Some tips about the secret…

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After finishing the chapters on the five Yamas from John McAfee’s book, “The Secret of the Yamas,” the above link is a continuation of my readings.  Getting to the core of this self-discipline Yama practice that Shri Patanjali layed out for us so long ago begins with McAfee’s summation.  A quote from this chapter:

“…It is an illusion to believe that fundamental change requires time, that we must work diligently toward a goal and gradually become better, wiser, happier, and more spiritual.  Such an approach uses the present moment as a tool to obtain future fulfillment; the present is used for planning, dreaming, working toward a result.  Consequently, our lives are lived in the future and we are in constant relationship to the past; and the field of life – the present moment – is missed entirely…”

Namaste

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153 responses »

  1. What connected with me most in this particular post was the concept of relationships and how our actions are only re-actions. I used to think I was the most aware being in the world. In other words I was aware of my actions, thoughts, movements, I was conscious of why I was thinking in the ways that I was and why I acted the way I acted. Sometimes I had questions, but usually the act of self-reflection and over analysing allowed me to be conscious enough to go throughout my day positively enough that I thought everything I was doing was right. However, I’ve come to realise that I have been full of myself. My ego has inhibited me from feeling a lot of things through, approaching things at a “truer” level, and I have lost a lot of relationships in part because of that. Relationships are so important to me. The people who I surround myself with are even more important. I used to only jump into relationships thinking as people as stepping stones. And while yes, in some ways that may be true, I realised this selfish ego driven of a relationship has been proven to be costly. My intentions were wrong and not always genuine. I only wanted people in my life that I consciously saw benefiting my health, well being, intellect, etc. However, growing, stopping, and taking in new perspectives made me realise that maybe its EVERYONE that has something to share and to be selective about who comes into your life and gets a piece of you is ignorant, like the post you shared with us touched on. It’s very difficult for me to live in the present. I am a dreamer. Everyday I dream of the future, of a better world, and yet it’s funny because while I am doing that I am usually eating toast with butter, sipping on coffee, and mopping around about the current issues in our world. While YES, I do REALISE that I need to DO and act on my dreams, PLAN and stop being the person I was yesterday it’s hard. It’s very hard to get out of that habit. This past summer I had the opportunity to go to France for 5 weeks and in those 5 weeks i changed my diet, routine, and entire schedule. I worked, I created, I read, I took photographs, I ran, I tried to stimulate my body and mind constantly. I was away from my normal environment, I was away from the habits I knew. I was in SOMETHING NEW and felt alive. Now, I need to find that something NEW here in my current environment to feel that same exuberance and vitality to push on. I believe the Isha Kriya has really allowed me to feel and relax. I have definitely been manifesting strong energy into my life and strong people who inspire me, but now it is up to me to use this energy to do something exciting.

  2. This excerpt of the Secret of the Yamas sort of sums up all of the ideas discussed. Starting off, it says how in the smallest fragment exists evidence of the whole. This idea can relate to life in that one can seek out the root of something in one person in order to find that thing in all people. It also touches on time and how we have trouble living in the present. We keep thinking about the past and living in the future. This makes it extremely difficult to live in the now and approach each situation anew. You constantly bring past experiences into new ones and react to things based on those experiences. I agree with this statement. Objectively looking at a new situation is very tough especially if the result will effect you in some way. Confronting situations with some bias can at times be safer and smarter. However, I can see why doing so would be very freeing and yield powerful results. Personally, I do wish to try this in my life in the future and give an effort to living more in the moment

    -Max Pollio

  3. “All of life is relationship,” says John McAfee in this excerpt-how true. Everything we do is a reaction to or result of our relationship with some other stimulus; how we relate to our circumstances, our peers, our family, even ourselves. On some level, I think we realize this-if I am stuck in traffic on my way to work and I’m already late, I will become frustrated and grumpy, an obvious reaction to the trials of trying to get to work in an urban area. But, more subconsciously, how I see the world and move through it is a reaction to how I was raised-whether this is based on religious beliefs or societal norms depends on the person, but we all do it. McAfee says that desire to change ingrained beliefs and behaviors can be a good thing, but that making a plan to do so it to waste the present moment. In yoga and in other spiritual practices, we place much emphasis on being “in the moment,” but even thinking “I should try to be more present in the moment,” is to waste that moment-it is to live in the future, now the now. We must simply do it-not sit around thinking about it or planning to do it.

  4. This excerpt was essentially a summary of all of the points discussed so far, and how to apply them to a greater goal. McAfee begins by explaining how something large begins with the smallest component that allows us to build and grow from that starting point. Carefully examining how one person reacts in one situation can better help us understand people and emotions in a greater sense. In another setting, taking small steps and mastering little components of a whole can help us achieve something great over a period of time. He mentions the importance of dedication in such circumstances, where nothing will be able to be achieved without diligent effort, focus, and concentration. The explanation of using the “present moment” to impact the “future moment” is essentially the meaning of why we live and how we use each step we take each day to move forwards towards the moments of our future. Those “future moments” will be a reward for all of the hard work that led to those successes.

    -Geena

  5. Again, we hone in on each yama and it’s attributes to the human while focusing on the specific aspects of an approach that can create a better projection of self outwardly. We begin to discuss the smaller aspects of existence in the audio and follow with the connections that these aspects can have with everything else; in refusing focus on the yamas, we move away from a balanced and disciplined self within the greater scheme of life, involving a less positive approach beginning from the self and connecting to our outward relationships. We then discuss relationships as well; and our relationships seem to be something quite malleable. Involving friends, family, neighbors, even moving into knowledge, possessions, and the connections that we have with beliefs, we realize our relationships and the ties that we share with them. These become branches, moving outward from something that is based on the self, and must be disciplined in a way that evolves us constantly. As we move through the future, we must continue this path within the most positive way possible, based on our energy, our actions, and, as the audio suggests, our constant reactions.

  6. I almost feel like this clip starts to make the whole of itself start to wrap around itself…maybe it’s just me getting confused and having a personal response to its points on my yogic path lol, but honestly. It’s speaking to finding the truth of the matter collectively by focusing on the individual, and that seems counter-intuitive…like examining the grain of sand instead of taking on the whole beach. But if I go back and think of what the previous chapter said, isn’t this process skewed because of the subjectivity of “truth?”

    How, in my arrogance, ignorance, and inability to stay in my moment, can I ever hope to get to what the truth is – and once I get there, isn’t it a societal truth I’m connecting to, and therefore a flawed truth at best? I know I have a lot of questions here, but I’m just going with my flow in my moment.

    I think that right now, the collective identity of the world is as far away from truth as it could be…most people are ruled by the flawed premises and illusions perpetuated by fear. therefore, getting to one collective truth is impossible; rather, I think what we do is find love (which to me is the ultimate truth, as I believe the clip is saying when not getting bogged down by negativity,) in the little ways that are authentic to us: doing things for other, feeding a pet, going out with friends, whatever means something to the individual. people’s unique tastes are so varied, and so there can never be one Universal truth of love, only grains of unique-sand love that make up the whole shoreline of truth. Each grain is different.

    The notion of “I” is so important, and I think we give the ego a bad rap in many ways…even as it robs of the present moment, it is also what shows us what we want and who we are by way of contrast in our moment, and if we authentically honor our feelings and love ourselves through them no matter what they are, we can get to our own personal truth.

    • Your honest comments are refreshing and your current “truths”…..I’m sure you will chose to stay on the path and find yourself changing your perspective and views many times as you walk forward, stay engaged and awesome!

  7. This post in regards to time is extremely upsetting. As someone about to graduate, with no real set goals or direction, I am constantly stressing about the future and cannot live in the present. The past is unimportant as all I can think about is where is next, what is next. Needing to step back and deal with the present is hard when the next day, week, month, year is uncertain. It is important to understand that to be a better person, to be more in tune with the world around us, we need to concentrate on ourselves in this moment, and the world in this moment, and our surroundings in this moment. It is important to take the time to breathe and enjoy the right now, which is something that people can no longer do it seems.

  8. This chapter ‘The Secret’ talks about the importance, and the roots of ignorance and how being mindful of it opens us to infinite possibilities of our mind and perspective. What connected with me most in this particular post was the concept of relationships and how our actions are only re-actions. I was aware of my actions, thoughts, movements, I was conscious of why I was thinking in the ways that I was and why I acted the way I acted for the most part. The practice of yoga has helped me be even more in tune with myself and the consequences of what my actions may have. I have found that if I leave my ego at the door and show compassion and understanding, theres less tension in the relationships that I do have. Im so quick to assume that other people understand me automatically but thats not always the case. I think that right now, the collective identity of the world is as far away from truth as it could be…most people are ruled by the flawed premises and illusions perpetuated by fear, greed, envy etc therefore, getting to one collective truth is impossible. This makes communication so hard and the big picture isnt being seen or met because its so foggy and misunderstood. The only thing people can control is finding the truth within ourselves and about ourselves before one decides to understand someone else.

  9. I have always been fascinated by the idea of seeing the entire universe in a grain of sand. As a child, whenever I heard this saying, I would pretend to walk down the beach, pick up a handful of sand, and shout to my parents that I finally discovered the true meaning of what they were talking about. However, now that I am older and I am beginning to mature in a more spiritual sense, I can look back on my excitement as a child, and understand why I felt the way I did at the prospect of pinpointing the root of everything. Having anxiety leaves my mind panicking and moving in many different directions, and it is hard to bring my mind back to one single point in order to break free from the anxiety. It is a definite rarity that I am calm and collected, but after beginning the yoga practice, and learning how to focus on my breathing, I am finally able to bring my mind to one solid point, and focus on the bigger picture from a clear-headed point of view.
    I agree with McAfee that searching for the universe in a grain of sand cannot only lead us to discover the root of arrogance, but to fear, hatred, anger, and envy, as well. As I have learned in psychology and sociology, we as people are fearful of the unknown, and so we act in a discriminatory or negative manner because we are unaware of what is really out there. The Secret of the Yamas mentions that the root of all of these emotions is ignorance, and I strongly agree, because it is those who are ignorant that act out against those who are striving to reach life’s truths. Uncovering such realizations plays a major part in putting an end to negative emotions, and enlightening the body and the mind for the future, and I believe I have begun along this path to a brighter future with the help of Hatha yoga and the yamas.
    While I disagree in some ways that change does not take time, but is all about living in the present, I do agree that the beginning of change begins in one moment, and we often miss that moment because we are so focused on the future and the past. I believe that the present is the greatest gift we have been granted, and we often pay little attention to it, perhaps because we as people are not happy with who we are, and often strive to better ourselves. This very clearly ties into the ego and the Freudian study of the Id, Ego, and the Superego, where people are constantly striving to better their self-concept on the surface, and do not look close enough within toward the root of everything to truly change. Instead, we choose to remain ignorant against our true selves, and experience negative emotions against those who threaten the world we have built around ourselves, as is seen by the idea of “mine” and “I.” We develop such ideas by means of social and cultural norms, and if we were to admit that we are all one being with individual variations, we will no longer feel the need to fight for superiority against our brothers and sisters.

  10. It is very true that the way we present ourselves in relationships is a reflection of our inner beings. If the majority of our relationships with others consists of negativity and/or putting that other person down in order to lift ourselves than it’s a reflection of how prevalent our egos are. Although I see how it is most likely true that the way we treat others can come from past experiences that molded the way we present ourselves and go about things, I can honestly say that it is impossible for me to believe that I along with the billions of other people that inhabit this planet have absolutely no traits that differentiate us from another person besides how our pasts have shaped us.

    To say there is nothing special or unique about anyone and to hold the belief that everything is based on our past and nothing else, seems more likely to me to be a coping mechanism for those who are lacking in attributes such as talent and/or intelligence. When you live in a privileged situation where little to no actual hardship has occurred in your life it is easy to say that everyone is equal. But when you meet those who have had traumatic experiences and see how some handle the situation with bitterness while someone with an identical problem will handle it with strength, you realize everyone has personality traits connected to their inner being.

    It’s quite hard to believe that something based on spirituality can hold a belief that would actually disprove the existence of a soul, but the chapter does say some valid points. Separating ourselves from others in the most egotistical sense is most likely selfish or self-deprecating. Saying one person is better or worse than you and strictly judging people based on you as a personality template does not benefit anyone including yourself. So in this sense I do agree with the chapter. I do understand though that this is just advice and not to be taken out of context or forced upon someone as fact.

  11. The secret to having a good life is to put away the ego. The ego is the steam of all anger, envy and sadness. We get everything in life through others making us a product of society. We do not create ideas as much as we take pieces of other’s ideas to form ours. In turn we have the tendency to compare others to ourselves as society tells us. We compare each other through material possession, looks, and education. Instead of being grateful for what we do have. This is the min root of our unhappiness.

  12. I’ve enjoyed these weekly readings from my yoga class a lot because most of them I could relate to at least a little, but this is one of my favorites because it talks about the important overall view. When I listened to this I agreed with almost every idea that was addressed, but a part that really spoke to me was the part that spoke about the process of striving to be a better person, or to adjust our bad habits, and how it’s important to focus on the present moment and take advantage of the opportunities we have in the moment to work towards our goals. We often dwell on parts of our past that we can no longer change and while we are doing this we’re trying to think of ways to change aspects of ourselves that are aftermaths of past experiences, but we neglect the space between. It is an important developmental area that is needed to achieve a positive and satisfying transition to becoming a better person and living a better life. I believe that many people including myself have trouble coming to grips with this, but it is not impossible. We often deny who we are as people in the present because the past is well known and comfortable for us to accept and we view the future as something we have control over, but for me to be one with our bodies and minds it is so important to recognize ourselves in our current state and be constantly self aware.
    I have come to a routine of practicing my Isha Kriya at a minimum of 6 times a week. Although I typically practice at night, I stopped doing it in the mornings completley because I felt I was benefiting from it more at the end of my day before bed so I don’t have to force myself to wake up early and practice it and by doing this it became totally natural to me. I’ve also noticed that my posture durring the day and outside of yoga has improved a lot. Another thing I have started to notice that when I practice on the weekends when I do not have class, it helps me with homework. I still find time to relax over the weekend but when I have assignments to do, having Isha Kriya as part of my routine daily for a longer period of time made a difference in my studies because I have become more relaxed and not anxious or stressed so I can focus easier and get things done productivley in my own time comfortably.

    • So proud of you that you have embraced the Isha Kriya and made it yours. You must be proud of your own choice and ongoing successes, if you would be interested to become my TA next semester do speak with me, Namaste

  13. Many have often wondered why we are such a flawed race of humans. why do we hate, or have jealousy? Why do we opt for ignorance instead of enlightenment, and why do we so often become wrapped up in our own heads? In this chapter of John Mcafee’s book, he discusses the ego and how if we find the root of ignorance in one person, we are bound to find that same root within all of us. It seems daunting to dig deep within ourselves this way, but Mcafee argues that the root of all our faults lies in our ignorance. And to correct this, and to enact fundamental change, we must first acknowledge that this process will take time.

    First of all, we must recognize that we are constantly thinking in the future while simultaneously living in the past. Never are we truly present in mind and body. This way of thinking effects all of our relationships, and creates our arrogance as well as our inflated sense of ego. We are constantly thinking of the “I” in our lives. We think we possess some kind of unique individuality which separates us from everyone else. This only furthers our ego. By thinking and living this way, we are creating divisions which alienate us from our neighbors when in reality we should be coming together. McAfee states that no one person is unique because we are born of our societies and our ideas are also. Uniqueness does not exist in the ways we imagine it does.

    It is difficult for most of us to hear that we are not unique. It, quite fittingly, shatters our sense of ego. Yet I believe that some solace can be taken in this fact. If our ideas are born of our societies and surrounding cultures, then we can collectively begin working on a way to create a population which lives presently.

  14. As I am listening to this audio, it is the day after the election. With Donald Trump having been announced as the next president of the United States, today was an extremely gloomy day. The ignorance and arrogance of, shockingly, the majority of this country has been exposed. The level of hatred, bigotry, and fear in this nation has increased drastically over the past 18 months. There’s also the possibility that those things haven’t actually increased by much, but instead they’ve been present and closeted all along. As said in the reading, when one shows arrogance (and in this case ignorance too) toward one kind of person, if you dig deeper, there’s even more arrogance toward more kinds of people. This applies to fear, hatred, and more which is exactly what Trump tapped into throughout his campaign. Open mindedness is the one thing this nation needs and even that is fleeting.
    We as a people, especially people below 30, are swayed by the media. Its words are law. This election exposed this even more; leaving the country naked. While this reading is about yoga and how approaching the Yamas (which include morals that every respectful human being would have) makes you a better and well rounded individual, it very much applies to current affairs. No Trump supporter would be able to immerse themselves in the world of yoga because their very being is against the most important Yamas: Ahimsa and Satya. Nonviolence and honesty. In this case, violence refers to physical, verbal, etc.
    In order to trigger reform, we need to stand together against this hating, misogynist, bigoted, homophobic, racist, and sorry excuse for a president. To some extent “it is an illusion to believe that fundamental change requires time”, but in this government, which is now almost entirely controlled by the Republican/Conservative party, time and open mindedness is necessary. But for the majority of us, outside of government, we must “work diligently toward” this goal. We will not stand for this monster to be “our” president. We have seen ourselves. We are self disciplined and understanding. We are free souls about to face yet another era of oppression. We must use our intellect against the ego of Donald Trump. Through this, we express our being. We respect life and we must continue to fight for it.

    • I vote Leila Louhaichy for President! I hope you post this sentiment and viewpoint everywhere on social media, student newspaper, public speaking forums…..you have expertly summed up our current reality and the tasks set before us to prepare for any future of restoration of justice for all in a democratic process. I salute you Leila the Awesome Yogini! OM

  15. This chapter ‘The Secret’ is another chapter I enjoy much. As someone who’s life is planned down the the very minute, I know what it feels like to miss out on present opportunities. I plan because I feel I thats the only way one can be successful, is if they have a strategic goal, but sometimes all the planning can cause one to miss out on something in the present that’s better than what they are planning towards. Besides that, the present moment can be a lot more happier. The quote below the clip, was one that I admire. It says that the belief that changes needs time and work, is basically an illusion.. This proves me to ask or rather to question how can one live in the present moment, while still making sure the future is lack of better word.. secure?

    As a senior in college, I’ve experienced planning ahead and trying to live in the present moment. I must say, planning for me usually works Although planning ahead made me miss out on some good “present moments” and probably damaged my social life a little bit.

    I think we need a balance of the two: planning ahead and still appreciating the present things.

    • You have correctly answered the question, yes we have find the balance between planning and staying present and re-evaluate as the balance ratio will change according to our age, work/project, etc. Namaste

  16. In this reading, John McAfee sheds light on our habit of existing in the future. Additionally, in the chapter, the authour speaks on relationships, insisting that they definitive of our existence. I too agree and thoroughly enjoyed hearing McAfee’s words. Understanding our interpersonal relationships to be more than just coincidence is extremely beneficial. I believe it can perhaps result in more gratitude for those involved and the interactions that accompany the relationship.

    Personally, I felt that my connection to the words was rooted in the fact tat there is an upcoming transition in my life; graduation. This is a very busy and exciting period, and I find it increasingly difficult to find myself feeling content or satisfied. Though tools like the Isha Kriya assist me in transitioning out of this negative space in my mind, listening to this chapter assured me that it is something I must pay more attention to.

    I also feel that in times of change we must zoom in on the relationships in our life and attempt to understand how they are positively or negatively influencing our experience. I think we as humans (or at least I) fall into a trap of seeing things and relationships as necessary, when really our experience would improve as the result if they (things/relationships) were removed.

  17. In this chapter, John Mcafee summarizes the relationship between the self and all the parts of the whole universe that one must consider in order to follow the yamas.
    In my own words, I would say this chapter is at its core about the depth of critical thinking we allow ourselves. To think critically is to question the known or accepted with an open mind. Mcafee states that we are made up of our experiences and the culture and ideas handed down to us, which i believe is a crucial understanding to further one’s critical skills. Many people accept what they know as fact and believe they are thinking critically when they question others, but they have forgotten to question their own perspective. Everyone is capable of following the yamas and maintaining their beliefs; the two are not mutually exclusive. What is mutually exclusive is following the yamas and refusing to consider ideas that don’t complement the ones you hold true, because without an open mind, one can not deepen their understanding of the universe.
    I believe this is especially relevant to the world today following the recent election. I have seen a lot of critical thought happening, as well as the absence of critical thought. yoga and the five yamas however, transcend our political society. I’ve personally tried arguing and understanding and more arguing this week. It has taken a toll on my mental health, so I’ve decided to instead, respond to ignorance with critical questions we all need to ask ourselves in order to break down our own thoughts and convictions. I am hopeful that this method of activism will be more insightful and memorable than any all caps comment war on facebook that leaves people frustrated and feeling unheard and/or un-listened to.

  18. Our “truth” as individuals can take on many meanings. It can be narrowly defined as our beliefs or morays, or character. Or more widely defined as how we see the world day to day. Then, we have the definition of truth, with most of us having a understanding the textbook definition. I say all of this to say that “truth” is huge. It has so many facets. On a daily basis we battle with being true to ourselves versus true to another individual versus true to the world. Sometimes these overlap. Personally, I make it a point to be honest in regards to the textbook definition. However, I am not exactly true to myself being that I am still defining my own truth.
    Due to my conditioning as a child, I learned to be complacent. I learned to me comfortable with what I have, even when I knew I deserved more. It was a form of a docile indoctrination. I wouldn’t speak up if something was bothering me, or if I didn’t like something. Part of my conditioning was due to bullying that occurred often during my adolescent years. I would chalk it up to hazing of a new student, not cruel, undeserved treatment. I didn’t even tell anyone about what was happening until years later. From that point on, I vowed to never make anyone feel as I did when I was being picked on. I want to think that that train of thought helps me to be as kind and considerate as I am, I practice that in excess. I am still that little girl who doesn’t know how to voice what is bothering her. I have grown and matured, of course, but I still suffer in silence.
    It isn’t something that I need to do anymore, as evidence by the times that I have chosen to speak up. In my aiming to never hurt someone, I often deliver what I am feeling in a caring, compassionate way. I guess I could say I am grateful for the lessons I learned when I was younger. They were tough lessons that pushed me into maturity a lot earlier than others. These events were not without their ill-effects, as I developed a low self image of myself, and became convinced that I deserved bad things. The beauty of adulthood is the ability to take what you’ve been given (once you are self aware) and decide that you will no longer be victim to it, and turn it around. In this we find our truth.

    • So proud of your decisions to take responsibility for your own life, creating a positive perspective and ways you want to show up to others. I hope you continue to heal the little girl inside and shower her with nothing but goodness and love, Namaste

  19. “…It is an illusion to believe that fundamental change requires time, that we must work diligently toward a goal and gradually become better, wiser, happier, and more spiritual. Such an approach uses the present moment as a tool to obtain future fulfillment; the present is used for planning, dreaming, working toward a result. Consequently, our lives are lived in the future and we are in constant relationship to the past; and the field of life – the present moment – is missed entirely…”

    In the excerpt above from “The Secret of the Yamas” I find myself thinking of my time in college. For four (or in my case five) years, you are constantly thinking about your future, where you will work, which field, what position, and so on. Sometimes in your time, you find yourself on an entirely new path, still looking towards the future, but a different future.

    Once you are out of college and are in the working world, a lot of times you find yourself looking back, still not living in the present. As important as it is to plan and dream for what is to come, sometimes you miss what is in front of you.

    In regards to yoga and meditation, it really helps center you in the present moment and stops the constant planning and dreaming. Sometimes it’s nice to just be, but in the fast paced world we live in today, it’s hard to stop yourself from looking anywhere but forward.

    -Sophia

    Monday 6:30-9:50

  20. After listening to a passage from Chapter 5 of John McAfee’s book “The Secret of the Yamas”, I began to ponder my own ego more thoughtfully. The passage discusses observing the wide range of our violence in order to help us understand our jealousy, attachments etc., by doing this we eventually allow a wholesome enlightenment. Although this may be presented as a simplistic awareness, I have found it difficult to practice in everyday life. The passage continues to discuss how the root of our actions is always underlining due to ignorance, this must be understood with openness. If one does not recognize this the present moment is missed entirely because we are thinking of past and future at a constant rate. Attempting to practice this instruction while in an argument with my boyfriend I found myself having an internal war, was I projecting my past onto him or was I actually right? Sometimes it is difficult to separate the two because as the passage said, we hold onto our egos in order to feel our permanence and individuality. The passage read something of this nature: how we relate to our relationships of any form in the present is a reflection of our need for stability. Currently, I do not feel stable because falling in love has changed my relationship to friends and work. This internal battle I have with myself results in me treating him as if I do not need him even if consciously my feeling aren’t actually of that nature. “Consequently, our lives are lived in the future and we are in constant relationship to the past; and the field of life – the present moment – is missed entirely…” This quote stuck with me the most out of the entire passage because it harped on what I am missing from my approach to loving relationships.
    The passage also discusses our root of ignorance and to truly see reality we must observe our ego. Ego is a sense of I, we pick and choose what we are but really we are a product of our society. We neglect to realize that where, who and what we grow up around is the basis of our moral codes and believes. Denying this once again, is to feel that we are untouchable and special essentially separating ourselves from the rest of humanity. Personally, I try to practice putting my ego in check but when pressure from outside sources other than yourself but demands and obligation make it challenging to channel your energy into this practice of thought. I will continue to redirect my thoughts while in conflict or beauty by staying present and acceptance of my internal battles.

  21. When we think we are present and in the moment we are actually relating the present moment to how it will affect our future and consequently we end up always living in the future or dwelling on the past. Each day we are ignorant of our own thoughts and actions, often blinded by our own inability to see the present moment and in turn our relationships with others and ourselves can deteriorate.
    I have always felt that I am often times correctly aware of my thoughts and actions, but that occasionally I find myself mystified by my own behaviors. It is difficult for people to be present in a world that is so driven towards the future and places heavy emphasis on learning from the past. I think a lot of my romantic burdens are affected by this because instead of fully living in the present and taking life for what it is- seeing the grain of sand in front of me, rather than the whole beach- I choose to worry about the past and place an emphasis on making sure it won’t happen in the future rather than focusing on making the current moment count and taking it in as openly as I can.
    All of life is relationship. Our actions reflect the tone of our relationship- which in turn creates various different kinds of actions, and beliefs in connection to that specific relationship and most importantly the “truth” of each of those relationships will vary depending on who we are, how we were raised, what we’ve been exposed to, etc. Truth is subjective and socially created, and therefore never quite universally sound. We create our own truths and our own actions in response to that which is then communicated through our diverse relationships. We seldom take responsibility or look deeper into these things and it is because we lack this connection between our thoughts and actions that our relationships may suffer and strain.

    How we relate to each of these relationships whether it is money or a spouse like the reading said reveals in the moment the truth of ourselves. If we are open to taking credibility for these actions and thoughts then we are one step closer to being present and truthful with ourselves and better understanding the root of ignorance that lies within us all.

  22. The secret-Yamas

    The chapter of the secret yamas discuss the root of ignorance and finding the truth of ourselves. We relate with people, places, and thing; we reflect on our friends and parents. We are driven by the past, desire, inspiration, and passion. Having fundamental change requires time in order to fulfill a dream or goal. Things are not given, it is earned. It takes years to work on goals or maybe more but the idea of goals pushes people to move forward. Our ideas, thoughts, and actions are past on through education, communities, and people. There is no original thought or idea. Our actions are reactions from our memories, and it is recreated within our words.

    This chapter reminds me of my experiences during art critiques. Our thoughts can be perceive as judgement or helpful. I remember when I started off painting, I always thought “I” was original because I used my senses and my personal experiences to paint. I articulate the mark making, line contour, and color though art. The more I look deeper into my art, I noticed my experiences are very similar with others. There is just a difference in style and method in how the artist manipulates their ideas onto their work. Looks can be deceiving at times, and art critiques is about process and improvements. When I went to college, it took me awhile to have confident to paint and show my work. I was very private and still am sometimes. I always believed looking at art was seeing the artist’s soul.

  23. This reading from The Secret of the Yamas brings together the ideas previously explained. The idea of how as humans, we sometimes have trouble living in the present related to me the most. We constantly dwell on the past and dream of living in the future. This makes it increasingly difficult to live in the now and to find ways to approach new people, situations, and environments. I always find myself looking too far into the unknown future that I lose the time I have to spend in the present. This is something I do wish to work on and I intend to improve throughout my life. I think it is important to always be present in the moment and to take certain times to think about certain things. I do believe there is a time and place for everything and there definitely is a time and place to think about your own past and your own future and what you want to come out of it or what you want it to be.

  24. I’ve always had trouble being able to move on from the past, as most people do. But as the audio explains, the root of the problem is about arrogance and needing to see the world as bigger than ourselves. Worrying and being afraid of the past and future keeps us from the present and what we contribute to the universe and the world around us, including our relationships. Living more in the present and working towards goals that we can achieve in the now will help me lead a better life.

  25. I enjoyed the discussion of “I.” We formulate these stories about ourselves and then we carry it as if it were baggage. All of our identity is based on our conditioning and our collection of memories. When we actually go into ourselves and try to find an identity without dipping into our memory, we are unable to even come up with our names. We only identify with our name because we were addressed by it in the past. All we can come up with is the point of our mere presence. By continuing to create this identity, we think that we are becoming more sophisticated and complex. In reality, we are just separating ourselves from the rest. We are creating a deeper disconnect. Once we realize that, we are enabled to have deeper relationships and connections. This is even present in today’s conflicts. We are told that certain groups of people are dangerous. We are supposed to look at their differences and find fear in that. At the end of the day, we really are just the same; our differences are products of our conditioning.

    I have practiced my meditation 3 times this week. This evening I have a performance in the city that I have been a bit nervous about. I usually don’t get stage fright, but this experience has been so different and new that I found myself trying to find a way to center myself throughout the process. I practiced meditation this morning to start my day with energy and peace. I was surprised that I was able to fully commit myself to the moment and let my mind clear. I’m grateful to have this tool. Alexa Rosenberg

  26. I think this chapter was still talking about many of the things we have already been thinking about throughout our practice. The idea of ego interests me though in a way because we all have an ego, but is the ego the thing to bring in negative or positive moments into our lives. Sometimes I think about how society has formed ideas and images in our minds on how we are supposed to live and act, but that is also our faults for letting society and other people tell us how to live our lives. I think the ego can be be easily influenced and in that way bring in negativity. Practicing yoga, Hatha Yoga and Isha Kriya and helped me to release stress and toxins and think about myself in the world in a new way and how I am influenced and influence others.

  27. I have heard the expression “Live in the now” so much as I grow older. A lot of people tell me to live in the moment, don’t be so preoccupied with what is to come. And I understand that. But then we watched that video for assignment 8 that told us about envisioning where we want to be in 50 years and I started to doubt “living in the now” again. And yet, here we are with this chapter, telling us yet again, that living in the future is not the way to be. I guess I was confused. I did not know what to think of all this, but after some thought, I think I am starting to see it. I thought about a lot about the video from last week and how it said that you are the seed today of the future. And it’s not about thinking on the future. It’s about acting today so that the future can come to fruition. It’s about living in the now so that you don’t dwell on the past. There is a fine line between worrying about the future and preparing for it. I am doing my best to walk that line.
    Egos are also something that you constantly hear about. “Oh he has a big Ego” Or “She should check her ego at the door.” And I have always thought about it as a negative thing to have an Ego. I guess this book does not look at it any differently. The idea that ego stems from ignorance is very interesting. We all think we are “sooo special” but in reality, no one is any more special than the other. I like that idea. It kind of means that anyone is capable of anything as long as they apply themselves to what they want. That’s a really positive outlook on life and following your goals too.

    -Phillip Laskaris

  28. Humans constantly deal with the problems of the past while planning for the hopes of the future, giving us no time to live for the present. I agree that this sets humans a step back in terms of thinking in a structured manner. However I believe knowledge of the past and hope for the future help fuel creativity. Now our tendency, as a species, to plan in a non-linear format can become over whelming and prevent us from participating in the reality we are currently existing in, even though we fully intended on it. So I believe our source of arrogance comes not from our awareness of the past and future, but from our assumption that we can use that awareness tot he best of our ability.

  29. From the time I can remember, the cliché “There’s no ‘I’ in team” has been preached from a teacher or coach or someone similar, and while the phrase itself isn’t mentioned in McAfee’s reading, the concept draws parallels. McAfee mentions the idea of how ignorance stems from the ego, where a sense of “I” is the root of jealousy and greed, among other negative characteristics. At the time, I understood the meaning of the phrase, but never saw it as much more than a motivational tool to bring a team together. Now, seeing the same concept used again in a completely different circumstance brings the meaning full circle in a beneficial, nostalgic way.

    For a while, I was guilty of thinking too far forward in the future. From early on in high school I felt it was a community-instilled formula where college and a job in corporate business was the path that provided the most fulfillment. For some, this may be the case, but living in the moment and not dwelling too much on the slightly uncontrollable future has allowed me to realize that there are other avenues waiting to be explored and can provide a more satisfying life. It’s unfortunate that much of today’s society is built on past constructions of business and social foundations, with future goals of monetary success being the driving forces, and it’s hard to believe that this will change. But McAfee’s words of living in the moment is a belief that should be acknowledged more often.

  30. This reading from John McAffee’s The Secret of the Yamas – A Spiritual Guide to Yoga explores the root of the Yamas. All of our negative emotions like anger, lust and jealously are rooted in ignorance. This ignorance has the power to control our lives, but to be truly free, the root must be uncovered and understood. It also says that the root of ignorance is operating in every moment of our lives and we can see this in our relationships and how we deal with other people.
    The ego is ultimately revealed as the root of ignorance itself. The ego is what gives us a sense of “I” or “Me” and is what separates us from the rest of the world. We can see how the sense of “I” leads to the concept of “mine” which creates all our negative emotions. The “I” ,or our sense of self, is a product of our society. We react to each new moment based on our conditioning which keeps us from experiencing the world in a way that is unique.
    I agree that the ego is the root of ignorance. Most people tend to think of themselves first before thinking of others. It’s also common for people to judge others in a situation instead of looking at themselves and their reactions. This reading made me more aware of how I separate myself from the outside world, and how it’s important to have greater acceptance of everyone and every thing to experience true freedom.

    -Melanie Ramos

  31. This reading focuses on things one should recognize when attempting to achieve the different Yamas, we must consider the root of what stops us from doing so. Ignorance. I thought immediately of a Benjamin Franklin quote, “we are all born ignorant,but one must work hard to remain stupid.” Although the ignorance being talked about in this reading addresses the awareness we must have of out actions as they are related to our past, I thought of the Benjamin Franklin quote because there are many things we must be taught to be aware of. As the reading points out, we should be wary of our actions as they are reactions to past experiences which interfere with our relationships. Being products of society, we often get sucked into societal norms and are ignorant of any harm we inflict on ourselves through the accumulation of goods and picking and choosing the information we wish to benefit our wants rather than considering our needs can have negative impacts on us.

  32. This was a great reading excerpt. I couldn’t help but think how excited I am to begin reading my copy of the book this summer while I was listening. This segment talked about each action holding weight and in my eyes it was about being accountable for those actions and realizing their significance in our lives. By looking at the root of each of those actions we can understand that there is a pattern or an underlying feeling behind them or that is created as a result of them. Letting go of our pride and understanding the ego is an important key to accepting our flaws and imperfection which will give us a better connection to ourselves that is more real and vivid. If we look at our actions more, it will bring us to the present moment, which this passage says, that we are not typically in. We are motivated by the past and the future but the present is not active.

    If we are alert, we can stay in the present moment and be aware of pointing fingers, judgement, hate and criticisms. Allowing ourselves to be separate entities from the people in our lives while also seeing that everything in life is not only based in relationship but is mirrored by our relationships. The way that we interact with others, however, is based on our connection to ourselves and if there is not a proper connection to the self or understanding of cause and effect in speech and behavior then there will be no developments or improvements. By seeing who you are and how you function with others, you will likely be more able to have a better connection to yourself and others. The root of the action or source holds the key, it is best to unpack that and notice it to grow. Waiting to grow is pointless. The time to change is now!

    Namaste. Raechel Teitelbaum.

  33. I really need to purchase this book becuase I find that many of the chapters have been so helpful to recent conflicts in my life. The excerpt from the chapter, “our lives are lived in the futue. and we are in constant relationship witht he past. and the field of life, the present moment is missed intirely. if we are alert we can see it in our relationships.” I constantly dwell about mistakes that I’ve made in the past, but not because I regret them, but because I want to be able to improve and grow from my mistakes. Yes, it’s important to live in the present, but we must learn and grow from mistakes we’ve made by examing the past. It’s wonderful to be able to examine the past and move forward from that. We do need to be alert of our present. Being alert makes it much easier to form stronger and better bonds with people. Those who are alert are able to notice and enjoy many more things in life.

    • Your intentions can become seeds that grow if you choose to tend to them regularly, journalling may be a good process for you to continue, and within short times to reflect and read your previous entries to see how and which way you have grown. Setting intentions are valuable as a compass…best wishes OM

  34. John McAfee begins to talk about how we can reach resolution through identifying the root of a specific feeling. He frames the conquest as though there is a power and control relationship between the conscious and the unconscious. In other words, the relationship between act and thought isn’t necessarily clear and out be discovered. Thus, when we react instantly and in the moment, that reaction is thought to be true, according to McAfee. He suggests that what is true is buried and not always within our field of view. I agree with this logic and made me think of Nietzsche’s writings. He often argues that the same instinct can have two names. Love and avarice, for example, are both symptoms of a feeling, but one feeling, never the less. He complicates the relationship between possession, greed and love, in a way that feels true and right. Similarly, McAfee writes on this subject, specifically, how feelings and actions can be disguised and must be understood for one own’s centeredness.

    Giancarlo Montes

  35. We are free once understanding the secret of Yamas. It is a great summary of what we have listened from the past few weeks. We are constantly thinking about the past and living in the future. It is really horrible, since we use the memory from the past to build up our imagination of the future. Relying on past memory makes people easier to live. This is not how life should be. We need to live in the now and explore the future. In another word, we need to move out from our comfort zone. I can truly understand how hard is it to succeed it, and I will definitely work on it.

    All of life is relationship. I absolutely agree about with that we are related to what we confront, whether it is family, friends or even ourselves.

    I did Isha Kriya 3 times this week. Without a doubt, I did it in the afternoon after my experiment over the semester. Moreover, I am trying to bring Yoga into my daily life. Just like what Sadhguru said “Yoga is not something that you do morning-evening. It is a certain way of being. One must become yoga. If it’s morning-evening yoga, the rest of the time entanglement – this is not yoga, this is only yoga practice.” I am working hard to become yoga.

    Jesse Lee
    Namaste

  36. The statement “We are all the same being” was extremely impactful. We are all impacted by one another. No matter if you change your beliefs or are born into beliefs you are making a conscious decision to allow others to influence you. Doing so we allow ourselves to be similar to others and to mold ourselves into what we think our “I” should appear as. We actually lose all sense of individuality and become a conformist to societal pressures. This being said I do not believe that having faith is wrong in any type of way, but trying to make yourself an individual in a world of conformist is impossible. The ego is powerful and that utter need to be acknowledged by others that you are unique is saddening and familiar. This world we live in is all based around trying to market yourself as a unique individual that is appealing to others. Selfies are almost proof of everyones deep desire to be unique and also evidence of everyone being the same. Whether you thoroughly enjoy social media or you rebel from it, you are conforming to a group of peoples agenda that they have.
    We all conform and that is natural, but it is how you handle your ego that is truly important.

  37. I couldn’t agree more with the concept of using the present moment as a tool to obtain future fulfillment. I sued to be so focused on instant gratification, but it past years, I have grown to understand the importance of working in the present to obtain future goals. I often used to get so caught it in where I wanted to be, that I made no planning efforts to get there. After engaging with the audio above, I see how the ego played a factor in this because it gave me the notion that I deserved to be where I saw myself, and whether this is true or not, this obtaining of dreams would not manifest without hard work in the present.

    This week I have done my IK twice since our last meeting and hope to get at least two more sessions in before meeting on Wednesday. In the past week I continued to practice my IK at night before going to bed, I have also coupled the IK with the sura namaskar in the morning which really gave balance in energy to my mind and body this past week.

  38. Ignorance is common in most people; we try to compensate a lack of knowledge with an arrogant attitude towards things we don’t know. Knowledge if one of the most important and powerful things that we can use every day. Ignorance on the other hand, has no way of bringing us any benefit. We can change ignorance to knowledge easily, but many don’t bother to take the time to educate themselves.

    With technological advancement, knowledge has become easier to come across. We hear of news within minutes of it happening. If we don’t know something, we can easily look it up. With all of the accessibility of knowledge, we would expect ignorance to go down, but it seems to have only go up (as a society) in recent years. The knowledge we acquire online comes almost too easily, and prevents us from having to search through other information for our answer. Perhaps the ease at which we learn things prevents us from fully digesting the information, and due to this we lose the ability to retain what we’ve learned.

    -Matthew Harris

  39. It is interesting to consider where the ego, the self, lies within the context of yoga. The Isha Kriya for example (the yoga practice with which I have the most experience and thus feel most confident in writing about) heavily connects with these idea. “I am not the body, I am not even the mind” Repeating this phrase over and over, It really sinks in after a while. In my opinion the isha kriya takes me out of my cluttered mind, and in turn my stress and concerns. Daily life traps us with in ourselves, it requires us to preserve and cultivate our own ego, and work tireless at maintaining what we would normally consider “the self”. For me, the isha kriya is an escape from all of that.

  40. Throughout yoga this year, I have found mindfulness and self awareness to be integral to its practice. Through the practice of isha kriya I tried to cultivate this sense of awareness for everyday life and I found this listening to help inform this practice as well. Through cultivating a sense of “nowness” you can really begin to enjoy and appreciate every second of your life, and through that begin to understand yourself better. If you are constantly living in fear or worry, it will definitely be harder to do so. Through this practice, you can begin to control your ego as well, and though it is not something humans can be completely rid of, it is definitely something they can control in a positive way that encourages growth of the individual.

    This week I practiced Isha Kriya 6 times, every time in the morning. By now I am more accustomed to having Isha Kriya as part of my morning ritual and sometimes I find it as necessary as a cup of coffee, in terms of the way it helps me prepare for my day and clear and coordinate my mind. Hopefully even after this class finishes, I will continue to practice Isha Kriya, as it has enriched my life and mind.

  41. This audio excerpt concerns itself on the obstacle of ignorance, the I, and the common modernistic relationship that we have with time which displaces us from the present. The present is commonly viewed as a temporal space for avid progress with sight on future accomplishments. The act of practice and the act of working towards progress are positioned as a means of an end and the present becomes something to mindlessly pace through. The future is center of spiritual, emotional and mental focus and the present is not savored for its equally fruitful potentials and capacities. In fact, we not only take for granted the present and its capacities but we regulate time in problematic and dehumanizing ways. Time is emerging and independent to us whom interpret it yet our entire existence and understanding of the present and future are owed to it. But although time is without reigns to fundamentally grasp, society and capitalism has aggressively attempted to seize its power over social sectors of life. With the rise of industrialism and the potency of modernity, labour has become webbed within the perpetual constraints of time via the technology of economic capital. Human efforts are quantified by efficiency, efficient today being defined as the most quantity in the shortest amount of time, and inevitably leads to the exploitation and dehumanizing of the worker.
    These constraints of time and the relationship we hold to it in our every day lives enhance our incessant desire of the I and the ego. From the day we are born we are stripped of our agency to decide whether or not to define ourselves explicitly and in determinative ways—that the I is something that exists and that the purpose of life is striving for this stable, totalizing and secure sense of self. Rather, human identity in are very nature are contradictory, fractured, without stability, as all of our worlds are fabricated in our image and ideas of life. Growing up in Western cultures means grasping this illusionary self and reaching some ceiling of understanding about you, your beliefs and the world around you, although there is no such thing as knowing enough. Growing up in Western cultures also means participating in the institutions of labour that restrict, constrain, and oppress. Not only are we performing and perpetuating these institutions but our careers and participation within structures of power become our sense of “I” and become the focus of our livelihood.

  42. This excerpt of “The Secret of the Yamas” concludes the assigned readings from the book. In this final chapter, we are confronted with identifying the source of all of the obstacles standing in the way of enlightenment and ultimate considerate living—the I. The concept of the “I” and the individual self was introduced with the Enlightenment (ironically named, although entirely different from that of yoga’s enlightenment). Conceptually, the self transformed the body and mind of an individual into a space of personal representation, purpose and great importance. But this focus entirely on the self, especially in the context where capitalism thrives, the self becomes an entity needing of constant improvement. The body and the self then becomes a product of capitalism—an object saturated with social transcriptions that regulate and limit its every motion. Stuart Hall in his theoretical piece, “What is the ‘Black’ in Black Culture”, he writes of this phenomenon of the cultural body, specifically the black body. He writes that the black body in the United States is a “cultural canvas” where identities are constantly in conflict and redefining one another. This phenomenon occurs when identities are abided by and treated in totalizing manners which is a common principle in Western and capitalistic societies. Therefor, it is no surprise that the configuration and seeking of the self and its identity becomes the focus of concern for most since this idea of the self is fictitious and never conceivable.
    Revolutionary social theorist, Judith Butler also comments on the dangerous value of the “I” in her piece, “From Parody to Politics”. She emphasizes that the “I” enables us to think of gender, race and all of our social positions as acts of doing rather than how they are positioned which are acts of authentic and natural being. This emphasize on a unified and natural self is incredibly problematic as it perpetuates a dangerous narrative of the ever-improvement of the self that oppresses bodies institutionally.

  43. My favorite part from this excerpt is the importance of taking responsibility for your actions in the present. When one says that they will get to something over time, or accomplish/do something in the future, as opposed to taking the necessary steps to get there in the present, they are then living their life with the future in mind. One does this out of fear; whether that be fear of failure or uncertainty, relinquishing power over your actions with the idea that you will get to them eventually is dangerous, and is doing nothing but standing in the way of you and what you hope to achieve. Another part of this excerpt I loved was that on ego. The idea that we all view ourselves as individual; completely separate from the universe is no more than our ego viewing ourselves as “I” rather than “we”. I especially loved the segment about our religious and other beliefs being no more than teachings we have picked up and leeched from our society. When the ego is as prevalent as it tends to be, one doesn’t view things this way, and instead gets defensive. They like to believe that THEY were the sole reasons they believe and act as they do, and that the world around them has no impact whatsoever.

  44. Leah Ashton-Facin
    This audio clip exposes the way that we view time and often miss the present moments. We must try to live our truths within these present moments rather than wait for the moments later to do this. The ego also plays into this because it is hard for each of us to take ownership of our relationships and actions. Many times we also avoid these moments through using media to distract ourselves from the present. We relive the past through these moments or we plan out in the future on these media spaces as well. Especially the way that phones are constantly with us we have access almost everywhere we go. These sensations and thought patterns can change our thinking and make us miss the present even more or at least provide a space to do so. This individual sense of “I” is something that can be ultimately damaging because it separates our identities and attempts to classify them as well. We come divided from everything in the world and therefore this makes us different but ultimately this is a constructed view. It is important to recognize similarity and be able to share with one another but ultimately not to draw these barriers. Although these are broad statements I think that this view is something to be worked toward. It is important to understand the complexity of the world that we live in rather than to be so focused on ourselves as the individual. These ideas around us are also constructed by culture and we are a product of these spaces that we reside in through the beliefs that we identity within. We are often influenced by one another but we must be able to see this as well. We are all connected and we are all part of something much larger. Therefore the past, present, and future are a part of all of this larger being. Time is constructed as well which is has a history and is why we follow time the way that we do.

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