Some tips about the secret…


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…”



207 responses »

  1. Suppression of the ego seams like logistical advise to someone who is trying to live by the yamas daily. Releasing yourself from the ego is very difficult during modern times due to our “responsibility and social expectations” but when achieved I trust it to be a moment of ecstasy. The closes thing i could say I’v experienced to a lose of ego is moments while during psychedelic experiences. This is commonly referred to as ego death by mythologists and psychonauts, yet of course I question the authenticity of how a natural to a drug induced lose of ego stacks up.

  2. Listening to the secret of the yamas, it discussed how we have made it so that we are living for the future in relation to the past and use the present for planning,the present then is missed. I have really been thinking about this concept and feeling this a lot in my life especially while in college. While here- in our present, it is mainly for our future, we do what we have to do to try to get a good grade, not just for that assignment but for the whole class overall and then accumulitavely. We are constantly asked about our future and working towards something we are unclear of. I feel like this creates anxiety and the feeling that you’re not allowed to slow down and enjoy where you are in life. How do we make it so that we allow ourselves to feel present?

    Relationships were also discussed in that all of life is relationships- how we relate to things shows the truth of ourselves. This to me is very beautiful and powerful because it reminded me of a saying my mother always said to me growing up “it’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice”. These two concepts relate because they’re both about the importance of being kind to people because if you are not it shows that you may not be a very good person within. If we relate to things in a positive manner than it shows our positive truths, I wish to have positive and kind relationships hoping that I have a positive and kind truth others can feel.

  3. The idea of working slowly towards our goal eliminates the present moment, by dwelling in the future.

    This chapter of the secret yamas discusses the root of ignorance and finding the truth of ourselves. We relate with people, places, and things; 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.

    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.

  4. This excerpt reminded me of the saying “happiness is a mood not a destination”. I think we are constantly taught to seek and to go get things however I think it is important to remember that obtaining materialistic things for instance will not make us happy, going to a party because everyone is going and you have fear of missing out for instance will not make us happy. I believe that good things come often when we are not expecting it. However I also think that we should not be passive that we should actively live our lives and be good to ourselves and to others so that goodness can continue to circulate and that when we do this it can come back to us when we least expect it. I think we can have goals in life however it will be even more rewarding, to invest in where we are presently and absorbing the experiences and checking in as opposed to thinking you will only be happy until you have x,y, or z.

  5. “We are driven by fear.” That is the quote of this blog. This is such a true statement. People are driven by fear. The fear to not be successful, the fear not to have money, the fear not to be loved. No one genuinely enjoys being afraid. Not only this but, ego also plays a factor in this blog. It’s an interesting thing to look at. The topic is extremely intriguing. At the end of the day you must check your ego so it doesn’t consume you and you must be ready to face your fears.

  6. The concept of planning and waiting in the present day is fascinating to me. Uncapping our ignorance to our own ability and being proactive in our everyday lives could change how efficient and happy we are. Getting over the fear of our decisions can free our minds and allow us to really flourish in our endeavors. Think about how much we’re waiting for in life: planning to start an essay, dreaming of owning a house, waiting to apply for a job. We could do so much more in our lives if we didn’t let fear stop us and allow waiting to be the safety net our mind needs to fully accept our decisions.

    Being a college student, I connect to this concept of waiting and letting fear get the better of me. Life after college is unknown. There’s a fear of my success after I move on to the professional world and where I’ll fit in. I could be proactive in getting past my fear and diving head first into my work, maintaining my sense of confidence while approaching an unknown path. I have aspirations, of course, but it is solely up to me to be able to make my decisions boldly and wholeheartedly.

  7. With fear, envy, jealousy and/or ignorance surrounding each and everyone of us individually in different ways, if we continue to feed our fears and our feelings of arrogance, this will in-turn just continue to cloud our understanding or grasp of release and the willingness to comprehend where our ignorance comes from (where it is rooted/centered). “To see the entire universe in a grain of sand, we can certainly see that if we seek out the very root of arrogance toward any one person, then we’ve found the root of arrogance towards all people” (The Secret of the Yamas). With this quotation by John McAfee, it further addresses the idea on being able for an individual to center and focus truly on what could possibly be the core problem of their arrogance, fear and/or jealousy for another person. For many people, searching or trying to find one’s fears or places or lack of understanding something or someone can be stressful, though if we are patient and put our focus to resolving/finding this underlying problem, then we will not better ourselve’s with society, but also that of our own being. “When we look at the wide ranging aspect of our violence, the multitudes of our self deception, the uncountable jealousies, lust and attachements, it may seem a daunting task to approach each one and uncover its core, but the root of each is the same. It is the root of ignorance” (The Secret of the Yamas).

  8. As individuals, we tend to be solely focused on what is to come and the preparation for those future events and it does begin to be true that we lose focus on what is happening in the present. We seem to lose the experience of present events because we are so focused on getting to our future goals and plans. But I have witnessed this so often simply because there is that fear that I won’t make it to the place that I want to be in the future so I am constantly preparing for that through what I am currently doing and that makes me lose time on my experiences as a college student and the college experience. The way life creates these pressures really influences the way we experience our life in general, there are so many children who are forced to become an “adult” so quickly and they end up missing out on their childhood or forget that they are essentially a child and not that adult that they are so quickly being placed into. This clip of the Secret of the Yamas was very interesting and very easy to connect too.

  9. This particular reading rubbed me the wrong way a bit, mostly because the idea of the individual experience is one that I feel is essential to happiness. Self expression can be unique. In the same way the human experience can be very universal and all inclusive, no two people will ever have the same exact experience of an event, so things like music, dance, fine art, etc. and other forms of self expression are necessary to provide that sense of unity.

    To simplify the process of creating, living, and feeling is to simplify what it is to be human. It’s difficult to get behind a belief system that considers normal thought processes an issue of ego. This exercise of the mind and heart are key to my personal method of feeling peaceful. For example, if I experience a negative event, allowing myself to feel whatever emotions come with it and release it through music I create helps me feel calm. Additionally, feeling proud of the unique thing I’ve just created makes me feel closer to my higher purpose or calling — if that’s an issue or pride or an ego, all great inventions that are original or help other people feel less alone are problematic and should be disregarded.

    I would be lying if I said that being passive is what I think is necessary to achieve true happiness. If the things that give me temporary pleasure involve doing things that make me feel good about myself, whether it be creating art, helping others, etc. then I think it’s actually smarter to plan for those things to be more consistent or permanent fixtures in one’s life.

  10. The idea that focusing on the future should be seen as a negative thing is not something I agree with in the slightest. I understand that we are incapable of knowing exactly how things will pan out for the rest of our lives. However, focusing primarily on the present and ignoring the future leads to potential failure. One must have some sort of plan, think ahead in order to figure out the steps that must be taken in order to achieve what it is that they wish to achieve. Goals primarily are created by the human mind with the hopes of solving a certain problem. Humans developed the mental capacity for invention, or the creation and achieving of goals as a means of survival. Once we achieved the ability to survive with a certain level of ease, we began to continue to look to newer problems going past survival to comfort, exploration, and understanding of the world we live in and how to utilize it in order to make our existence more than what it had previously been. Had we simply remained in the present the entirety of our existence, I believe we would not have survived, let alone thrive as a race. There is always work to be done, and minds which hold the capacity to take interest in developing more efficient and enhanced means of surviving, or existing.

  11. I know that I tend to “live in the future” which is something that stresses me out. I have an idea of a lifestyle that I desire and in trying to obtain it, I tend to stress myself out. I think of my past as something I need to sort out in order to gain my own success.

    I’ve noticed that I have such a hard time staying in the present. Especially for long periods of time. I lose patience with remaining still and want to move forward. I want to rush to the next thing instead of soaking in one moment and I’ve noticed that it is harmful to me.

    I am in full understanding with most of this section but I do believe that everyone does have their own experiences. There are things that I go through that no one else can. Someone across the globe can live a lifestyle so similar to mine, same backstory but her life will be different because she didn’t live where I was. I believe that we all have our own experiences.

  12. In the reading it says “once you found the root of arrogance towards all people. Same with envy, hatred, fear etc.” i think this is very true because once you have it in you to be arrogant towards one person you have it in you to do it with everyone else. Once that root of arrogance is uncovered and understood, everything else evil will evaporate with it. This is why i like to talk to people because when people have big attitudes or are rude to people they meet, it comes from somewhere and i like to find out from where. You have to understand where it is coming from in order for you to be able to eliminate it. Someone talking to people helps that.

    Something that was interesting was when the reading says “it an illusion to believe that change comes with time and gradually you will become happy again”. I didn’t think how that connects to living in the past or future. Change isn’t something you work towards, it is something that comes though not while you think too much about it or living in the past or the future. But when your just living. Going day by day experiencing different things, that’s when change comes. And when you look back to think, you’ll be amazed how you didn’t think you ii hard about change because it just naturally came while you were living in the now.

  13. This generation and the media is based around a nostalgic culture, constantly longing for the past. As college students we are constantly looking toward the future. “We are largely a product of our society” even when we think we have a unique idea or practice it has most likely been taught, whether a belief or disbelief it is all influenced by someone or something.

    When new generations arrive they are constantly challenging ideals. Even the new ideals may have been influenced by old ones.

  14. I feel that it is true that it is daunting to uncover our hidden emotions. It is scary to address jealousy, anger, and lust. It is ignorance not to though, because we not only end up hurting those around us, we end up hurting ourselves as well. It is also true that we tend to live in the future. I constantly think of things that have no application to my life in the moment. It is always something far off in the future, and it is always something that doesn’t matter. It is eye opening that we must go deep in order to uncover what the ego wants. It is hard to undo beliefs that have been raped up inside us for so long. With time and effort, I believe that I will be able to address the things that keep me so wrapped up in jealousy, anger, and the future. I don’t want to live this way, and I want to be present. If it means going deep inside myself to live in the present moment, then I will do everything in my power to do so.

  15. The most interesting idea in this reading was the idea that we are all one being, with different inclinations. Our Ego leads up to believe that we are each unique and separate from the rest of the world, and this leads to insensitivity and ignorance to others. While I do believe that each human being is special and valuable with their own purpose and creativity, I also do think we need to recognize that we are all part of a collective humanity. In this way, I do think we are all one being.

This reading also touches on how all of life is relationship..our relationships to love, money, family, etc. This also made me think of my IK practice, and what it means to say I am not this, body I am not this mind. Literally, I am in my mind and my body and my relationships do make up my life. At the same time, I recognize I am just a grain of sand is a possible infinity of beaches. I do not belong to my own relationships, body or mind..but to the entire collective being discussed in this reading.

  16. This entry talks about being driven by fear, which is driven by an ego that does not want to be hurt. I find this very accurate, as many people today plan out every individual instance in their lives out of fear of being caught off guard in any future situation. It talks about how we act in the moment of any given situation reflects who we actually are, and no amount of planning for the future will change who we can be in that moment. It talks about how planning for the future is futile, because you cannot plan for every possible situation, and believing you can do so will further advance this fear.

    I am very much one of these people who plans for every individual situation possible. I want to be very prepared so that if something goes wrong I can act as quickly as possible in hopes that the situation will then be resolved as quickly as possible. I will not deny that this choice is rooted completely in my fear of being caught off guard. In my job and in the jam-packed life I have created for myself I cannot afford to lose time, and therefore cannot afford to be caught off guard. This has made me realize that I can sometimes spread myself thin, and that I need to take a step back sometimes and ask others to take on my tasks. The ego is the secret, but the real secret is the ego is the hardest thing to overcome.

  17. This chapter discusses ignorance as the root to ego. It never occurred to me that ignorance and ego are related to each other. It seemed to me that arrogance was associated with lies, but I do see what McAfee is trying to say. Ignorance and ego are related because someone has an ego to disconnected themselves from themselves. Egos give people different personas that they can play/become when they are in a situation of stress or fear.

    Having an ego is a tricky thing, in my opinion. I feel it gives people confidence to things they would not normally do, but can also lead to someone to become a narcissist. I have put on an ego here and there when I feel I am out of my comfort and need a boost of confidence. I do understand where McAfee is coming from, people need to become one with themselves.


    • I put the comment above in the wrong assignment. This is the right comment:

      Relieving oneself from ignorance leads to happiness. I feel our ignorance effects our future. The knowledge we have in the present effects the outcome of our future. If we are closed minded it is harder to accomplish things that will lead to a better future. Furthermore, I agree with McAfee when he states our future is tied with our past. Everything we doing the future is because of mistakes and/or lessons we learned in past. The past is highly influential to any persons journey.

      McAfee that we have a relationship with everything and I believe that to be true. We create bonds with people, animals, objects and things; it a natural thing for humans to do. He also said that ignorance causes strain in our relationships which is true, in some way, some of our relationships were build on ignorance or because of ignorance our relationships were strained.

      These two ideas come together and show me that our ignorance can lead to an ego being form. An ego, that I feel, is a protective shell that cripples people from not facing their fears.


  18. I feel as though this audio was trying to make us uncover our hidden secrets; it wanted us to go deeper behind our emotions. The fact that jealousy, lust, and anger came into the picture is very interesting. These are three emotions us as humans usually fear on a day to day basic. It also speaks about the future of future generations. Its interesting if you just sit down and realize how many times on a daily we think of the idea of “growing up” about THE FUTURE! I remember when I was younger, I was constantly thinking about what I would look like when I get older or what college I’m going to. And look ten years later, I’m at Purchase college and I’m a beautiful chocolate little girl! But I mean I believe the main objective of this audio was for the audience to get in touch with their feelings and unmask the different type of egos out there. However, since we so how can not stop thinking about the future simple because it is in our nature, we can take time and relax on the emotions we have each day. Meaning we can look towards the future to have the patience to tone down the anger, jealousy, and or fear we have toward and individuals.

  19. In this reading of “The Secret of the Yamas,” McAfee explores the root of ignorance, which he identifies as the ego. McAfee also discusses the idea that to free yourself from the power of ignorance will only occur with the self-realization of its root in our humanity. Relationships were a main theme in this reading. As McAfee mentions, the ego is at the center of every human’s relationship to other people, material objects, and ideas. Our relationship to society was also mentioned due to the impact of the ideas that are passed on between generations and cultures. As McAfee says, we are a product of our society due to our ego’s desire to be unique and possess what others do not have.

    Some of the ideas that were brought up in this reading did not sit well with me. What had struck me the most negatively was that McAfee seemed to have been oversimplifying the human experience to ego. I also interpreted the reading to say that uniqueness did not exist due to the re-circulation of ideas in society. I did not agree with that because I believe that there is constant innovation happening within sections of society and even within each individual. If that innovation did not occur, there would be no growth. Despite this, I did agree with the idea that McAfee discussed about some actions being reactions and that on a general level, all humans share some similar experiences. Something that stood out and that I will remember from this reading was the Buddhist quote that McAfee mentioned at the beginning of the reading: “In the smallest fragment, exists the whole.”

  20. We shouldn’t approach situations with jealousy, hatred, anger, etc. because they are all rooted from ignorance. Fundamental change takes a large amount of planning and self discipline. Ignorance is always operating in our lives, which controls all our relationships with partners, money, emotions, etc. All the Yamas guidelines are all expressed for positivity. We learned about the five Yamas and with this information, we should create a new experience of life and react from our energy, not our ego. With our ego, we want to be greedy but if our ego controls us, we will loss the ability to open up. Practicing will help us strive to become more healthier and strengthen our senses of awareness of our true self.

    -Melenie Warner

  21. This chapter of the secret of the yamas talks about the ignorance, and how it begins and finding our truth. It dwells on how focusing on the future can lose the importance of living in the present. The chapter mention that we, “are driven by fear and drawn to objects of our desires”, which really made me think about how fear can have its pros and cons in a person’s thoughts. It, on one hand, can motivate someone to get a job in fear that they do not want to be broke, but it can also make a person have a one track mind of achieving the goal hoping once it is accomplished the fear would go away. This is a negative coping mechanism because if a person is just focused on one thing it can take away the attention they should be giving to other events and relationships.
    Living should be in the moment because on the very cheesy motto of, “you only live once”, when stressed out with small stuff, the person will miss out on great memories chasing something that will not come until later. While living in the moment is nice, the person also needs to not be so concerned with their own personal desires because there are more people around. Creating positive vibes and bring in that positivity with other people can also help boost their self-esteem and have the person see their life with a more positive perspective.

  22. I agreed with the statement that we tend to exist in either our past or our future rather than focusing on the present. I tend to dwell in my past failures myself which is a burden that I should have released a long time ago so that I can move on completely and freely. However, it is our past experiences that shape us as the people we are today. They are necessary in order to walk through the many twists and turns that exist on the path before us. As for the future, sometimes one gets too caught up in the possibilities of what might be or attempts to plan the entirety of the life ahead which is impossible to do. Yet, planning for the future is necessary sometimes when it pertains to your current ideas and/or feelings. If one is unhappy in their surrounding environment, one will plan to move for future happiness. Thus, ones timeline is a tricky thing that you can neither be to obsessed with nor too carefree.

    As for the section regarding creativity and ego. I would have to disagree. Even if many people have had the same idea or been inspired by something similar to another, each person will end up expressing it in a different way that is totally unique to them. Most do not create art to flaunt the totality of their own uniqueness, but rather to relay some kind of message that they might otherwise not be able to express or share or they do it for the enjoyment the activity brings while doing it. Lastly, why shouldn’t one be proud of something they were able to create? It is not being boastful to be proud of making something that took time to finally be happy with like a painting or a musical score. People invested in the arts put so much effort into their work and truly, painstakingly love what they do, even when they’re miserable doing it. We should all be at least a little proud of the accomplishments that are unique to us and our own experience and share with the world something that everyone is a part of, that everyone can relate to. It is the human struggle.

  23. As we have learned about the yamas, we have discovered that although each deals with a certain flaw within humanity, all stem from the same root. Fear, hatred, anger, and envy all come form arrogance. Once we find the root of arrogance, we can discover why we feel certain emotions. When embrace the yamas and strive eagerly, we can uncover and understand our actions fully. We can be free immediately. However, many of us go about the process in the wrong way, guided by ignorance, the exact thing we are trying to find the root of. In our ignorance, we think that discovery takes time, and that gradually we will become wiser and happier. However, when we do this, we use the present to plan and dream. We use it to work toward a result, and consequently, we end up living in the future and past, missing out in the present. When we do this, we do not act in the moment. When we react in the moment, we show our true personalities. Thus, as most of us plan, we can never show or see our true selves.

    To dig to the root of ignorance, we must be alert to the ego. The ego is the “I” of our minds which we use to separate ourselves from the world. We believe that we are unique. In actuality, we are all relatively the same, having been conditioned by society. We accumulate things, as do our companions. We pick and chose according to preferences, but in the end we are the same. We did not create our options; they were handed to us. For instance, we may choose to practice a religion, but the religion was already there. There were already people who created it and handed us our code to follow. We are not unique because we are all influence by people and cultures. We are the same being with slightly different inclinations. Our actions are reaction and we are unable to meet each moment anew. We are not as capable of creativity as we think because we limit ourselves. Yet, we are unaware of this fact, and thus we are ignorant. Our failure to be unique and our limitations subconsciously irritate us. We strive for control, and thus develop vices.

    So, once we realize the rigidity of our lives and become enlightened, we can let go of greed, envy, and violence. However, it is much easier said than done. Although I am deeply inspired by these short audio clips, I find it difficult to remember the lessons when busy in my everyday life. I am definitely improving and trying to grow, but it is still difficult not to get side tracked. My generation is heavily influenced by social media, and as a result we plan meticulously to make our lives seem perfect. We think we need everything perfect because “perfection” is the only thing others display on social media. A lot of us say we know we cannot be perfect, but saying and believing are two different things. I think that in order to get to the root of ignorance we need to be bold and focus more on our lives. We must focus on self discovery and not be overwhelmed by the mass amounts of stimuli in our everyday lives. We need relax and let go of planning. We need to take some risks, be willing to loosen our overly rigid lives. At first it will definitely be daunting, but overtime we will be happier. I find that yoga has helped me because I spend less time on social media, and I start the morning reminding myself of what I need to do to improve. Yoga relaxes me, helping me to go with the flow. I will continue to work on my self discovery. It is a long journey, but well worth it.

    • You have spent a good deal of time looking at yourself and the yogic principals, if you keep your yoga going past the end of semester, truly for yourself you will be able to master your goals to continue to evolve. Best Wishes OM

  24. I think that this is one of the most important lessons in order to be able to live an open, healthy, and mindful life. Once we fall in a relationship , romantic or platonic, where the other person is manifesting negative energy in the form of anger, jealousy , or anything of the like , from that moment on we try to identify the root of that negative energy. I feel that without being exposed to this from an observational perspective (because when we manifest negatively we might not be aware of it) we would never be conscious of our own ego. It is through observation and interactions of others that we learn how to be mindful of not only our ego but all of the energy that we give out and in turn pull in.

  25. Fundamental change absolutely does take time, energy and the right mindset. Great change does not happen overnight, just as Rome was not built in a day! In order to change ourselves for the future, we must fully utilize the present moment to the best of our abilities. (We must carpe diem!)
    We have to work on ourselves and change our environment if necessary. We must see the need to change as a positive effort, not a negative one. Change can be good but we must allow it to be. Our destinies are up to us and mother Earth. If we work together in unity and positivity we progress, we change to be that who we longed to be.
    The present moment comes to an end and the future you comes to light, shining greatly.

  26. This audio talks about the ego and how this ego, which is the sense of the I, separates us from the rest, making us feel special, unique, etc. And I didn’t think that to this you are unique and special was a bad thing, but to think that other people are less than you is. In the audio it is said that from that I, it follows that MINE and from that to possessiveness, anger, etc. all these are rooted in ignorance.

    Another thing said that I found interested was that we live in the future because we plan for it, all thought it was said before that life should be lived in a spontaneous way for it to be happy, that we should live in the present, in the now and not in the past or future, but they are all very much connected because although we live in the now, the future is coming and the past is what makes us who we are. How we react to certain things come from the past, past experiences, memories.

  27. Although only one of the eight limbs of yoga has been covered, understanding the yamas presented in the books can lead to understanding the core of the other teachings. The yamas each explained a principle on discipline on the negative traits of human nature: such as arrogance, anger, lust, or greed. The root for these traits – as well as other negative traits – is ignorance. But when that ignorance is uncovered and made known in our lives, then the hold it has weakens and we are closer to understanding the full potential of ourselves and the world around us. Instead of planning so much for a future or dwelling on the mistakes of the past, it is better to not ignore the present and any progress for the future will come in time. When we observe the relations we have with those around us – and with ourselves – we can notice that basing that relationship on the past or future can be based on fear for an unpredictable present with no future that is set in stone.

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