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Living the Yoga Life: Use your mind

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God gave us a brain so we would use it. As a child I noticed that people turned off their mind when they entered the church door and turned it back on when they left. Considering the idiocy of what they saw, did and heard there, it was no doubt a good idea, but it would have been better if they had recognized foolish religion for what it was and searched for something better. So I was very disappointed when after becoming a yogi I constantly saw people agreeing with stupidity, arrogance and misinformation dispensed by teachers and other authority figures of the yoga world. No matter how moronic the “reasoning” handed them, they just looked bright-eyed and noble and said: “O yes!” Nothing can come of this pious acquiescence to ignorance and falsehood.

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Here it is in a nutshell: Spot The Looney. And acknowledge the looney as being a looney and their looniness as being looniness. Forget the hype, the miracle stories, the accounts of great yoga feats, the list of what “big” people revere them, the prophecies of supposed saints about how great they were going to be or are. A fool is a fool and none more vicious than a religious/spiritual fool. Some are not fools but heartless frauds. So look closely and long and make your own conclusion about the teachers, gurus and avatars that abound now they have found the wealth of the West. And that includes the ones in India waiting like spiders for you to come fall into their web.

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In East and West people have a reputation for holiness and avatarness that are really foolish or crazy. Some are senile in varying degrees. The same applies to yoga. If you notice that the practicers of a yoga are either duds or falling apart mentally and physically, then get away and stay away. Ignore their rhapsodies about how beneficial it has been to them–this only proves the depth of their delusion.

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Trust your own experience. If a yoga is not delivering the goods, drop it. Do not be fooled by the old nonsense about not digging in a number of places rather than sticking to one. When professionals drill for water or oil, if they do not find any after some days or weeks they have the sense to abandon the site and drill elsewhere. Drill a thousand “holes” if necessary until you find one that gives real results. How will you know? Right away you will begin seeing the positive spiritual effects, which will keep on developing from your practice.

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Here is the wisdom of Swami Vivekananda about much of supposed yoga and the supposed gurus who peddle it: “They exercise a singular control for the time being over sensitive persons, alas! often, in the long run, to degenerate whole races. Ay, it is healthier for the individual or the race to remain wicked than be made apparently good by such morbid extraneous control. One’s heart sinks to think of the amount of injury done to humanity by such irresponsible yet well-meaning religious fanatics. They little know that the minds which attain to sudden spiritual upheaval under their suggestions, with music and prayers, are simply making themselves passive, morbid, and powerless, and opening themselves to any other suggestion, be it ever so evil. Little do these ignorant, deluded persons dream that whilst they are congratulating themselves upon their miraculous power to transform human hearts, which power they think was poured upon them by some Being above the clouds, they are sowing the seeds of future decay, of crime, of lunacy, and of death. Therefore, beware of everything that takes away your freedom. Know that it is dangerous, and avoid it by all the means in your power.”

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Never take vows to a guru or institution, and especially not before being given the “secret techniques.” Nobody with an operating mind would buy something they had never seen, making non-refundable payment in advance. No worthy spiritual teacher would require this, either. How can you reasonably declare loyalty and adherence to something or someone you do not know? As Sri Ramakrishna said: “Be a devotee, but why a fool?”

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Furthermore, wherever there is secrecy there is usually charlatanry. A lot of egotists like to think they know something others do not. Remember the children in your childhood that liked to sing-song: “I know something you don’t know!”? Yogis immersed in secrets and secrecy are both immature and false. One time we met a “light of yoga” after he had given a slide lecture on India, throughout which he had expressed contempt for the land and the people. When told we had associated many years with one of the best-known teachers of modern India, he asked eagerly: “Did you learn any secret techniques?” because he and his organization trafficked in such phony spiritual currency. Why it did not occur to him that once a secret is told it is no longer a secret is beyond me.

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Swami Vivekananda had this to say about secrecy in yoga: “In India, for various reasons, it [yoga] fell into the hands of persons who destroyed ninety per cent of the knowledge, and tried to make a great secret of the remainder.… Anything that is secret and mysterious in these systems of Yoga should be at once rejected. The best guide in life is strength. In religion, as in all other matters, discard everything that weakens you, have nothing to do with it. Mystery-mongering weakens the human brain. It has well-nigh destroyed Yoga–one of the grandest of sciences. From the time it was discovered, more than four thousand years ago, Yoga was perfectly delineated, formulated, and preached in India. It is a striking fact that the more modern the commentator the greater the mistakes he makes, while the more ancient the writer the more rational he is. Most of the modern writers talk of all sorts of mystery. Thus Yoga fell into the hands of a few persons who made it a secret, instead of letting the full blaze of daylight and reason fall upon it. They did so that they might have the powers to themselves.”

Next in Living the Yoga Life: Some things it is wise to avoid

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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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