Listen to part three of “The Secret of the Yamas”


187 responses »

  1. While I may agree with some of the points that MacAfee is stating I feel it is not correct to assume that the entire world has the inborn trait to be violent. I totally agree that at times violence stems from trying to influence another to your own beliefs, but I don’t feel this is the case with every violent act. There are sociopaths that just commit violence for fun without any remorse or reason. There are also people who are violent to feel superior to another person. Violence isn’t always committed when trying to push others to our views. While I do agree that society tends to separate people into groups and people tend to side with those that have common characteristics and views I don’t believe we enjoy seeing people punished. I think that with conversation and exposure people with different viewpoints can respect one another’s values without becoming violent. I do agree in of order to change we need to find the root of the problem not just what we see on the surface. We need to educate people and not have everyone feel they are right and know everything without getting all the facts. We need to realize that not everyone is the same and that’s what makes the world great. I do think there are many people who are easily angered and would benefit from practicing yoga to learn control of their mind and body.

    Tyler L

  2. I belive that this reading was very useful as a reminder to be more self-aware of our emotions and impulses and of the importance of addressing a problem by examining its root causes. Talking about first looking at the violence within ourselves before the problems as a whole can be addressed is very interesting becuase I think that most people would not think about themselves as being violent. However, violence is a part of us for survival purposes and accepting that fact is essential to becoming more non-violent as a whole because once we accept it, we are able to be mindful of and control our own impulses for violence in order to move towards more peaceful interactions.

  3. The Secret Part of the Yama’s Pt.3 was definitely a powerful read. In attempting to analyze and understand the Yama’s, while reading the words “Ahisma, Non-violence” I naturally read this yama as addressing the extremes of violence (wars, etc.). Not knowing that this actually applies to forms of micro-aggressions and extreme views people force onto others daily.

    In understand how and why violence happens, we must understand the root of the problem. McAfee references that violence is an instinctual reaction, and the only way to conquer it is to address it. Understanding that the negative feelings that lead to violence stem from fear, one can analyze what is causing this fear? Fear of difference, annihilation, extinction, not meeting the “status quo”, lack of power, etc. But much of this fear is fed into society institutionally through propaganda, media and societal practices. Ultimately this reading led me to reflect on accountability. Accountability of ones actions, expectations and not allowing displaced feelings to lead to fear.

  4. This is actually a good thing to talk about, especially with the violence going around the nation right now. I think that a lot of people should think about embracing thee idea of Ahisma or Non-Violence as it is also called. we as humans have the power to change and i do hope that people can do this before humanity destroys itself.

  5. Listening to this passage is markedly prescient given the current American social climate. I feel as if such internal violence is acknowledged a lot by this younger generation, allowing us to better identify the root problem of events that happen every day within our society. Unfortunately though, many still don’t remain accountable when they’re implicated in perpetuating such emotional, mental, physical and social violence, and this is something we need to work towards. This is why we acknowledge our own internal state, to then aid in the external.

    • I have accounted for your Journals #1, but #2 & #3 are missing. Please print them out if you have done them already and some glitch has them missing or catch up so you don’t fall behind on the midterm evals.

  6. Violence has a major impact on society. Anywhere from being honest with oneself and having violent thoughts within or fears and suspicions leading to violence with others. Internal violence such as stress, revenge, or contradictory thoughts can be very difficult to deal with personally. However like the audio stated, I try to discipline myself and be aware these thoughts are occurring. The best thing anyone can do is be honest with themselves. Controlling internal violence can solve problems with external violence.

  7. I think this teaching is very timeless and especially relevant today. After yesterdays shooting in Las Vegas and with all the other violence going on around the world, conversations need to go deeper than gun laws and taking action against violence. I thought it was good of McAfee to comment on the inner violence humans have inside of them.

    By putting the tenements of hatha yoga and meditation into practice, a person can find their own versions of inner peace and come away from their innate violence.

  8. “No one can lead you to yourself”- that is such a powerful statement. This excerpt is so needed right now with our cutest state as a population. But, I think it it is also so important to realize that as much as we can cease harm to others, if we are still criticizing and being hard on ourselves, we haven’t fully emerged out of violence yet. To be kind to ourselves should be the first step. Self love and self care is so vital to being able to love and take care of others around us. Violence is a barricade to your truest self and while it can be so difficult to outgrow it at times (since violence to the self can arrive in so many different ways) but any step towards growing out of it is so important. That may include helping others before you can help yourself, too, and that is wonderful if it can help you, but it should not side track you from self love.

    So…love yourself! woo 🙂

  9. I think that this is an important chapter especially with the violent act that happened over this past weekend. When you think of the word violence there is usually some act of physical harm involved as a consequence of the said violence. But I think that when McAfee states that violence is an “integral part of out nature” is significant. Even if we are doing something that, by our definition of violence, isn’t physically hurting someone this can still be considered violence. With the mount of physical violence that is going on in the world around us currently I think that it would be beneficial to everyone to think about what is considered a violent act and what they can do to prevent themselves from doing these acts.

  10. I found it interesting when talking about the different types of violence. It was wonderful that when discussing a way violence is trying to sway someone in your favor during a conversation.

    Though some might find that drastic, in reality, it is not because each time that happens you are causing that person to follow instead of thinking for themselves. It is important that in the beginning, the recording says most are not actively being violent physically but there are other more common ways of aggression.

  11. When it comes to the topic of violence, I thought this excerpt was quite interesting in regards to human nature and our correlation to violence. Personally, when discussing on the topic of human nature, Humans have always had natural instincts dating back to some of the earliest times we know. Humans have always felt emotions such as love, envy, greed, and violence and i.e. Furthering on the topic of violence, what I’m trying to say is that violent acts is unfortunately something that comes natural to us, or as even stated in the listening that, “violence is an integral part of our nature.” And how we ted to lash out when our “observation of security is threatened.”

    I agree with the previous statement on that, we as people tend to become more violent in a scenario where our personal security seems to be at risk, despite the intensity of the scenario. Through the teachings of the Yamas, as expressed in the previous assignment, I feel the ideal influence of the Yama and Niyama practices can help us become more inclined with maintaining and controlling our violent acts, especially since we live in a world today where so much acts of violence are currently taking place. This form can be a good way for us to remove ourselves mentally and physically, and even embrace others with a similar mindset.

  12. There is no denying that yoga can be extremely powerful in how it changes an individual. But there is even greater potential for this meditative practice. Not only can it make people achieve inner peace, but that peace can spread to others. In an idyllic world, the Yamas (specifically Ashima) could be a base for a spiritually harmonious society (even planet).

    The practice of non-violence is one that will probably not appeal to everyone; there are still so many on this planet that strive to harm others. However, it’s a state of mind that is imperative especially in these tumultuous times where people are quick to argue and hurt each other (both emotionally and physically). Societally, it might be possible for Ashima to be implemented within small communities, slowly spreading to other towns. Who knows, maybe it’s the optimist in me.

  13. I perhaps have a very complicated and unpopular opinion on this idea. I do not like violence. I think it should always be a last resort and never a first thought or impulse. I also agree that one should attempt to live a non-violent life. However at the same time violence can be vital to survival. It makes me think of militant groups such as the Black Panthers and Young Lords. I believe that a lot of their violence was very necessary. Puerto Ricans in the South Bronx were being abused. Their homes dirty, their schools lacking. Nothing was available to help their ever growing and very much in need community. I think they needed to riot as a form of protest because peaceful communication was being ignored. I feel that if you exhausted other resources and your heart is 100% full of hate that occasionally violence can maybe even be a good thing. I know it is a complicated grey area and come people even when violence is necessary take it too far, but it’s worth a though that maybe neither complete violence or nonviolence is the answer. Maybe people and humanity need a balance.

  14. Violence is chaos, and the universe is chaos. This is why i believe non-violence is one of the oldest human morals. It is true that violence is in out nature, that is also why it has always been around. It’s always been there throwing the order of our society and survival into chaos. It is important for every individual to become aware of their own potential of violence, because if not that individual may become all to dangerous.

  15. Tyler Schrader

    Violence is within everyone and is human nature. For me i can contain when presented without exerting any bad energy to hurt myself or other around me. It seems as if there is always something in this world and in your day to day lives that have potential to tick you off. Learning to let go and free yourself from such things is very important. Its interesting in our current generation as we often get pleasure from violence and are attracted to it. Such as when two individuals get into a fight, we seem to migrate towards it and watch rather than closing the situation. Its like we’ve lost our values through moderation when it comes down to things like that. It seems violence is a necessity in todays world as its is needed to get anything accomplished the way things are set up, political peaking. Throughout history most big change was never accomplished without some kind of violence showing through. If only Peace could be the changing point rather than war. Also media has a huge influence on us. All they broadcast in negative material, because that is what gets our attention. If only people would understand that positives are 10 times powerful than the negatives and will get you much further. Both in our personal lives but also out society.

  16. Thank you for sharing these readings. I find that we need to embrace the idea of Ahisma now more than ever. Not only is there so much violence in the world around us but so close to home as well. I also see this on a much smaller level with my colleagues. I often observe hostility between some of the people that I work so closely with and find it so unfortunate. I do not believe there such hostility between people at all and even more so between people that circumstantially need to get along. Perhaps I will share this idea with some of colleagues. It’s never too late for positive change.

  17. I believe that many of these practices override what human nature is. But I do not see that as a negative, oftentimes it is important to override the negative aspects of ourselves, like the urge to be violent, to lie, to steal, and we must let positive forces override and stick to these principles of non violence, non lying, non stealing. Humans are at their highest capacity when they remove themselves from their animal instincts and focus themselves to being whole, forgiving, and self awareness.

  18. I do not believe myself to be nihilistic; however, I do tend to lean more towards the idea that humans are attracted to and motivated by violence. It is part of our history, of our identities, and our societies. Why were the games in the Roman Colosseum so popular during the Roman Empire? Why are do so many major religions display some form of sacrifice or violence in one way or the other? Why are horror films and video games so popular right now? I wonder if this is less about the sadistic spirit of the human, and more related to how we interpret and process danger through our emotions. Which also leads me to ask: is our instinct to survive so complicated in how it associates with violence, that violence seems largely unavoidable? It is well-known by now that fear is a chemical-based reaction designed to trigger human survival (1), but in this case, we have to remember that, for the majority of human beings, we no longer have to fear the same dangers that our early ancestors did. So, to that regard: have we then become so comfortable in our modern societies that we seek out danger and violence to compensate?
    I am not just referring to physical acts of violence. I admire the fact that this talk mentioned how violence is mental and emotional as well as physical. Jealousy, narcissism, emotional manipulation; these are all forms of internal emotional and mental violence. We must always be mindful of the violence we project onto others; instinctively, we may rationalize this as defending our self-identity when we are wronged in some way. But violence inhabits all senses of the human mind and body and thus has a greater threat when the two come together to enact harm. It is also imperative that we remember that self-violence is rampant but that many of us do not recognize its effects; when it manifests, we respond to the danger by either suppressing it or projecting it back outwards, harming others. However, the method of responding to the self-violence and trauma is a reflection of the person; not everyone projects outward, and not everyone mentally struggles under their own emotional weight while keeping to themselves. The complication with self-violence and emotional repression is that it is not inherently a physical struggle or act, and thus we turn to the unique human feature of ethics and rationalization to convince ourselves that no danger is present. However, it only serves to silently eat away at us.
    In regards to the mention of violence manifesting in the act of “swaying someone to our point of view”, I believe that defining this outright as “violence” may become complicated. Violence is almost always negative, but swaying someone to your point of view is not always a deplorable act. For example, do we say that peacemakers attempting to discuss prejudice with say, white supremacists, are guilty of violence? Is there an inherent contradiction here in that we are trying to “violently” maintain a sense of peace and acceptance, as history has shown us that humans show a propensity towards violence in general? Can it be said that peace is more of a result of violence and that one cannot exist without the other? But I feel that this is a question that we need to ask ourselves in regards to whether true peace is attainable.

    (1) source:

  19. Non-violence has been a established thought and practice for a long time now. However I think it is and easier said that done concept that was pushed more by oppressors and adopted by the oppressed because there was no other choice. Marginalised communities have been persecuted for decades and then take the heat whenever there is any kind of retaliation. The Black Lives Matter movement for instance. Black people are being murdered and when there is anger, riots or even peaceful protests, we are continually depicted as violent, regardless of our strategy. However I do think that there are things more powerful than violence or the acts of violence. Like the sense of self, acknowledging privilege, overcoming inner prejudices towards others, overcoming racism, homophobia, transphobia etc. Violence is what people who can not or choose not to communicate resort to and I think it also festers from a extreme sense of entitlement. Our current president for instance in sighting violence all over the world and continuing to oppress and disenfranchise communities. But I think it is important for myself to remember that all of this is temporary and whilst change may seem far fetch everything can be undone and is reversible. I think that is especially poignant now. Laws are going back and forth and change all the time, progression is happening whether those who discriminate like it or not. And all this is happening for those who are choosing to be their best selves and believing in the fact that it’s not too late for anyone to do that. I think this is obvious when certain Senators for example oppose this dictatorship nature of a presidency and the clear violation of many basic human rights. I think change is coming and is happening and it just will really be the work of others to acknowledge how corrupting and violent our actions are not even just through discrimination but even how we are treating the environment, economy and healthcare. Reversing that I think is practicing non-violence not just in a literally sense but really in the long term and reminding ourselves that as far as we know this is the only life that we have and that we should not waist it getting lost in a person or ideals that don’t really represent our best selves and who we can be and the potential to change our lives and world for the better and for generations to come.

  20. I understand too well that violence exists within all humans considering it is deeply embedded within our nature. I have once found myself to be close to a highly violent person and as time passed, I’ve come to realize how their violent behavior was negatively affecting me both emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It was slowly turning me into a violent person as well. I was able to let this person go because I have followed advice similar to the one that is given by The Secret of the Yamas. It is very true that this “eternal struggle is a war” and that it is a far bigger crime to refuse the acknowledgment that violence exists within us. I really appreciated this because violence is a force that can leave an untraversable damage if you allow it. More people should be aware of how to deal with violence and finde more peaceful ways to approach things/situations. many are unaware that their negative and violent energy also effects those surrounding them.
    – Samantha Diaz

  21. Continuing our learning of the Yamas, I feel that these are all good principles to live by. When it comes to violence, I wish there was none in the world but being humans, we can all be inherently violent. I love how the Yamas wants us to understand violence from the source and that it might not be easy to eliminate our deep rooted or surface violence, but to work towards minimizing it can truly change ourselves and those around us. To understand our violence and how it effects our environment and the people inside of it can truly make us better and more free individuals.​

  22. Of course violence exists naturally within every human being. It’s up to us, as intelligent human beings, to focus our mental and physical energy as directly as possible on our most pressing task at hand, thus eliminating the body’s need to express its emotional frustration as acts of violence. The answer is simple, if we devise a lifestyle that expresses our feelings, thoughts, and energies as efficiently as possible, while still leaving us the strength to learn and grow from our experiences, we can coexist seamlessly as more highly-functioning, self-aware members of a peaceful society. By eliminating violence we can eliminate frustration, stress, anxiety, and animosity from our lives completely. Those areas of our body and brain that were previously occupied with this negative energy can now be free to aid in the body’s pursuit of physical and spiritual enlightenment.

  23. Violence starts within and has the potential to fester and then spread outwardly to others. It is important to remember that all violent people are damaged or in pain on the inside. This does not excuse some of the heinous acts committed by truly evil people, but it helps us understand that we all have the potential to choose to accept or reject violence within ourselves. Some may be too far gone and will continue to spread their hatred and violence. That is why it must be combated with love. If we foster love in our hearts, and learn to truly love ourselves, we can then spread love to those who have anger, violence, and hatred in their hearts. In my own life I am learning to cut out all negativity which sometimes means sacrificing a relationship that we once held as valuable. If someone’s negativity and anger is having an impact on the way I feel, I choose to walk away. Rather than let their anger cause me to be angry, I can simply forgive and move on. Part of releasing negativity is acceptance. We can accept that someone else has anger and violence within themselves and then choose not to let it spread to us. It is hard to let go of certain relationships but if they are have negative effects it is sometimes the only choice to just walk away.

    Catherine Halstead

  24. This reading really connected my own personal take from the definition of the non-violence Yama. Physical violence is very obviously abhorrent, however other forms of violence are often normalized and accepted. I mean this on a societal and personal level. I found power in the part of the passage that said cosmetic hanges will only provide surface results. It helped me grasp a better idea of how to confront my own violence towards self. Understanding the way in which it manifests, the meaning behind that manifestation, and then the personal connection of why the anger and violence is within me in the first place. It is easy for me to blame my depression and anxiety for my negative behavior towards myself, but I struggle with confronting its connotations on a spiritual level. I am not this body, I am not even this mind, this phrase now forces me to confront the reality of what my physical and mental habits, maybe doing to my spirit and vice versa. The negative symptoms we associate with the common cold are often just the product of our body fighting off the illness, not the illness itself. I wonder if my self violence is a symptom, and not the illness itself. I need to confront the spiritual sickness, that plagues mw in the mental and physical spaces of this vessel.

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