performance of the Bach B-minor Mass feeling one with the universe it doesn’t mean that I am any less fleshy or human. Don’t you think Sankara is metaphorically and somewhat extremely expressing a spiritual feeling he’s having, not necessarily rejecting his everyday life in the process, or positing an alternative to obvious physical reality? Don’t you think that perhaps he’s just struggling to metaphorically express these very human feelings of transcendence as best, however extremely or imperfectly he can, with imperfect words, just like all the other writers and poets (and artists and musicians) try to do in their work? Bob

“Vedic” Astrology: A Strange and Lovely Art from Time Gone By, Rife with Tender Bullshit Today ~ Matthew Remski ~ "I’ll try to do two things in this article. First, to nail down the hard facts about astrology and how it confounds the intelligence of contemporary yoga...through magical thinking and perverted power dynamics. Then I’ll turn to my personal experience of this archaic art, to help illustrate its seduction, and why it’s dying so hard..."

Rumi Turns 800 ~ Anna Poplawska ~ "Rumi was born in 1207 in what is now Afghanistan, although he lived most of his life in Turkey. His poems, which are about love, life and God, have been widely translated; and today he is considered the best-selling poet in the U.S. and in the world..."

Honoring the Feminine Heart - Catherine Ghosh ~ "An open heart is one absorbed in divine love, like Goddess Radha’s, and thus characterizes a person who embodies the Divine Feminine. Radha’s love is so variegated and boundless that it multiplies into innumerable goddesses, called Gopis, each embodying a uniquely personal way of expressing love..."

Gita in a Nutshell #4: "Each of us is already infinitely wondrous— miraculous, awe-inspiring, unfathomable. Our wondrous nature is the same as the infinite wonder of the universe. We experience this infinite wonder by waking up to reality..."

Alan Watts Resurrected in "Her". ~ Philip Goldberg ~ "I suspect that Watts would love the idea of facilitating a plot twist in a movie as offbeat as Her, and that he would relish Spike Jonze’s blend of science fiction, Hollywood romance, and cosmic consciousness. I’m sure he would love the Zennish play of mind-boggling ideas, like an operating system whose consciousness evolves in accord with the yogic template he elucidated so well..."

Arjuna saw the whole universe / enfolded, with its countless billions / of life forms, gathered together in the body of the God of gods. (Bhagavad Gita 11.13) / I see you everywhere, with billions / of arms, eyes, bellies, faces, / without end, middle, or beginning, your body the whole universe, Lord. (BG 11.16)

Krishna's 10 Definitions of Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita ~ Catherine Ghosh ~ "6. Yoga is a heightened sensitivity and awareness of all life around us and within us, and an outpour of love in reciprocation with life’s wonder and beauty. .."

Finding the Heart of Yoga in Italy. ~ Brooke Hamblet ~ "This was not just a vacation or a teaching trip; it was the first chapter of my new life, where I could re-discover myself as human, woman, teacher and global contributor, starting with simple conversations next to a lemon tree on the veranda..."

The Miraculous in the Mundane: Richard Feyman Explains How Rubber Bands Work ~ "Peeling away of the mundane to reveal the magnificent is the greatest gift and most lasting legacy of Richard Feynman — champion of scientific culture, graphic novel hero, crusader for integrity, secret artist..."

  • Best of Yoga Philosophy

    I once wrote this in my essay "Yoga Demystified": What about a paper clip? In many ways a paper clip is as wondrous as a galaxy. To begin with, like the galaxy, a paper clip consists of millions and millions of things (molecules, atoms, and the even smaller quarks) interacting with each other in complex ways. Then consider what happens to all these tiny elements and how they have to interact with each other. They’re not spinning around an axis like the stars in a galaxy, but, then again, a galaxy can’t bend and spring back into shape like a paper clip can. If you were small enough to stand on the nucleus of an atom within a paper clip, it would be a lot like standing on earth surrounded by stars. Now, consider what it took to design and make that paper clip–the metallurgy and engineering that led to the precise formulation of just the right flex, the mines that had to be dug to extract the raw materials, the processing plants that transformed the raw materials into the right metal, the machines that had to be designed and built to manufacture thousands of paper clips a minute. Somewhere in the world, there is a person who is an expert in paper clips, for whom the whole world revolves around the design and manufacture of paper clips. He or she can tell you the entire history of the development of the paper clip, and what people did before there were paper clips, and who invented it, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of all the different possible designs and materials for paper clips, and the future of the paper clip, and where we go from here, etc. etc. Convinced yet? In reality, everything within our perception is utterly fantastical and pretty much unfathomable. If a paper clip is wondrous, is not everything wondrous? What’s surprising is that we are not in a continual state of gaga just perceiving whatever is in front of us at any given moment.

Making a Living, Making a Life. ~ Roseanne Harvey ~ "The truth is that while my practice supports many aspects of my personal and spiritual development, it falls short around issues of money. What I am craving is a real and honest conversation about how we relate to money, and ways to integrate my financial practices into my understanding of my whole self..."

Threads Of Yoga – An Interview With Matthew Remski ~ "So why has this text been translated and commented upon uncritically as an object of faith for the last 150 years with vanishingly little regard for the paradigm it is encountering currently? Why is an ascetic meditation manual advocating anti-social goals at the heart of the modern postural movement, as if it has anything specific to say about asana?"

"the universe is born within me, / and within me will be destroyed." (Bhagavad Gita 7.6) Don't miss this marvelous short film about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. --Bob W.

Gita in a Nutshell #3: Focus the Mind ~ "Constantly mastering his mind, / the man of yoga grows peaceful, / attains supreme liberation, / and vanishes into my bliss. (BG 6.15)

A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality ~ John Murphy ~ "He credits a Van Halen concert, with a 20-minute guitar solo, as one amplified gateway into elation. This engagement with the mosh pit and the mass energy of rock, as well as the gentler flow of the Hindu kirtan musical ceremony he favors now, offers a refreshing contrast and a necessary outreach to similarly minded people who love music, loud or soft, as one avenue into the mystic.."

How Waldo Changed My World ~ Elizabeth Olsen ~ “Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God..."

Building Inner Peace: Yoga’s transformative effect on peacebuilding efforts in war-torn societies. ~ Simone Datzberger ~ "Practising yoga in Africa not only brings about new challenges but also gains an entirely new dimension..."

Contemplating Impermanence ~ Frank Jude Boccio ~ "The attempt to "freeze-dry" elements of your life squeezes the vitality out of life. The practice of nonattachment allows you to enjoy life wholeheartedly in its very passing..."

From Catherine Ghosh: A beautiful soul describing her relationship with music, and the wonderful effect it had on her, even in the horrifying context of a Nazi concentration camp, where her life was spared because she was a pianist: "Everything bad is beautiful. It has to be!…Only when we are old, do we become aware of the beauty in all of life." "Music…gives soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, charm, and gaiety to life, and everything!" ~Plato~

The discovery of the invincible summer within ~ Jeff McMahon ~ "Have you ever noticed that great writers, when they’re great, are sudden yogis?"