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


180 responses »

  1. If there was more nonviolent people in the world there would be no wars. Some of our greatest leaders are not fighters but instead peaceful and loving. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi are great examples of strong change being made through nonviolence. Most problems in our world that could be fixed through talking and compromise are instead are blown out of proportions through negative emotions such as anger and hate.
    I do need to work on myself to learn to compromise with others. We as humans are so quick to assume our thought as superior and not take into consideration the ideas of others. I believe working together as a people is the best way to subdue violence through rational thinking and not letting our emotions completely control our actions. Staying calm during the situation is best in reducing the chance of any violence from occurring.

  2. This piece struck me because McAfee really had some great thoughts on violence that got me thinking. Although the meaning of violence to most people usually is defined similarly, McAfees description of it describes how often violence plays a role in our lives without us even being aware of it. Violence is shown to us everywhere now a days through social media, television, and the web that we essentially cannot escape without even knowing. Riots, wars, battles, bombings, shootings, protests, and many other violent acts sadly turn people against eachother daily. Disagreements in things such as politics, religion, race, gender, and economics can contribute to these extreme acts of violence. Although most people know that all these aspects are obviously affiliated with violence, what is not as obvious in the concept of violence are the small factors that also play a large role in it. If someone who eats meat says being a vegetarian is stupid it may seem innocent, but to me that person is creating mental and emotional violence towards someone else. When someones is forcing their own beliefs and oppinions on another even if it is only verbally they are doing it through violence because it is putting a sense of stress and shame on another that could possibly even cause them to question their own inner self. This occurs in our lives daily without us intentionally trying to cause it. I admire how this piece reminded me to try to recognize this more in life so I can realize the different aspects of violence and how they affect myself and others around me as well as interpret our own inner violence to obtain a better perspective of the violence in the outside world. In other words, as McAfee would say, the only way to limit violence is by observing and learning from ourselves, others, and the world. I really enjoyed this reading because although is was discussing something negative, it turned out to have a postive affect on my view of things.

  3. The Secret of the Yamas by McAfee appears to be an very interesting and informing read for all. After listening to a few sections, I can say that it seems like a good fit for anyone trying to improve upon themselves and their minds as well as their bodies. This section about the Ahisma, or non-violent, Yama is a source of information for most people I think. For me, I have always struggle with a short temper, insecurities and perceived threats whether physical or emotional. I see now that I am not in touch or in balance with the Ahisma.

    Though I am not prone what so ever to physical violence, I can see now how violence is an integral part of my own mature. As stated, i perceived emotional threats all the time. I cannot help but wonder if I am living up to peoples expectations of me or whether or not I fit in. These internal struggles are, in themselves, violent. Another example of how i experience violence comes from the fact that, because I am not religious, I will often have others’ views imposed on me. I am very open for the expression of other individual’s God’s and how they choose to worship. However when someone else’s will is inflicted upon me, i feel very threatened.

    McAfee keeps coming back to the idea of looking inward on ones self. If you perceive yourself to be an angry or violent person (and we all are to an extent), then it is important to look deep within our psyche to understand what our violence means. By doing this, we can see where the root of our anger lies. Furthermore, by not judging the violent aspect of the self, and understanding that, then change can really happen and be put out into the world.

  4. Amber Ferguson
    “The condition of non-violence would never have to be raised if we were not in fact violent people”. As an individual, it is hard to be honest with ourselves and recognize the faults within ourselves. Instead we choose to see it in other people. Violence does not necessarily mean that we lash out and physically harm one another, but we allow our suspicions and fears to overcome us inwardly and outward to in our environments. See things in black and white. We distinguish the things that we like from what we dislike, and in habit, we do the same with people and situations that occur. “Violence is to press our will and belief on to others”. Without even realizing it, violence is in our nature. What do we do with this violence? One must observe the violence within them to get to the root. Your own observations is what you need to get to the truth. If you only deal with it on the surface, it will only be eradicated on the surface.
    I recently been going through a really tough time. Even before the recent events in my life, I allowed fear to control me. I still allow it to do so. That is how I make decisions in general. I am guilty of putting up barriers to protect myself from getting hurt. Even though and outcome to a situation can potentially be positive, I would automatically put up my defenses before exploring the possibilities. It will be a long and slow process before I can say I can fully open myself up to new journeys and discoveries but with the information provided from “The Secret of the Yamas”, I feel as if though I can really make a change.

  5. I agree that violence has become a big part of our society. It holds a major role in our entire history and still to this day seems to be a big topic for us. Violence is a constant force in humans’ behavior and lives. I thought this reading was very interesting and puts things into a new perspective for me. I had not thought of the ideas presented in this reading prior. Since learning more and more about this way of thinking through our yoga assignments, I’ve been able tho comprehend the arguments. Everyone has different views on sensitive topics especially such as this one and I think it is everyone’s responsibility to make considerate decisions regardless of their belief.

  6. What is violence to us? Is it something that we consider so foreign to us that we tend to think that extreme violence is only something that happens at the hands of dictators in war-torn countries? Or is it something that we’re so familiar with that when it happens we accept it as something unavoidable? It suffices to say that violence means different things to different people, in different places. This is true of the book’s author John McAfee. He gives us many different perspectives of the nature of violence by putting a mirror up to the reader, and how we tend to look at violence.
    As mentioned before, violence takes on many forms. Whether harsh and severe, or quiet and subtle, the effects are prominent. We can create ingroup/outgroup dichotomies in which we single people out because they are different from us. This can result in the lowered self esteem in others, causing them them to feel isolated. This can lead to that behavior being placed on to others, creating a somewhat vicious cycle.
    We cannot forget what internal violence can do to us. In an article by Positive Peace Warrior Network, they remind us, “Violence is not only a physical act… Mental and psychological scars from verbal and emotional violence can hurt more and and effect you for a lot longer than physical acts of violence.” It can be said that internal violence is what leads to eating disorders and the ultimate form of self inflicted violence, suicide.

  7. Part three secrets of the yamas

    In this chapter, expresses non-violence that is part of human nature. We are filled with fear and emotions but it’s not all about insecurity. Trust is important to build and to earn; it comes with security.

    I remember when I was a kid, I enjoyed pleasure to those who done wrong; it was an act of immaturity. When I fought with my brothers for little things, my mother would scold them. For some reason, I felt like that deserved it. But I did not think it was because of my individual violence. It was about justice, discipline and fairness. “Violence is the attempt to impress our wills or beliefs onto others” This reminds me of Catholicism. It is very common to push Christianity onto people.

    Personally, I believe that there is violence but not in everyone. It depends how you look at the situation. There’s nothing wrong having comfort with religion and building relationships with people who care and loves you. Violence is something developed. I do not believe we are born with violence-same thing with purity. Nature and our surroundings impact us to understand our energy, and inner strength. It takes time to understand the “surface effect’”.

    We hold comfort with religion, and attach to relationships that blinds us from our nature.
    In the audio, it mentions people want to be led and that no one can lead you to yourself;
    there is no formula for self-discovery. It is mentioned that these things are distraction from our self. Once we observe our surroundings, the violence is revealed. “Sometimes we meet people who simply do not know how else to relate to us than through judgment. Some behave this way with all people, others with only certain people as though they are allergic to them.” Observing and judging is part some individuals nature. Some people were raised to behave different or similar to their upbringings. It is the matter of influences. You can live in a happy home and still feel lonely at times. Our reactions and feelings are important to encounter with our safe environment. When we feel threaten, it is normal to be in self-defense mode. For instance, an armed robbery occurred at your home. Of course, our first instinct is to protect our loved ones with all means. Violence can be seen negatively and helpful when we are aware of our boundaries of violence.


  8. Maddie Bodendorf
    I never thought about how violence impacted my life simply because I didn’t think I had an anger issue. Growing up, my household was not violent. My parents are still married and in love, so you can say I’m ignorant when it comes to violence. I didn’t grow up with it at all, and all I know about violence comes from tv or movies. That also brings up a good point, however. We see violence virtually our whole day when we expose ourselves to things like technology and media. It’s come to the point where violence isn’t even shocking or disturbing but much more accepted.
    Yet I really liked his description of violence of the mind or emotions. We have to place where our violence comes from before we can move forward away from it. I liked how the reading said no one can do it for you or tell you what to do – you have to do it on your own, and we only need to look for it.
    However, I thought that his explanation on how to go about understanding your personal violence was vague and not helpful. Now I know I need to combat my personal violence, but how? Obviously with mindfulness and finding its roots but I thought the reading could’ve done a better job.

  9. It was interesting to hear how McAfee describes violence. I think that violence is largely considered something physical, a targeted act of aggression. However we are slowly opening up as a people to realize how emotion violence can be just as negative as physical. It is interesting listening to this especially at a time where the world, let alone our own country, is very angry and violently charged. Our political candidates are both accused of violence- both physical and emotional, which is very symbolic and representative of where we are as a people. We take sides and get angry at those who do not simply just willingly agree with us, and then we become angry, and resentful. We start riots, we ruin signs and we openly spread hate. However, while I do believe in people staying true to themselves, I also whole heartedly agree with cutting ties with those who only bring you pain, negative energy and hatred. But do so without struggle or hatred on your part. Simply let them be who they are, but separate from you, so you can better stay true to yourself. We have the power of communication and emotion and love and spirituality, why should we waste that on hate? Why waste your energy forcing a part of yourself onto another person that does not want it, in any context? It is hard to disagree with his definition when viewed from this perspective. How can any of us claim not to be violent when most of the time we are stubborn in our views and try to force people into mental submission? I need to focus on myself and my authenticity and my fulfillment and contentment. We must always act as though our actions will affect others on a much larger scale.

    While I do think that McAfee makes some very valid points and that it is always better to be more mindful and watch what motivates our violence and anger towards ourselves and other, I do not think it is so cut and dry. Violence is a part of all nature, not just human. But by trying to understand that we are a more developed and intelligent part of nature allows us the critical thinking skills and insight to try to move past these biological urges and put into practices these morals and ideals (Yamas in this case) to do our best to evolve past it.

    McAfee’s definition of violence is simple and classifies all humans as violent. I do believe that everyone does have these traits in a sense. Maybe not all of us present the physical aspects, but the stubborn rigidness that possesses us to force our beliefs onto others instead of working inwards to please ourselves . His basic definition can really explain every war on this planet. If you strip all of the individual details and circumstances from past conflicts you are always left with the same main goal: one group of people attempting to force their beliefs upon another group of people. Historically, this has been the root of all war, and of all colonization. When will we finally stop repeating history?

  10. Aliena Ali

    I liked this piece about violence since it isn’t something I usually think about. In addition, this recording/reading does an excellent job of presenting the concept of violence in a way that we aren’t used to thinking about it. The reading defines violence as ones attempt to impose our beliefs onto others. The reading does not only present violence to us as this physical thing that we are used to. I really appreciated this aspect. The reading/recording goes on to explain that violence, whether or not we realize it, is an integral part of our human nature. I had never really considered violence in this way because I’ve always considered it to be an outside force that rarely ever affected me. To me, violence was quite simply when someone attacked my physical being. From the reading/recording, I’ve gathered that violence is much more than that.

    Since compromise is not a strong suit of mine, I especially took interest in the piece about how we tend to retaliate and protect our desires through violence when faced with the dilemma to compromise. To me, compromise has always meant that I don’t get what I want and so I don’t want it at all. And so, when I try to compromise, I simply give in to what the other person wants wholly. This is no sort of compromise. So, I definitely understand what the reading/recording is talking about in terms of violently reacting to situations that displease us.

  11. The oxford dictionary defines violence as: behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.The Secret of the Yammas part 3, speaks upon the subject matter of violence, and it’s relations with our daily lives. Violence can be expressed in many ways– from physical, verbal and now with the internet so accessible, it can be expressed cyber-wise.

    I admire the way McAfee speaks about violence and it’s impact on our lives. As humans, though some may not promote any acts of violence, there is that slightly morbid part of us that. That is what McAfee is trying to elucidate in this reading.

    Being someone who was raised in a environment that’s driven by war and violence, as sad as this might sound, I am use to it. I am use to seeing it and being surrounded by it. This has put me in a laxed frame of mind when I hear or witness violence. I use to think to myself that, It is not okay for a human to be comfortable around violence, yet I was. Never did I thought of committing any acts of violence or excited any of my daily tasks in a violent manner.

    McAfee continued by saying “If we are full aware by violence, as it’s happening and observe without judgement. Then in that full observation, the root of violence is revealed.” This statement got me reflect on the past and reminisce on the violence I’ve seen and question the nature of it. This got me to think that, it’s because of the violence I’ve witnessed in my time, makes me less motivated to participate in the nature of it.

    This reading was a enjoyable one that open up my eyes to new perspective and ways how violence can impact or influence our lives and others.

  12. Non-injury, non-violence. Imposing will or defending will.

    This was a very powerful reading, especially as it pertains to violence and religion. I think its interesting the the author brings up the concept that humans use violence to impose ones will and others will use violence to defend their will. I think most if not all conflicts start this way whether they are religious in nature or not. I also find that sometimes it can be very hard to define exactly who is defending their will with violence and who is imposing, sometimes it can be quite obvious but not always. These large scale religious wars have seen families, regions and lives torn apart and as stated in the reading it does not appear they will be stopping any time soon. I would wholeheartedly agree that creating a blanket goal of “ending violence” is naive and impossible, I believe rather we should be looking within ourselves and trying to end individual violence or personal violence. Those things may include violence towards ourselves or others. Violence towards ones self may not always include physical harm but could be things such a damaging food habits or poor sleep schedules. I think limiting personal violence to yourself or others could help reduce the amount of large scale violence we see in the world.

    You also spoke briefly about the ways in which we as people defend ourselves from things we fear such as death or loneliness. I found it interesting to hear you talk about people using relationships to avoid loneliness or religion to avoid the idea of death. I think perhaps maybe if people can come to terms with death or loneliness they may find themselves in a happier place.

  13. This read passage is incredibly beautiful and intellectually stimulating when applied to all elements of life and structures of society. Although the terms and concepts used in the passage are complex and loaded (violence, accountable groups, barriers), all of them can be deconstructed as easy as looking at it, as you have spoken of in the reading. Violence thrives in a society like today, where capitalism inherently divides people into ”accountable groups”. The specific diction of referring to them as “accountable” groups is very powerful. This illustrates the expected, unquestioned, powerful, very much palpable, realistic yet arbitrary expectations and framings/stereotypes of oppressed and de-franchised peoples in not only the United States but the entire world. They are held accountable for arbitrary, hurtful and evil stereotypes although they have not chosen them nor as a group have they fulfilled them, and their actions against such stereotypes are framed in aggressive, ridiculous, “radical” manners to further oppress them.
    This supposed result of an ideal solution to all dissolving of violence would be Ahisma, meaning non-injury, absence of hostility. Mahatma Ghandi was more than familiar with this struggle to acquire this desired solution against violence especially in the realm of resistance against oppressive, powerful structures, as they led his political movements and achievements and his daily life. In his extensive book, he writes of this violence’s lack of palpable solution, “Man lives freely by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity” (Ghandi 85). Ghandi equated all man, connecting the very so severed ties that allow for a sense of insecurity of personal security to thrive. Our own President cannot even find it within himself to to grasp a remote sense of this very philosophy. Rather, he is so concerned with his own insecurity-driven biases, his clinging to money, segregation, homophobia, misogyny, anti-muslim/xenophobic attitude, that he cannot fathom the identical humanity that lives within every person of a oppressed group that he so fears (Black Lives Matter, Hispanic/Latino immigrants, women).
    Social organizing to combat these different forms of violence (whether they be to hate crimes and murders to the belief in ideology that hurts others to promote oneself) are met with varying discourse since the fight for civil rights and rights for all have been in existence. Protest and liberation figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X for instance are prime examples of this fuzzy gray area to finding the solution of violence in the everyday life. King writes in a letter in jail for peaceful protest, “My friends, I must say to you. You may well ask, “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, etc.? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. History is the long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups are more immoral than individuals” (King 5-6). King advocates for peaceful protest/pressure as the only route to civil liberty yet also alludes to the rarity that nonviolence actually occurs in the fight for justice, and how nonviolence can only be accessed on an individual basis. Then will non-violence prevail in larger groups and so on. This argument has been challenged on several occasions by other civil rights leaders as after years and years after King’s legacy we still see racism and injustice happening every single day. Malcolm X is a leader of this oppositional perspective whom preached that peace did not rattle the privileged cages that the men whom held the ability to make actual change enough. This is still a very much unquenched gray area in today’s political discourse. I find myself at times as do many other of my friends and family who find passion in helping others to refrain from anger and micro-forms of violence when an issue is as prevalent as it is. This comes from a place of helplessness but as you have preached to give up on yourself doesn’t benefit anyone else.

    • I see you truly have spent a good deal of time thinking about these issues and have merged the present day political scandals and your personal ethics. This is well thought out and written essay, for which if you continue along these lines you will earn a high grade for your Yoga Journal portion of the course. Have you seen Ava Devranay’s “13th” I think you will value this documentary very much, it doesn’t have an encyclopedic coverage of the issues but an well organized contemporary review leaving room as the Director states for others to figure out what they can include and start to do for changes. Best Wishes, Namaste

      • I’m going to see the documentary next week I’m very excited! Thank you for referring it to me! I was about to do this assignment for this week but it seems that I have already done it. Thank you again! Have a lovely weekend. Namaste.

  14. I think considering different aspects and emotions of our humans selves in complicated, nuanced ways is incredibly important to understanding ourselves at all. This listening was incredibly beneficial for me because lately I have been thinking a lot violence, anger, action and inaction. I thought it was interesting to hear violence spoken about as a visceral part of our human psyche, and I agree with that completely. The way we choose to act and exist in our external world is inherently in conversation with notions of violence, because who you choose to speak to, look at, help, or ignore all become incredibly and equally powerful demonstrations of violence. Sometimes nonphysical violence can be more powerful than physical, and the more we try to understand ourselves and our behaviors the closer we can get to self discovery.

    • Thanks for your honest thoughts expressed here. I do hope that this course offers you ways to find options that are healing, positive and peaceful to balance all the other energies. Please do invest more time sharing your thoughts in your essays, Namaste

  15. The perspective of this piece is that violence equates harm. Colloquially, we think of violence as a physical act that will result in physical harm. If we look deeper, we will find that harm comes in many more forms, and if we don’t hold ourselves accountable for our actions, the result will be more harm towards others. I believe that the energy we put out into the world has a tremendous impact on life. Having anger and fear in our hearts will affect the energy that comes from us. To truthfully do no harm, one must make a decision beyond being non-violent in a physical sense. That is only the tip of the iceberg. Until we can find only love for others, that is where the violent cycle truly ends. Feeling resentment of others, feeling envious or jealous of others; that is a sign of the violence within us. Of course, it is natural for us to feel these things, but to find happiness and peace, we must find a way to dissolve these habits within us.

  16. I think if used a more broad definition of violence to include violence in debate (i.e. trying to change people’s opinions, not listening, etc.) a lot of the sorts of problems going on in this country would be greatly relieved. During and after the election there was a lot of talk of “we lost, they won”, “how could they be so stupid” and so on. I think this us/them mentality that has been created by liberals and conservatives is doing much harm to political discourse in this country. It’s also leading to violence in the more traditional sense (no one should get punched for wearing a hat you don’t like).
    I think the Yamas could be helpful to society. I think it could give us a lot of empathy. People need to understand that it’s not left versus right, it’s Americans working together, and that no matter who you are, where you live, how much money you have, or who you vote for we’re all in this together, and all our problems are important and are to be belittled.

  17. Non violence is incredibly important right now, given the current climate of our country. It is in human nature to act violently because we have a need to feel safe, secure, and to establish dominace. In other words, violence is a survival instinct. However, our species has adapted to a way of life that does not require this intense survival mode and therefore we must work to overcome this urge. This excerpt eloquently unpacked how we should go about dealing with this hostility. We must begin at the root; the internal struggle. By observing and understanding why we become violent we can then begin to control it and overcome it. I try everyday to interact in the world with empathy, forgiveness, and kindness, being aware that the world is bigger than myself. Violence is a huge downfall of man but we also have the power to rise above it when given the proper tools.

  18. One specific line in the reading really stuck out to me. We take pleasure in watching other who have done wrong be punished. This reminded me of two of the more violent episodes in history: the Salem Witch trials and the French Revolution. In both instances, a majority of the public, including children, would gather to watch public executions. In the case of the French, the violence was a response to the lack of freedoms and the long standing oppression imposed on them by the nobility and upper class. Regardless of your fault in the placement of the “barriers” that surrounded the lower class, you could be dragged out of your home and executed. The more appropriate example of the walls we create around ourselves is the Salem Witch trials. Outsiders to the main community and any other undesirables were accused of witch craft and sentenced to die without any real means of defending themselves.
    The walls we place around ourselves and those we care for have taken center stage in the recent political climate. The white, christian, conservative groups in this country are attempting to wall themselves off, both literally and figuratively, from those who are seen as different and dangerous in the American culture. Because of the fear that holds up these walls, there is no opportunity for the exchange of information about each other. This dialogue is the only thing that may bring these walls down, but instead they continue to grow higher and higher.

  19. It is true that in our nature we are inherently violent. To think about how we try to control violence but inevitably create it as a result of trying to tame it is very true and is a perspective I hadn’t thought through before. Violence in our society is treated strangely. We condemn violence but are always acting violent in different ways, whether we realize it or not. Politics today is violent, even when it tries to have good intentions. The term “fight or flight” arose in my mind while listening to this podcast. We either run away and hide from the violence or we face it head on, with violent intentions in order to protect ourselves. Violence comes in many forms, and in order to tame it truly, we must practice mindfulness and quiet our brains and our bodies.

    – Lilah Tsudome

  20. In was interesting to hear violence being described as an action that was not exclusively related to physical altercatons. I’ve always known that there are other emotional or abstract harms that one could commit, but I never thought of self-interested swaying of someone else opinions as a violent act. In retrospect, I can think back to instances where I have done so and felt this uneasy feeling when I analyzed my actions. This audio was both informative and refreshing to listen to because it translated a definition of a word that I was sure I knew the meaning of and gave it a new depth in relation to all of my current understands since beginning this yoga class.

    -Sebastian Jean

  21. Leah Ashton-Facin
    This piece made me consider a wider range of what violence is. People usually deem it to be more about physicality of violence when in reality it is much more complex than that. Violence can be in our own minds or it can be simple acts that we portray toward one another. Indeed it is an integral part of our nature as the video suggests but that is because of how many forms it can take. We perceive many things to be threats to our security including dividing those we see around us into categories in which to deem how we feel about them. We can even do this kind of decisive violence to ourselves through an internal struggle. Even when we have arrogance to say someone to our own point of view. I think much of these boils down to how we view ourselves. The relationship that one has with the self informs how they deal with those around them. Therefore I want to work on transcending this individualistic relationship with violence between the self and look further into my own actions toward myself and others.

  22. A part of the eight-fold path of the Yama, Ahimsa stands for non-violence and non-harming. The violence this Yama addresses, aside from any harm to another person, is the violent things a person experiences within themselves. Fear and insecurities are often causations of violence within. I reflected on several sections of this reading. The notion that “cosmetic” change is an important point. Often, I feel as if I see people covering themselves up and spend a significant amount of time and money doing so, but they stay unhappy. This is one point in my life that I don’t feel that I cause myself violence with. I have almost always felt that my true needs are met (i.e roof over my head, food to eat, good family and friends) and I am not tempted by any means of masking myself. However I have had difficulty learning how to be alone outside of when I am doing chores or homework. I don’t know how to just be with myself and do something that isn’t work. I see now how this could be violent because I don’t experience much leisure time by myself and when I do have the time I will fill it with busy work. Although I don’t know what damage of this to me yet, I do hope that the path of the Yamas allows for me to learn to be with myself, and have a greater understanding for what was keeping me from doing so.

    An example this reading also discusses is how insecurity emerges in the form of violence within in part to living our lives at such a fast pace. I can relate to this because I know that if I am not busy, I am alone, which isn’t always settling. I believe that humans are always striving to have some sort of purpose, and that heavy scheduling has become the modern way of creating a purposeful life for oneself. The path of the Yamas addresses aspects of life that are easily relatable and enlightening to the way one sees and thinks of themselves.

  23. The firs time I listened to this I was confused. It seemed that the author was telling you all the things that were wrong with violence and how it’s impossible to stop, but then no offering any solutions until one at the very end. But I listened to it again this morning and it started to make sense. It’s pretty obvious actually. It’s like the idea of fighting fire with fire. It’s just not gonna work. If you look at violence and you say, I’m going to beat you into submission. Well there’s your problem. It’s actually making me think a lot about the UN and their “Peace keepers.” Soldiers walking around in blue hats that can only shoot if shot at. It really seems pretty counter active towards their mission. Then again, I have never thought of the UN as being the “get stuff done” organization. All though they do try.
    Understanding it as a I do now is totally different than actually being able to practice it though. I understand that you have to look at violence and accept it. But that’s very challenging. As he also said humans are violent. We are violent by nature. So when we use violence it is pleasing and sometimes it seriously does get the job done. There is no disputing that. I will do my best to start to recognize violence so I can begin the steps of leaving it be.

    -Phillip Laskaris

  24. It is important to understand that violence is part of what makes us human, just as much as love.These two emotions constantly contradict and collide with each other, resulting in not much other than a distraction for the mind. Being able to focus these two primitive feelings in a balanced and healthy way is a step every one individual must take, and excel in, before being able to fully operate with mass amounts of people in a constructive way.
    You mention we can not be capable of true change until we understand how our own violence affects those around us. I believe there is also the matter of developing a good theory of mind. One person can not help think for the masses unless they are fully capable of thinking as someone else, outside of their self. We must understand that everyone has had different experiences resulting in either love or hate, while we may all want the same thing we may not all have the same outlook on the way situations need to be handled to reach that certain goal.

  25. What stood out to me was the emphasis McAfee places on observation. Through observation we can identify that we are inherently violent and that there is a root to this matter. Intimately understanding violence in yourself is the key to addressing it and how it manifests into the outside world. This manifestation is the most important; how are the people around you affected and how are you affected. Whether this violence is real or imagined it still has a very real weight in our psyches and souls. Again, the transition from inside to outside is the movement that regulates the well being of the individual. Understanding this transition and the two spaces, interior and exterior, independently as well as their relationship is something McAfee alludes too as well as the other texts we have looked at.


  26. It is easier to see violence in others but we have to accept that violence is in all of us. It’s in our nature. Fears and curiosity can change our outlook on things and our behavior. It was interesting to hear how violence can be seen in simply dividing up groups of people, for example those you dislike and like. It also caught my attention the way violence was defined in this video because I typically tend to think of violence as a physical harmful way but there are so many other ways that we all don’t realize. Listening to this video brought to my attention that truly everywhere you look and hear there is subtle violence. Social media, the radio, the tv.. everywhere. In this specific time in our country, I have seen much violence within people arguing about their own opinions on the presidential election through social media. What we need to learn is that violence is not the answer because it will get you nowhere. It is unlikely that one can come to a conclusion or some positive understanding through arrogance and unwilling to open the mind to hear others. This video was extremely informative. It’s almost a reminder in a way to make someone realize that what you may think is not violence is and how to understand that it’s only natural as a human being but there are changes we as people have to make to find peace and clarity.

    -Melanie Ramos

  27. This reading presented a more complete conceptualization of violence and framed certain thoughts and actions as violent, when I had never considered them violent previously. But, when listening to the passage, I can see how thinking about someone experiencing misfortune, or even try to change someone’s opinion, are in fact violent because they create internal conflicts that are a form of violence. For the first half of this passage, I was worried that there was no way to actually eliminate violence without practicing violence in the process. However, towards the end of the reading, where it is stated that true change is possible if we examine our own violence, understand its roots and how it operates, and see what affect that has on us and the world, I felt relieved that, although this is a very difficult process, it is possible. It certainly requires a great deal of introspection and honesty, and I may at times fool myself into thinking I am considering every way in which I practice violence, this is something I would really like to work on. I often feel that underlying conflicts, whether with other people or between personal ideologies and actual practices, create additional tension for me and negatively influence how I function. Thoroughly examining the ways I am violent and how that manifests itself in my behaviors and relationships seems like an effective way to release some of that tension.

  28. Violence is an energy than come part of human being. Without a doubt, none of the civilians would want to have war around the world. The people who hold the most authority around different places can’t observe their root of violence due to their selfishness. Therefore, the violent wars just keep on happening. The same rule also applies to us. There are laws that restrict our exterior violence. However, we often have interior violence. Our root of violence appears when we tend to persuade someone with our point of view or putting belief on others. It is our job to observe carefully into our mind. Thus, our violent will evaporate.

  29. Four years ago I arrived at SUNY Purchase from Amarillo, Texas. It was such a culture shock from where I had once been. I began to notice in my freshmen class that all of us were trying so hard to put our moral compasses on one another and at the same time not accept the other persons beliefs in all facets of life. Now I realize that was a form of violence amongst one another. We were all trying so desperately to hold on to our security blankets of what we knew from our upbringings. All humans are conditioned to think a certain way regardless if we want to or not. It is our job to be mindful and open to discussing these conditions. One of my freshmen class friends has had a total different upbringing than myself. Despite the difference we are able to talk about this conditioning within ourselves and how to break those bonds that hold us back. This to me can only be described as true respect and love towards others. I hope to see myself and others continue to speak about this violence within us and to encourage one another to listen and be loving within ourselves and outwardly.

  30. I think that todays society is driven by violence and fear a lot of the time. Fear definitely creates more violence and by being a violent person whether mentally or physically it can cause a ripple effect and there for create more violence. That being said, I definitely don’t think everyone is violent, the people I surround myself with and that are in my life are quite the opposite. But with everything happening in the world right now, a lot of people are afraid and a lot of people resort to violence or hatred to cope with their own fears. I think it is important for people to meditate, practice yoga or other practices that help bring relaxation, balance and patience into their life. The more people that are kind, respectful and tolerable can hopefully help to make others want to be that way and make the world a more safe and non violent place.

  31. While violence has, and always will be, a part of our society, now in a time of international disagreement and conflict – both politically and socially – violence is playing an even larger role on a more-daily basis. The concepts discussed in Part 3 of “The Secret of the Yamas” outline the belief that violence stems from our own internal struggles and disagreements; such that the only way we, as a society, can proceed in attempting to change, and rid the violence among us, is by way of understanding the workings of violence around us realizing the widespread negative impact its causing without judgment.

    I found the most interesting portion of Part 3 to be the idea of violence being an integral part of our nature, stemming from our own fears and suspicions as a result of incoming threats and hostility. Furthermore, that violence is within all of us from the effort we try to put forth to combat violence. This is something that not only suggests that violence can never be defeated, but that everyone is violent; something that I do not necessarily agree with. While we may all have some aggressive moments, I do not believe that these are violent moments; instead, simply actions that are assumedly necessary at the time to better one’s position relative to their circumstances. To propose that everyone is violent is something that I don’t think that I can agree with.

    However, the concept that violence is something that we, as a society, wish could be cured with a formula, is something that I do agree with. Like math, where there is always one right answer, it’d be amazing if the defeating factor of violence came about because of a formula to combat the human inclination to obtain by harm or force. Especially in time where the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe are stricken with war and violence, it would be miraculous if someone came up with an algorithm to eradicate such behavior.

    • Until the cure is found we are left with promoting compassion, respect and sharing peaceful practices such as yoga in schools, organizations, etc… to teach skills as options for non-violent behavior….OM

  32. It is refreshing to think of violence as an essential human characteristic instead of something to be banished. As the audio notes, violence is natural. It is a reaction to stress, need or to a violation of space (real or imagined, literal or metaphorical). We use or experience violence in a variety of ways – from the physical to the violence of disagreements, dissatisfaction and emotion. Rather than simply regard violence as physical harm and evil it is useful, at least to me, to think of the multifaceted nature of violence and its effect. Violence is both useful and not useful, needed and not needed.

    I appreciated the contradiction of the violent nature of supressing our violent natures. Perhaps it is unethical or immoral to do this but I never viewed that restraint as a permanent state – rather I viewed it as a temporary state. In this restrained posture we can understand our violence and perhaps channel it into something useful, necessary and constructive. When that happens violence isnt destructive but creative, it isnt angry but beautiful and powerful.

  33. I found the exploration of rejection of violence as a kind of violence very interesting. Many people who strive to be kind and do no harm in the world are often very harsh on themselves, berating themselves for their feelings or behaviors, or a perceived set of failures. I don’t think a lot of people consider that to do so is in fact to exercise a kind of harm–against oneself. Giving forgiveness or acceptance to others can be difficult; giving it to oneself is much more so. Especially if we don’t think of rejection of our integral qualities as a kind of harm.

    The best way to live one’s life happily and kindly seems to start with offering acceptance to the monkey brain, realizing that while striving to be better is good, being less than perfect is not a crime.

    – Harper Stevenson

  34. The notion of Ahisma or peace and nonviolence is a fundamental part of our responsibility and need to address the inherently violent aspects of our beings. I think the idea that violence is part of our nature is very interesting as a concept and should be explored more often. Why do we react in the ways that we do when faced with situations of fear or stress. Anger at others is a natural reaction. Even thinking about the film Inside out with anger being one of the most important of our emotions. Seeing anger as a character singled out of our other emotions, interacting in the film was really interesting. We see how quickly our mood can shift and anger can take up our whole mental space, clouding our thoughts and actions.

    I also have been thinking about this notion of nonviolence often with our current political climate and the emergence of more mass protests. With protesting, as we know from lessons from Martin Luther King, Gandhi and other amazing figures from our global history, we know that violence does not solve that which we are trying to solve. Still, we are looking for ways to make change without using violence. I have participated in meditations at protests and it feels amazing to take the nonviolent route, placing your intent into the change you seek but not creating a state of disarray or harming anything or anyone in the process. Violence evokes violence and evoking something for some can seem better than evoking nothing at all but I think the reality is that it creates something much worse. This is important to think about in today’s world.

  35. McAfee’s said that “No one can lead you to yourself, and there is no formula for self-discovery.” MacAfee’s words really struck a chord with me. Growing up, I’ve always struggled with self-discovery. I went through long phases in which I didn’t feel comfortable with myself, because I was so worried about appealing to other people. I valued other people’s opinions of myself other than my own, and I wasn’t genuinely happy. Now that I’m older and have lived through many difficult experiences, I’ve learned that just as McAfee said, no one can lead you to yourself. Now I understand that I am still discovering parts of myself. Things I like, things I hate. I am now more comfortable with myself which allows me to be more outgoing and take more risks. A few years ago I wouldn’t feel comfortable introducing myself in class and sharing my thoughts with people like we do in our Yoga class. Though I am not as fearful of sharing parts of myself with others, yoga does help me with this process. Yoga really calms me and reduces my nervousness.

  36. The first Yamas, Ahisma discusses the practice of non-violence, and how common it is in our everyday lives. Violence seems to be a part of human nature. Whether it be physical, verbal, self, or some other form of violence. I believe that violent natures a simply a part of many people’s lives, and they are numbed to the fact of how often it happens. One quote that stuck out to me from John McAfee’s book was, “to see the root of our violence, we only need to look”. Violent acts committed by oneself often go unnoticed, due to the constant violent nature of the world.

    Also in response to your comment on my post from journal #2, I looked into John McAfee’s life a few years ago, and I can’t believe that a man who wrote such beautiful and inspirational passages, could make such a dramatic turn in his life. If you look him up one of the first articles is, “John McAfee: sex, drugs and anti-virus software”. Not really what I expected from somebody who dedicated so much of his life to meditation and yoga.

    • Yes it is interesting to see what has happened to McAfee…actually in a short span of time….I believe that his successes lead to greed and overpowering ego issues that took him far away from his yogic formative years that probably helped him achieve some of his first successes….but its a good lesson that we can choose to stay on the path and use the tools to stay focused and balanced or let ourselves become lost….Namaste

  37. I find it very interesting to think about the concept of the absence of violence. It’s seems to be such an inevitable part of every day life that it’s sort of overlooked. The true nature of violence is something I admittedly don’t have a very good understanding of at the moment. When I truly sit and ‘meditate’ on the true nature of violence in my own life it seems to sort of ‘open up’ so much understanding about the trials and tribulations of every day life for me, how and why these violent conditions have come to be.

  38. Violence is driven from a place of hatred and fear. Fear drives a lot of the hegemony in todays American society. Revenge, judgements, lies, are all ways of violence. We should try to understand the source of our violence, finding underlying source, or root of the violence within ourselves can change ourselves and world for the better. Perspective and attitude make a big differnece in your life as well. Something I often think of when I am feeling upset in any way is how I have the ability within myself to turn on the light. The light being a connection with a greater god, conciousness, or whatever you may choose to call it. Now, turning that light on isn’t that simple yet, but consistent practice helps.
    “There is no formula for self discovery” I like things part of the clip, it is a powerful messages that emphasizes the individuality of every persons path. Some take years to find inner peace, some never do, some never pursue their dreams. Maybe this is because of outside forces.

  39. I really enjoyed what this part talked on. Violence can sometimes be ignored as something that happens naturally within us when we become vulnerable. Being able to step back from a violent thought and dismantle it into NOTHING is something that takes time, but I know that I’ve been able to master in small scenarios. Whether it’s small road rage in the car or stress about class, I’ve been able to control any

    A part that this reading also had to speak on that I felt was important was the “desperate seek for continuity” that haunts us and can close us in. I think that being able to open yourself up to a whole different experience on a day to day basis can help with sanity and teach better than any classroom or textbook is capable off. It’s difficult to stay humble and grounded if you find yourself living in a recycled day-for-day loop that offers little to nothing in terms of new tests for controlling violence.

    • Glad you have decided to catch up the assignments, do remember that a college level essay is expected for each entry and the deadline for late journal work is today Sunday, April 30th.

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