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Living the Yoga Life: The Importance of Independence

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Here are two pieces of good advice to the yogi.

First, be self-sufficient; understand that all the resources of the spirit are in you and delve deep within and bring forth these divine potentials and actualize them in your life and consciousness. The yogi must be “a world unto himself” in the sense of perfect self-sufficiency and independence.

Second, understand that all that is outside is primarily inside. So you must develop the inner eye to truly see, understand and deal with all things. The inner life must be understood and experienced as the genuine life. “He whose happiness is within, whose delight is within, whose illumination is within: that yogi, identical in being with Brahman, attains Brahmanirvana” (Bhagavad Gita 5:24).

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Everything must be tested in our own life laboratory. Our experience must be taken into account, illumined with straightforward good sense. This is a cardinal principle of spiritual life, and is as much ignored as it is necessary. Everyone cites some kind of authority and accepts that, when the only real authority is our own knowing. Certainly we should study the teachings of the wise, but our purpose should be to further our own search for the revelation of truth. Truth must be realized by each individual. No one can impart enlightenment to us, we must gain it ourselves. There are no exceptions. A thing can only really be true when it is part of our own knowing, our own experience. This is one of the glories of yoga: it enables each person to know for himself what is true and real. Nothing need be proven to the yogi, it only needs to be experienced by him.

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We must hold on to our ideals and pursue them without caring what others think of us. And we should not waste our time attempting to explain or justify ourselves.

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There are those who muddle through life together, copying one another mindlessly and running with the herd. These are the people obsessed with “community” and “relationship.” The yogi must break loose and strike out on his own if he is to be a real person on any level. It is good if he can find other (real) yogis to associate with, but never to just run with a herd.

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Few things terrify some people more than original thought or original action. I knew a very intelligent and creative man whom a colleague tried to insult by saying to him: “You are an ‘original.’” An original is always worth more than a copy, even in the yoga world.

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One of the first steps in the yoga life is the decision to live entirely by one’s principles. “A law unto himself” is a good description of a yogi in relation to society. The more an organism evolves, the more complex and the more individual it becomes. That is also true of an evolving consciousness. “To thine own self be true” is profound wisdom.

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Children, absorbed in their toys and romping around, cannot conceive that there is anything more enjoyable or satisfying. That is why they often bring toys to adults and cannot understand when they are not interested in playing with them as they are. As they grow older, they themselves become totally disinterested in such things, seeing nothing interesting in the diversions of childhood. Quite the opposite: they see them as silly and pointless. The same thing will happen for those who grow beyond ordinary consciousness and seek ever higher levels of awareness. They will find “normal” interests boring, foolish, or even harmful. Having left behind the obvious, they have begun to live in realms unthought of by those living around them heedlessly.

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It is the innate nature of a plant that determines what it produces. Growth is the manifestation-demonstration of what is the inner character of the plant. So it is with human beings. Even if a large number of people have the same environment, yet they will differ in their character and development. True life is from the inside out, not the outside in. For a successful life we must live according to our inner character, our swabhava, and work according to our swadharma. To do this intelligently we must have experience of our inner being through meditation.

Next in Living the Yoga Life: The Intelligent Path

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About to Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga: Introduction

    1. Living the Yoga Life: Climbing the Ladder of Consciousness
    2. Living the Yoga Life: Sanatana Dharma, Sanatana Yoga
    3. Living the Yoga Life: The Atman/Self
    4. Living the Yoga Life: Bhakti and Jnana
    5. Living the Yoga Life: Brahman
    6. Living the Yoga Life: Ishwara
    7. Living the Yoga Life: Breath
    8. Living the Yoga Life: India and Sanatana Dharma
    9. Living the Yoga Life: The Importance of Independence
    10. Living the Yoga Life: The Intelligent Path
    11. Living the Yoga Life: The Internal Life
    12. Living the Yoga Life: Japa and Sound (Shabda)
    13. Living the Yoga Life: Japa with the Breath
    14. Living the Yoga Life: Jnana
    15. Living the Yoga Life: The Jnani
    16. Living the Yoga Life: Karma and Karma Yoga
    17. Living the Yoga Life: Kundalini
    18. Living the Yoga Life: Liberation
    19. Living the Yoga Life: It Is All Up To Us
    20. Living the Yoga Life: Madness, Divine and Worldly
    21. Living the Yoga Life: Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intelligence/Intellect)
    22. Living the Yoga Life: Buddhi Yoga
    23. Living the Yoga Life: True Masters (And Not)
    24. Living the Yoga Life: Maya
    25. Living the Yoga Life: Meditation
    26. Living the Yoga Life: Prana
    27. Living the Yoga Life: Raja Yoga
    28. Living the Yoga Life: Reincarnation
    29. Living the Yoga Life: Religion
    30. Living the Yoga Life: Samadhi
    31. Living the Yoga Life: Sadhana
    32. Living the Yoga Life: Dedication to Spiritual Life
    33. Living the Yoga Life: Self-realization
    34. Living the Yoga Life: Shivashakti
    35. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Experience
    36. Living the Yoga Life: The Spiritual Teacher
    37. Living the Yoga Life: Subtle Anatomy
    38. Living the Yoga Life: The World
    39. Living the Yoga Life: Worship
    40. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga, the Body and the World
    41. Living the Yoga Life: Dharma and Adharma
    42. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga–The Supreme Dharma
    43. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga Nidra
    44. Living the Yoga Life: The Yogi
    45. Living the Yoga Life: Some Advice to Yogis
    46. Living the Yoga Life: Qualities of a Yogi
    47. Living the Yoga Life: This and That
    48. Living the Yoga Life: Touch Not
    49. Living the Yoga Life: The Gita Speaks To The Yogi
    50. Living the Yoga Life: How It Is Done
    51. Living the Yoga Life: Use your mind
    52. Living the Yoga Life: Some things it is wise to avoid
    53. Living the Yoga Life: Things you should definitely do and have in your life
    54. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Reading
    55. Living the Yoga Life: Gorakhnath Speaks To The Yogi
    56. Living the Yoga Life: And A Final Word From Me
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