Listen to Part Two: readings from “The Secret of the Yamas”

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277 responses »

  1. The principles delineated by the Yama are idealistic and admirable. I do believe that people can adhere to these concepts. However, there is one great wall that many people will not be able to get over: discipline. The importance of discipline cannot be overstated. Sure, everyone should be a more caring and understanding human being. But actually becoming one is truly difficult. This is why many take the emotional easy routes. It is much more immediately satisfying to be a selfish, arrogant person. But like junk food, even though it is easier to act this why in the moment, it does not have healthy long term effects.

    It takes a truly committed person to achieve the aspects of Yama. Imagine ascending to such a point where you can be as good of a person as you can possibly be. While it may sound impossible to most, I can imagine that being in tune with these principles is quite enriching to say the least.

  2. I enjoyed this reading and its use of the asanas in correlation to finding the deeper meaning within ourselves as individuals. Dating back to as far as humans go, we’ve always had natural instincts such love, hate, greed, envy, and so forth. Which is why I thought the expression of the yamas such as, non violence, non-stealing, chastity absence, of greed and truthfulness were key and so relatable to me. All of these qualities mentioned are traits that really make up the personality and characteristics of a person, and it is through these characteristics that we reflect onto others. We reflect these traits in order to become a better version of ourselves and for those around us. Commonly, we find ourselves balancing these traits,which is why I appreciated the listening where it stated, “Love flowers truly when the heart and mind are in perfect union.” Through the teachings of the Yamasan its asanas, we can find rhythm and melody within ourselves, through it far more than physical discipline that we achieve a true mental state of awareness. It is through the discipline of our psyche that “arrogance can be transformed into humility.” Furthermore, as stated in the reading, “we strive to become something greater.” I feel that through the practice of our Isha Kriya and the Yamas, we can find the interchangeable peace in which we all strive for.

  3. I don’t think surprising our desires is what he is hinting to in this passage. I think he’s hinting at the middle path, finding balance in what we want and not letting our desires overcome us. Aristotle talks about living within our means. He describes it loosely as having what you need and then being able to get a little bit of what you want. I think this is a great reminder for all of us in this day and age where we are so keen on having the next best thing, or what our friends have. I think this reading is so helpful and relevant in today’s world.

    I also think it is important to mention that seeking out the solution will never fully help us get there. Once our minds are fixated on that, we’ve yet again distracted ourselves from the path of consciousness. As the example of working weekends to please your boss and wanting to stay home to please your spouse illustrates, desire leads to more desire, and thus we are trapped in the endless cycle of suffering ( and rebirth to adhere to buddhist teachings). If we can recognize the things we want, work to attain them, but not work so hard as to loose track of other aspects of life, then we can begin out journey towards the middle path.

  4. The yamas seem to be a specific set of rules and guidelines for a person or societal entity to follow to potentially achieve a sense of balance and completeness. The thoughts and opinions surrounding the practices of yoga are always believed to be a mostly physical but the mental and spiritual aspect is often neglected and left out of conversation. I was once ignorant to the nuances that encompass the full complete practice of yoga. As my background and upbringing didn’t allow me to see the benefits. I am now fully invested in becoming a balanced individual and productive member of society. Though i may not be able to practice full meditation everyday i can at least focus on breathing in my down time and moments of stress.
    This is where the saying “i am not the body, i am not even the mind” comes into play. We often place strains on ourself to be what society wants us to be. But you should feel free and comfortable in your own body and mind space. The confines of religion, sexuality, and social norms restrict individuals from achieving their full potential. Namaste

  5. I really enjoyed that you called them “logical guidelines”, it is a consciousness that is necessary while following them. Knowing that these disciplines will come together with when you become one. Using your example of imitating rather than following your own path will not create success. Your desires are not yours, they are others wants that you think are yours. These approaches are showing us to take different routes and following our path which is what I truly enjoy.

    It is often seen that there are no original thoughts but we are backpacking off of one another. This practice is a need for many seeing how often people tend to follow one another. It is a great task and it also is trialing but it is worth it.

  6. The post struck pretty close to home for me as lately I have been struggling with not allowing myself to stay focused on the negative aspects of my life. Recently, I have been struggling with mood swings and being unable to see the positive in many things. Namely, I can’t even get myself to say “I’m doing well” when someone asks. However, I will say that after leaving class I always find myself in a better mood as well as when I practice the Isha Kryia and am hoping to bump up the amount of practice I do outside of class as it is so beneficial for me. I also would like to work on my empathy for others as I do struggle with emotion and would like to be more reachable for my friends and family.

  7. Tyler Schrader

    Yammas is something i will now look into more in depth. The practice of self discipline to avoid negative actions such as selfishness. I always strive to create a non violence, absence of greed, non stealing, and truthfulness way of life into my day to day practices. I believe these personal logical guidelines are achievable through the use of self discipline.

    Self positive output is very powerful. Law of attraction as i know it can allow you to construct your life that way you want it and carve your personal desires and figure. You will attract what you put out. It is really quite amazing what one can do, not only can we shape ourselves but the world around us. Brahmacharya, Ahimas, Aparigraha, and Asteya are all very powerful tools and have the power to change the world. I will thrive to further my teaching in this and also change myself into a better more genuine being.

  8. In regards to the given listening, I feel this weeks content strongly expresses and furthers the previous materials in which we have been given. Traditionally, re-introducing the important aspects of our asinas and the five conditions of behavior in correlation to our everyday lives and mental strength. The overpowerment of the physical body and form is something that consumes humans such as ourselves from maintaining balance and structure within our physical and nonphysical mind. Becoming something greater is what is considered so essential to the Yamas and our asinas. Striving to be something greater is normal, and is something that all humans in my personal opinion aim for.

    Personally, the concept of Love was something that illuminated brightly to me throughout this section. The idea of love through the concept of others was rathe important. I feel we always do our best to gain acceptance from others, and contort ourselves from our original shape in order to be fit the mold of other standards. As expressed in the reading, “We can not learn to love our neighbor through discipline. Lover flowers when our heart and mind are in union.” I thought this quote was essential to the realities we create for ourselves. It’s important to stay true to the narratives we establish for ourselves, not the narratives of others. The way in which we operate is “different different than the principles of engineering.” So I believe it is crucial to keep that in mind throughout our daily tasks and future endeavors.

  9. I had a hard time relating to and understanding this part of the Yamas reading until the analogy to eating healthy and the desire for fatty foods. I think it’s interesting to think of abstract desires in the same way as something so tangible. It makes sense why it’s so hard for us to change important parts of ourselves for the better when thinking of it in this tangible way- if we have issues just changing our diets, because we naturally have desires for fatty foods, why would changing more abstract parts of ourselves be any easier?
    “All desires are looking to control or eradicate another. Thus, we have desire attempting to discipline itself to eradicate itself- but this process merely strengthens desire.” I think the same is to be said about fear, for fear has a similar process disciplining itself. It’s an endless cycle, and makes me curious what the exact process is that one must take to conquer both. As the reading states, “the desire is a part of you regardless of discipline”, so what is the process one must learn in order to push themselves through it?- for both fear and desire are both somehow essential yet unnecessary to each of us as human beings. We all have them naturally; they’re a part of who we are, and regulate what we do and how we live our lives, yet they hold us down. (See also: the Enneagram Institute and its RHETI personality tests, which are constructed on the basis of each person having a basic fear and a basic desire, which define the way each of us lives our lives, pushing us to do most anything within its scope. For example- a “Type 2″‘s basic desire is to feel loved, while its basic fear is being unwanted and unworthy of love. Thus, people who are “Type 2″‘s key motivation is “want[ing] to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves”(1), and they project themselves forward in life based on this concept.) Based on this reading and these ideas, are we supposed to look to rid ourselves of fear and desire? What would this do within the scope of the Enneagram’s basis? I don’t necessarily believe in personality tests such as the Enneagram, but I do think that it’s interesting juxtaposing these concepts together.

    (1): https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-2

    • I think it helps to have a belief in human development and a realistic model as a framework. We all start out with our parents and family, teachers, and then we have free will to choose our Path. I find Classical Indian Hatha Yoga and the lineage to serve as my models. I follow Sadhguru, Sri Aurobindo, Amma, and others serve to remind and motivate me to continue to work on my own progress on and off the mat. I have been fortunate to have traveled to the ashrams, met fellow people on the Path, met the living teachers. Like everyone I have dark days, slow down but I know this is only one small dimension and the other parts are always available and I have the tools to make the necessary shifts with my personal practice. I hope this helps with your questions. If not we can talk in class, OM

  10. For me the Yamas are best realized without having to think about them. If we spend too much time worrying about the very things we wish these particular paths to cure, then we miss out on the experiences in our journey that fulfill these paths. The same can be said for discipline and desire. If we are constantly thinking about our desires and how we seek to realize these desires then we run the risk of exhausting ourselves mentally and losing the focus required to stay on these virtuous paths. By losing sight of what we believe our desires to be, we begin to be dishonest with ourselves. When we become dishonest with ourselves, we lose the motivation to maintain the discipline required to achieve inner harmony and balance on one’s journey. When we lack discipline we lack a timeline, and when we lack a timeline we wander aimlessly with no real perceived purpose. When we are disciplined our body and mind can express and receive energy most effectively, giving us the clarity and focus we need to be successful. These small successes that we achieve as a result of moderating our desires, and maintaining our discipline, give us the positive experiences on our journey through which we can draw happiness and inner harmony from.

    To add. I’ve done the IK several times with my mother, and have enjoyed it a lot. My chants are often much louder than hers, but other than that it’s nice to have someone to practice with. Of course I’ve recommended the IK to several friends, and one has actually agreed to try it with me at some point.

  11. The practice of yoga is all about learning to nurture our psyches, not merely our physical forms. As humans we struggle with many negative thoughts and emotions, such as greed, jealousy, anger, and hate. These emotions can be all-consuming if left to their own devices, but through strong spiritual practice it is possible to take the upper hand over these demons. We can feel a fleeting moment of anger without letting it ruin our days. We can learn to truly be happy for others when they’ve accomplished something, instead of wishing it was us that had something good happen. The most powerful force in this world is love. As stated in the reading, “Love truly flowers when our heart and mind are in union.” Love is not a fleeting feeling, as many of those negative emotions can be. Love is something that can grow within ourselves and spread to others. It must be a conscious decision to nurture the love in our hearts and minds, otherwise it can be forgotten or neglected. If this was an easy task, our world would be full of love and without hate. However, learning to love ourselves and others can be too difficult a task for many. That is why it is a discipline that must be learned, fostered, nurtured, and maintained. Love can be lost if not nurtured. Through the practice of yoga we can strengthen our discipline in this regard.

    Catherine Halstead

  12. The reading was a great expansion on the 8 Limbs post. “You cannot learn to love your neighbor through discipline or effort”. I found this part of the reading very powerful. I think often what causes us to feel as though we must struggle to be kind to others is because of our own closed off nature. The reason why it is so hard for us to give love to others in a genuine way, is because we allow our physical thoughts to block us from seeing a person’s true self. This isn’t to say we can only love what we know, but instead that acceptance is a pathway for love. If we regarded ourselves and others without strong judgement, with an an openness that is able to respect all. It is impossible to understand everything, but to respect that one’s journey or lifestyle or personality is different from yours.
    I believe there is immense power in the mastering allowance and attention. What we pay attention to will manifest, but it is a two sided coin. It will also come with the negative or opposite outcome of what we put out. If we could place our intentions into the universe, pay attention to something else, and then allow it to form, I feel our manifestations would be more true to our intentions. I felt that the analogy to the desire to be slim and craving fatty foods was very reminiscent of this personal belief of mine and I felt the need to share.

  13. I think the principles of the Yamas are wonderful, and it is something that applies to all people. It is much easier said then done however. It takes a lot of self discipline to be able to love everyone around you, to overcome your fear of strangers. Humans have a very anxious nature that causes us to forget whats important in the world. Unity and love are parts of the human experience that are necessary in order to live. Love can be overpowered by our negative emotions, so much so that some lose sight of what is important in life. Guilt, greed, sorrow, anger, they can blind us to what is important. It is something that is very hard for an individual such as myself to overcome, not to mention many of the other people who have to struggle much more than I do. If we follow the principles similar to the Yamas however, I think people can learn not only to respect one another, but to love each other. This earth is a place for all of us.

  14. I’m really a fan of these readings! I like to think of the yamas as very personal guidelines to go by. The writer makes an interesting point about love. I agree that it is not something that can be disciplined and is rather something that grows on its own, but never connected this thought with religious imitation. We must let certain emotions grow naturally rather than trying to discipline ourselves. I am also interested with the writer’s statements about desire and the energy it can suck from us. I’ve been trying recently to go by my own instincts rather than following the desire to please others so often, and have found a level of peace from this that I haven’t felt in a while. This reading is very encouraging for me in terms of my personal growth.

  15. I recently read a book about the Dali Lama’s “secrets for happiness” and a lot of what he discussed in a chapter on desires and the human experience was what was mentioned in the given audio file, verbatim. One part of that chapter that stuck out to me was how much he stressed selfless love. He said that loving someone because they are good to us is selfish and true love only comes from loving someone strictly because we want the best for them, regardless of how they may interact with us. He goes on to say that by the same logic, we should also love our enemies and the people who you would think normally least deserve it because that’s wrong and they DO deserve it, regardless of how they act.

    While I do think selfless love is the purest kind, I don’t believe that everyone is deserving of it. I am a very energy sensitive person and if I keep pouring into a relationship or person that isn’t also pouring into me, m well will eventually drain out. Learning where and when to spend my energy is a tool I’ve come to be more and more grateful for every day. Additionally, i disagree with the excerpt from the audio file that mentions that love cannot be learned through discipline. While I do think the best kind of love is given and shared without a second thought, I know that practicing gratitude and empathy can definitely change lives and love.

    In regard to multiple desires constantly fighting for the hot seat of attention, that definitely resonated with me. When I’m extremely busy I find myself wishing I had a more calm, relaxed life. And yet, when I experience bouts of more free time and less drama, the part of me that is addicted to the rush of cortisol suddenly desires more excitement than ever before. I tend to experience both sides of this plane every couple of months. Hoping for it to pass soon through practicing mindfulness.

  16. The Yamas is a great law to follow. It believes in non-violence, love, generosity, unenvious, etc. It is the basic law of life, yet many people don’t follow this. All of these basic beliefs make a up the ideal person, someone we all want to be. We all want to better ourselves someway either by self-love or hating on others. This idea relays back to the reading, for the author talks about desires. “We imitate the actions of those we seems holy or superior..”, every human has the desire to be more. We want to become more popular, healthier, wealthier, smarter, etc. We are never happy in our own state of being. But instead of becoming more than who we are, we become narrow minded. Our personalities change to arrogance and become more opinionated and we become the opposite of what we desire.

    This was interesting to me. I am always trying to improve myself, whether it is becoming more healthy or fit, studying or changing personality habits. It was interesting to hear that we become narrow-minded and the opposite of what we are trying to become. It makes sense because when we are trying to achieve something, that is all we are focused on. Furthermore, we do not think of anything else and come closed-minded to other options on the matter. This made me think about my personal beliefs and how I can change them.

    -Saida Blair

  17. The yamas is a kind law to follow. It is not the first iteration of the principle. I see the same thing spun differently in religions, ideologies, and books. Personally I think it is important for all people to recognize that they are inherently selfish, and that is not a bad thing. Our external world is like a mirror to our internal. When I am overwhelmed and feeling out of control, possibly, so is my room. My face may have acne, I will find interactions difficult and stress I feel can physically manifest. How we treat ourselves is everything. You can not add to the world unless you are complete yourself. I think it is silly to tell a man without self awareness to emulate holy figures. Without recognition of his own human nature he will repress and draw into himself. His desires will feel shameful and he will become unable to show vulnerability. In terms in yoga, I believe one has to do a lot of internal work to do before one can believe poses fix your psyche.
    To enter a state of loving comes from inside over time, with a lot of work, a good self esteem and empowering personal relationships. Yoga is supplemental and selfless love only comes after taking care of yourself.

  18. The Five Yamas are a very encouraging tool as a guideline for a person’s life. I enjoy the idea that this process is not only for enriching the body but the mind as well. This technique is implemented to improve the individuals moral and spiritual life. I enjoy that the yamas encourages a solution towards our own need for arrogance, irritability, and antagonism. These are all things which affect our daily life and how we see the world. Additionally the perspective on love was one that really inspired me. If we encourage love and preach love then our body and our mind will be more enlightened. These guidelines are incredibly helpful to not only encourage love, but to not grasp onto discipline. We cannot show love through discipline- if we attempt to do this we will just search further for other desires.

    I really identified with the idea of substituting one desire for another. So often we use these desires to identity what we care about and who we are, but these desires can often get in the way of real care and love. I appreciate this techniques toward tolerance for a more open and fulfilling life. I am going to attempt to use the five lamas in my daily life to try and improve. Sometimes I do things out of my best interest instead of truly caring for my friends problems.I’ll say I don’t have the time to listen because I have to work or study- but the lamas are a really good tool to embody love for yourself and the ones you care about.

    Namaste

  19. Listening to the description of the yamas, it was quite enlightening to hear them described. Yes, the five yamas are rules of behavior we should all strive for. They are guidelines that are preached in religions, as well as society. The part that struck me was the idea that most of us follow these guidelines because that is what we have been taught our whole lives (don’t harm others, do not steal, do not lie, don’t be greedy, etc.), but many times they are the actions we choose to show the public, they are not particularly what we may feel on the inside. It is certainly a personal growth experience to achieve these yamas in their purest form, rather than strictly by imitation. I can certainly see how living through imitation, no matter the original intent, will stifle us as human beings and not allow us any creative thought or the ability for spontaneity. I love the example of dieting, discipline begets desire, so true! Adjusting the psyche is much more difficult than disciplining the body, which is why many people choose imitation rather than digging deeper to try to realize true love with the heart and mind in perfect union. If we cannot live by these yamas or realize true love by discipline, how do we obtain a perfect union between heart and mind? I understand that love cannot be forced and that one must love in order for the yamas to come naturally, but how do we get there if we don’t consciously refrain from these negative behaviors?

  20. The Yama’s are the principles seen in almost every major belief system, or a set of morals one should adhere to. Non-violence, non-theft, chastity, love, non-judgement etc. are all parts of the Yama’s as well as most philosophies throughout the west and non west. I thought it was interesting how the ability to love was described as coming to you in a natural process, that one cannot desire this ability or work to gain it. I think this is an interesting concept as most of the time I believe I can work towards most things, and don’t really believe they come naturally.

    I also thought it was interesting that desire is believed to be counter productive in a sense. If one desires something, the opposite of their desire will also be wanted. I think this is true in a sense, and I think it will give me a new perspective on the wants that I have in life.

  21. I felt this passage gave a lot of insight about human motivation, subject of great interest to me. The difference between imitation and embodiment is one theme that really resonated with me. I think this might be one of the driving forces of my aggressive skepticism. To imitate the beliefs of another without proving beyond a doubt that they are true for me as well feels simultaneously arrogant and insecure. Oddly enough, I think I have taken this teaching to its other extreme, at times, by pursuing only what I know to be worth while to the point of irresponsible Epicureanism. In other words, questioning everything has made me challenge some of the binding rules of society mentioned at the beginning of the passage.

    The discussion about forced virtues breeding opposing feeling reminded me of a quote…
    “Altruism is Envy turned saint. It is the creed of soggy souls and sultry moralists. Altruism is a subtle form of egotism. It aims at self-expansion by denying self. Altruists are moral smugglers, and they have the contraband in their cellars. They do good that they may receive good in return.” -Elbert Hubbard
    This quote always fascinated me by putting into words the unctuous vibes I get from people who are constantly sanctimonious. Moreover, it casts everybody in such an unflattering light that its almost freeing. For some reason I feel safer thinking of myself as a malignant entity, so any actions I take are already not worth applying to some absolute morality. Similar to being skeptical, if I am always considering my place as a villain in any story, I feel more alert to other people’s personal narratives. This is a super weird, round about, way of re-contextualizing relationships to foster more empathy, and empathy and being true to one’s feelings was a major takeaway I got from this reading.

  22. The Yamas are the five conditions of behaviors: non-violence, non-stealing, chastity, the absence of greed and truthfulness. Just like any other religion, these are the 5 laws to improve as an individual, these are the guidelines that you should practice to make you a better and happier person, to change you to the better, change hate to love. with the power of will, we can create love. But how to do we discipline ourselves to become loving?

    Love flowers truly only when the mind and the heart are in a perfect union, and this only happens on its own, spontaneously. What we do is imitation, we imitate what our superiors believe is what is going to make you be a better, loving person, but it does not come from our hearts. we should not imitate because we become narrow this way, we become arrogant and we separate each other from the rest, becoming judgemental and having negative feelings like greed. imitation is not being, imitation doesn’t make you, you.

    the reading says that discipline is necessary for physical things, like to become a professional, for studies, but it is not when we talk about our spirituality, so was the reading saying to turn your back to our urges and negative feelings and vibes and just live?

  23. The readings of The Secret of the Yamas has been very helpful to me lately. THis is the first time that i am learning about these personal guidelines, the yamas. I agree with the statement that love cannot be learned and that it must come from the heart to be genuine. I also agree with the part about desire. When you want to be a certain way you start to become the opposite. The example given was that is you want to become thin you then start craving fatty foods. Recently I feel like i desire alot of things from myself. Whether its who i want to be or what i want to accomplish. I find when it actually come to doing it, it takes more effort than it should because i find myself not wanting to anymore. The reading was helpful for me to realize this.
    -Emily Bockisch

  24. I enjoy following a love based lifestyle where there is no hate or violence. I feel like our society would be so much better if this were a law we all followed. It starts by actively putting this into action and putting this in your life. Acknowledging that we are all one and that we are not larger than anyone else. We are all our own beings. We tend to stick our own beliefs onto other and won’t acknowledge that everyone is allowed their own lifestyles and opinions and simply accept them.

  25. Since that of the first part of the “Secret of the Yamas”, following that to the second part, I personally learned many different things about delving deeper into your full/true being, as well as that of how you express yourself to family, friends and people around. Throughout human history, people have always been keen to reach the highest plateau, whether it’s that of greed, power and/or wealthiness. As some people express their true emotions to assist/aid others, many people rather use their methods of expression to get what they personally/truly want. Taking it back to the base form/definition of Yama, it can be presented as that of a series of (moral living), including that with the meaning of “control” or “reining in”. Further carrying it back to the confidentials of the yama, it can be best demonstrated in that of the second part of the audio when it was explained that “these rules are generally considered, logical guidelines for an ordely society, or as personal guidelines for shaping and improving the individual self. As personal guidelines, the yamas are believed to act as mechanisms of change”.

  26. From what I understand, the 5 Yamas are a personal guide to create discipline and help change your life on a much deeper level, allowing you to move towards a greater/enlightened state of being. One question this reading has posed was “How do we discipline ourselves into a state of loving?” Then the answer came to say that it isn’t possible, that being in a state of love comes from the heart and mind being aligned and unified, and love flowers on it’s own, spontaneous, and cannot be forced. I truly desire to for my mind and heart to be aligned, there is so much conflict between the two when they are not, so much confusion. I desire to rid myself of this confusion, though I understand that it may be natural I wish for there to be less of it. I also found it interesting that we imitate others who we might see as enlightened, thought by following these ways and forgetting that you are your own being, you conform to a particular way and become more narrow minded this way. It’s interesting to me because I have felt this and I admit I do possess specific qualities/characteristics about others. Although after achieving whatever physical aspect this is I always find myself thinking that although I desired this is it merely a characteristic to my being, it is and isn’t me. But I realize that who ever I initially took this from it is also not them, I am not them, by doing so I feel I move closer to finding myself somehow through this desire, because it’s what I chose to do, because that’s what I wanted. I see the separation from the original, feeling as though I am also my original and am the creator of myself. I accept that I want to change, I accept that change is scaring, and I accept that inspiration for specific changes come from what we see. The world around us is constantly changing and if I deny myself change that I believe I would only be creating more resistance for myself. I learn from the actions I take, and have to sit with patience when I have made such and extreme move. But by doing so I discover what I do and don’t want. Although this can always change. Like your taste buds every so often. So I feel that attempting to discipline our desires isn’t all that necessary. I think when you truly become sick of something you do, you will choose to not do it anymore and begin distancing yourself from it because you finally see that you do not desire it strongly or at all any longer.

  27. I found this reading to be particularly insightful, and found the concept of “acting loving” vs “becoming loving” really interesting. I mentioned in a previous comment that the Eight Limb System reminds me of the Ten Commandments I was raised on in the way they are a guide to live an ethical life. The Eight Limbs are inherently different, however, in the way they promote growth and really being an ethical person instead of just acting like one.

    If we act loving in order to *only* conform to social norms, we are not truly being loving. We may not feel the love we are acting on. It’s way better to act in a loving way than an unloving and harmful way, but acting loving is not enough if we are trying to achieve growth and spiritual enlightenment. Furthermore, if we are acting loving and kind in order to impress our idols or land ourselves a spot in heaven, etc..this doesn’t really constitute a loving person. Like the reading says, imitation is not being.

    I do think there is value in encouraging ourselves to follow in the footsteps of those who are loving, even if it is imitation at first. In my experience, the way some people are raised and other environmental factors encourage selfishness which disguises itself as self-love. Some people are just not naturally inclined to be loving people, but I do believe that all people can become loving if they are willing to be self aware and willing to grow spiritually.

    Personally, I am excited to continue my practice and understanding of The Eight Limbs so I can become a more loving person.

    – Anneliese Treitmeier-McCarthy

  28. I thought this reading was really interesting and honest. Just like many of the other readings we have went through, this one also focuses on the self and self awareness. I really love the part about the heart and mind being in sync as I believe this rings true in all of us. If the mind says what the heart doesn’t mean it lacks truth. If people really desire change they cannot force it into their lives. There must be a long process of self reflection. I think that these things we want have to come through on their own as the reading says. Change must be genuine.

    I think it is important that it was mentioned that there is a difference between the internal world,spiritual world and the external work,physical world. Many times people try to change the things they can see around them, in hopes that it will change the things they can’t see like the way they feel. But to fix a problem internally, you must work internally.

  29. “You cannot learn to love your neighbor through discipline, forced or willful effort. Love flowers truly only when the heart and the mind are in perfect union.” This quote in the audio reading stood out to me because I think this is one of the main ideas in this chapter of “The Secret of the Yamas.” “Imitation is not being.” This chapter also discusses how imitation of what is perceived as “good” or “true love” can lead to a person becoming more narrow minded and arrogant, despite the person believing they are becoming more “holy.” The analogy in the reading of the conflict between losing weight and craving fattening foods is a great way to express how imitation creates a struggle between who we really are and what we want to be.

    The section in the reading about the subjective world hit a cord with me because it really points out how each of us are still just human beings no matter what our circumstances are. Being greedy or envious of others are qualities that should be cleansed from us due to our shared humanity. The questions brought up in the reading about the discipline of desires and how to face them on our paths were interesting for me to hear because I had not asked myself these questions before.

    I believe the principles of the Yama are powerful. I agree with them because they are based off of what makes us up as humans. I also believe these principles can be used to better the individual person and promote positive and loving energies to others. I hope to use the Yamas to transform my performance on the mat and help make changes in my daily life.

  30. I think the principles of the Yamas sound so wonderful, and is well applied to certain people in the world. And while discipline can come in many shapes and forms; it just take the right one to settle things out. Yes, some things you can’t force it to be done; sometime you have to let the ship burn in order for it to realize right from wrong. And this article it very helpful on self engagement and personal growing; it may take so time but we cant beat ourselves up about it. I personally believe if we all come together as one and not fight against each other, but WITH, one another and LOVE thy neighbor situations in life will turn out to be much better.

  31. This audio clip, which elaborates on the first “Secret of the Yamas”, focuses on desires and the inevitable anger and discontent which arrises from trying to discipline desires. First, the speaker mentions the 8 limbs of yoga. State of self awareness and postures are two of these limbs. YAMAs are 5 guidelines to behave, which include nonviolence, not stealing, honesty, and an absence of greed. These are similar to religious codes such as the Ten Commandments which are concerned with creating a logical, orderly society. More importantly, the yamaS allow one to improve their life. The yams are mechanisms of change, which push one to become something greater, happier, and more spiritual. Through the yams one can discipline herself, becoming physically stronger and more flexible. Moreover, one can discipline the mind to replace arrogance with humility and hatred with love. However, acting and truly being are completely different. People say they love their neighbor, but they are merely averting hostility and conforming to social standards. They exhibit outward tolerance but they do not truly love. In order to truly love, one’s heart and mind must be in union. Love cannot arise from discipline or effort. It develops by itself. Often times, if a person tries to live through imitation, s/he loses creative thought and spontaneous action, becoming opinionated and arrogant.

    What you are and what you want to become conflict. We often to desire to be what we are not, creating irritability, antagonism, and uncontrollable desire. Discipline is necessary when dealing with the external world, but when we deal with the unseen world of desires, fear, hope, and securities, discipline can become an issue. When one tries to discipline a desire, another arises. Discipline is not actually discipline and we are only strengthening the desires.

    I personally have experienced this conflict of desires. The conflict of desires happens everyday to everyone. For instance, I might desire to wake up earlier, but when I try to discipline my desire, I find another. After wanting to get up earlier, I then desire to get more sleep. I found the audio very interesting because it points out humanity’s contradictory nature. Most people’s hearts and mind are not in union. Society pressures us to follow one and not the other. We are always told that our heart and our head are two separate entities. We are told to follow one or the other. We do not think that we should unite both. In my yoga, I hope to join my mind and heart. I feel like a lot of challenging decisions I must make will be easier. Moreover, I want to think more about what I desire and how my contradicting desires can cause frustration. Acknowledging these things can help me to change them and begin to progress.

  32. I really liked this audio clip because it believes from what I heard that the Yama is a form of a better positive living aurora. It is where it believes in peace instead of violence and be kind and smile instead of bad faces and insults. The whole view I imagined the Yamas are about is that no one cannot be disciplined into being kind and making peace with people, it can be taught to emphasize the feelings but it can not be taught to think a certain way. So the Yamas are a way of making people understand themselves first and see that there is more to life and as the audio said love comes when the person alines their heart and mind together. When a person bases their happiness through another person’s happiness or how the other person achieved their goals it does not count as true positivity and peace, it just creates the person to be narrow, one-track minded and, form a life from imitation.
    In my perspective, the Yamas and their guidelines are read by people and understand them and understand how to be or act according to the Yamas. But actually assessing the guidelines I feel happen unconsciously because if we are focused too much on following our desires positively and too worried to not imitate another person’s happiness it will cause just the opposite of what the Yamas are about and it will probably bring stress and anxiety. I speak from personal experience, no directly thinking of the Yamas, but, in a situation where I try so hard for everything to go perfectly and it ends up being the opposite because I tried too hard and was set on a narrow mindset of how I wanted things to work out. But I feel like if you know your desires and let them just happen instead of pushing too much it will come naturally in its own time. Because we have to take in account that yes, our desires are based on ourselves and no-one else’s but, we live in a world surrounded by people with their own desires as well, so I feel like if I was trying and thinking too much about how I want a situation to turn out it never will. Because other people have their desires and they are at the same time pushing their desires which causes corruption to everyone who is narrow and doesn’t accept some things will not turn out how they want them too.

  33. The principles of Yamas is a good guideline to follow to one day achieve that state of balance and self-awareness. It is interesting how the conditions of Yamas can be compared to the sets of social behaviors followed by the different philosophies and religious practices in different societies. General guidelines are needed to form order, whether as people as a whole or on an individual level for oneself. With the principles of Yamas, the path for that shift from one state to another is opened for a person to follow, but only if they are willing to go through with the discipline needed for that change. It is possible to act like a “good” person, but that change will not come naturally unless the real change is embraced by the individual and a true balance between the heart and the mind is achieved. Until then, there is only an imitation of that balance, which is not the same thing. In that act of imitation, an individual can become closed to others and themselves with the arrogant thought that they are now better than other individuals. By having that thought process with this imitation of self-awareness, the individual has instead gone down a path that is further from the original goal.

    But no matter what path of life the individual goes down with the ultimate goal of self-awareness, the desires of the heart and mind will be present in life. Desires are part of a person’s life. While the immediate is not necessarily to cast away all desires or eliminate them, it is ideal to overcome desires and not have them consume the person, no matter how conflicting those desires can be with each other.

  34. In this second audio clip from “The Secret of the Yamas”, we expand more upon the concept that yamas are five basic moral codes that are similar to those that are found in religious systems. In the yamas we are warned about desire; the desire to be better. When we desire to become something “better” in a sincere and well meaning attempt, arrogance then descends and warps us into the complete opposite of what we strived to become. We become shallow and narrow – minded through our foolhardy attempts to force ourselves into something that we currently are not, and in that, we find that we lose some of our happiness and gain pressure and stress.
    I personally believe that desire to change is a part of human nature that will never truly be eradicated, but it is something that can be put in check. As long as desire is moderated, it could be a force that pushes one to aim higher and motivates one to excel. Yet, if you let your desires rule you, you may become lost in them. Having desires does tend to close out the world to ones sight as your vision focuses only on what you desire and that want may turn into something less than sincere. Here, one is faced with an ironic realization: Desiring leads one astray the path that they wish to continue on which is to say only when one lets go of their own desire is there a chance that they will receive/ become what is no longer wanted.

  35. I agree with the Yama principles, believing in peace, nonviolence, love, etc. and I would want to live toward these concepts. It takes a committed person to want to learn and obey the Yama principles because it takes discipline. I really enjoyed listening to him expressing to find the deeper meaning within ourselves as humans and individuals. I think he’s expressing the want for humans to find the middle path to balance our lives.

    This reading can correlate to everyone’s lives when not focused or stressed about work, relationships, etc. People must remember that goals take self discipline, improvement and commitment. These readings make me look upon myself to be more committed toward my goals, becoming less stress, my healthier, and practice the Yama principles.

    -Melenie Warner

  36. This audio was very interesting due to its correlation of the asanas and the meaning of ourselves as individuals. Yamas is supposed to involve non violence, truthfulness, and no greed and these characteristics make up a good individual, these characteristics allow us to connect with others. The teachings of yamasan we can find our true selves and overall rhythm to our life. Love that is given selflessly is the purest and most genuine love although we should not give love to those who don’t appreciate it. Practicing the characteristics I mentioned before can really help one achieve positive changes in their lives.
    Its normal for humans to feel hate, anger or jealousy but its our job to realize these behaviors and improve ourselves. If we let these emotions consume us it can lead to a wrong path. This takes lots of discipline and self awareness. Love can overpower all these bad feelings we might experience and if we follow the principals stated by the yamas we can all achieve the inner peace we all seek.

  37. Listening to this second part of the book brought more understanding to the ideas of the yamas that I already had in my head. Having the yamas looked at as guidelines are beneficial because it develops the ability to create a discipline for the individual’s body to become better and balanced. As humans, we always have the constant desire for something and the typical thing is to fight for those things we want. A conflict develops between what we want to become and what we already are and that is difficult because desire is part of the individual. This conflict arises in anything an individual desires to change which I believe is true especially with the example that was given about wanting to become slim, there is a desire to become slim in comparison to what you believe you already are but then there is the conflict of wanting to eat whatever you want and that pushes you further from your desire. This conflict further develops the need for discipline to better the body and the individual. But the aspect of discipline is only available to those who create it. In order for the development of a skill to happen discipline also needs to occur, in addition, disciplines also connect to another desire which causes more work to be put in.

    • This is a good beginning towards creating a satisfactory essay….please follow the guidelines and add other comparative or contrasting sources and your own experiences/impressions.

  38. Once again like last week, I had a hard time trying to comprehend this audio format. Of what I understood, the part that really got me was the part where you said imitation is not being. Though we are working the steps of the limbs, we will find a lot of resistance to our efforts. I will be tempted by the opposite. As you go on to mention the part about dieting, I related even more to this statement. I find these ideas manifesting in my life especially when I am working on bettering myself. I have been a pessimistic person for most of my life, and as I have begun to work on moving more towards optimism and realism I have seen much pushback. When I begin to try to find the upside to issues, I am met with what feels like more problems than ever before. I know that this is a part of the process of becoming more positive, and will be very much a part of the process through the limbs. When your mind and body are used to working one way, and you try to change it, it is almost guaranteed that you will be met with some sort of pushback. Acknowledging these negative qualities and desires to be able to move forward, and the only way to work around them is through a lot of discipline.

    The other part of this audio file that stuck out to me was the part about desires conflicting with one another. I believe that when one is on a journey to bettering oneself in life, many new and overlapping desires will present themselves. Throughout the journey, a person will have to decide on which desires are more important to them if they are not something that can be compromised. I am working on this in my life, as I want to take more time for myself but I do want to work harder on the things that I love. I am working hard to find a balance of the two, whether it is in scheduling or in finding something that I love that allows me to take time for myself. Working the steps of the yamas is definitely not an easy task – it is one filled with self-reflection and honesty. It is a process that takes a lot of time and patience, and most importantly it takes a lot of discipline. I am glad to be working these qualities and the steps.

  39. I found the first guide to Yamas passage very helpful, so I liked hearing this continuation. I like that it talked about things like non-stealing, nonviolence, chastity, absence of greed, and truthfulness, because I think those are pretty good things to strive for and also the part about how we should love each other was nice. I thought the part where they said any effort to conform to a formula or live by prescribed rules makes your mind narrow was a little weird because if we didn’t do that then I don’t know what else we would do but maybe I misunderstood that part. The part about desires was interesting because I guess it’s true that one desire will always replace another and that’s part of human nature but we can learn to control our desires.

  40. The 5 Yamas although being the first time I have heard of them I am familiar with the concept through similarities ideas within most religious and social constitutions. Ahimsa (non-violence) and Asteya (non-stealing) are pretty straight forward and common practice for most people in our society. Brahmacharya (moderation of the senses/right use of energy) which was referred to in the reading a celibacy is a little harder to achieve. Calling it celibacy can turn away most people, but looking more into it the aspect of properly using and maintaining your energy is a much more useful and agreeable idea in with today’s society. Aparigraha (non-greed) is very hard to obtain in a very real sense. Greed is a part of human nature, and detaching ourselves from our surroundings is hard to even imagine. Satya (truthfulness) I believe is the most important and core part of the yamas. Being truthful not in just words, but finding and living our own truth is what we should strive to achieve in this journey. this truthfulness seemed to be the main point of the reading, with the other yamas be unachievable without it.

  41. I found this excerpt extremely interesting and is touching on a topic that I have been very passionately curious about for a while now. I find McAfee’s point about the attachment of love to idols being an issue is completely accurate. Because we attach a being to the ideas we have about things such as love or being a good person, we become so invested in the idol, that we forget what we wanted to achieve in the first place. For example, though not all practitioners of Christianity partake in such acts, I have found that it is common that Jesus will come into the conversation more often than the ideas that have been attached to him when people speak of how they should act. And since they look to Jesus in such a high light, as God or the son of God, another figure we have attached to complete purity and absolute perfection, they will begin to naturally see anyone who speaks the word of, or acts similar to Jesus, as being worth idolizing, and in most cases this allows for people to believe this to be true about themselves. Therefore, as previously stated, they will completely forget, or disregard the ideas surrounding such a figure.

    This leads me to further think into the conversation that often is had in regards to humanity versus nature, and when we speak on nature in this sense, we detach ourselves from nature, for we are in opposition. However, this just further proves that the idea we as human beings have, that we can control every aspect of our being, is completely false. This is such an important fact to understand as human beings. Human ignorance when it comes to this subject has caused so many unnecessary deaths and wars.

  42. The chapter starts off with McAfee states the yamas, which are non-violence, non-stealing, chastity, lack of averice and truthfullness. He then makes the comparison of the yamas to other religious guidelines(the ten commandments for instance), which are either supposed to benefit the individual or to benefit society. However, he brings up a very valid point, which is repreated in his analysis of the yamas indivdually; one can discipline themselves to accomplsh things in the physical world, however, one cannot atleast become more loving through will power. He makes a comparison to dieting, where one’s forcing themselves not to eat fatty foods leads to resentment.

  43. (sorry the previous comment was just the first paragraph, the following are the other two)

    He is absolutely right that discipline can be futile. For instance, most of the ten commandments have to do with the temporal world(do not steal, do not commit adultery, etc. etc.) Zarathustra had three sayings “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.”.
    i agree with him that discipline has its limits. One cannot force themselves to be nice. However, we can change ourselves for the better by processing it. For instance, instead of being hateful, one can try and ask themselves why they are hating the subject of said hatred. Also, if you are nice to others, they will probably resipricate it and thus give your subconscience postiive reinforcement.

  44. I thought the statements regarding cultivating a state of loving were interesting. I believe the words were “love flowers when heart and mind are in union” and this is spontaneously. I don’t think that it is necessary to strive for this or to imitate it, as it is called in the passage. I think that if we look within ourselves, we can find the part of us that truly connects us with other humans and it is through love of ourselves that we can love others. I have found that having insight into my own past and a type of sympathy for my inner child/past self has given me sympathy for those around me; I love the person I once was and so I love others on that same path. By the same token, I recognize that I need love and it is through my own need of love that I give love back to the world; this is my empathy, my understanding of other’s needs. I am not sure if I am explaining this correctly. The overall point is that through love….ahhh, I get it! My heart and mind are in union and from this state of loving, love flowers; this cannot be imitated. It is more complex than I thought. I am not going to revise this because I think it is an important catharsis to have committed to page.

  45. I liked this reading of behavior. Everything is within yourself as the reading shows. When you want something you have to go get it. The desire is what drives you, but your opposition still lives within you, but this is where discipline come to play. For example, like the reading says, if you want to be thin, you have to set goals for yourself and achieve your goals in your own pace, but your opposition (the fatty foods that will go against you being thin) still lies with you and its up to you to fight the urge of going back to fatty foods. This is what is going to help you achieve your goal. I have a goal set for myself to not eat cheese fries as often as I was since being in college. So far it has been almost a month since I’ve eaten cheese fries. It is a sacrifice I am willing to do for my religion and also because I know it is bad for me. Sacrifices are apart of the natural process of desire. You can’t desire something without sacrificing something else.

    Another thing I liked is about the feeding love where hatred lives. I always practice this and preach this because fire doesn’t put out fire. We live in a world where people’s biggest enemies are themselves. So for other people to be the living example of hatred, only makes things worse for people. Being love is always the answer, whether you’re up for it or not. Eve a smile can make someones day, like the reading said.

  46. The reading mentions loving your neighbor to eliminate arrogance. Previous to taking this class, I’ve heard of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” which comes from the Bible. This means love your neighbor (which doesn’t have to be your actual neighbor but everyone surrounded by you) as you love yourself. The same way you take care of yourself and treat yourself good is the same way you should love everyone around you. And I love this verse from the Bible because it really encompasses what I believe in which is just sow everyone love and be nice and the same will be reciprocated. Put love in the air and that’s always going to be the result instead of hate.

    One thing I also like is when the reading says “As our thought narrows, we become more separate and more opinionated”. This is the same as close minded people. Close minded people only have one way of thinking and they will always stick to that decision no matter what. And they will often become very opinionated to prove what they saying is right and the only way. I’ve had my share of close minded people and I had to just cut that off because as much love and insight I was trying to give, all I received was backlash and hate. I do think close minded people can become love and open minded, but only if they want to. If they find purpose in it.

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