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Journal Post

This is a question I have been getting more and more of lately, so I think I will write a bit...
The summer after I graduated from college I headed off to fulfill a dream -- I traveled solo through Europe for two months. Sauntering on Parisian streets; sipping vino in Italy; snuggling under down comforters in Switzerland and Austria; and noshing on pastries in Belgium, and Prague -- I was finally free of all the obligations that my schooling had entailed and was embarking on the path of my adult life.
At least that's how things seemed on the outside.
My original intention for this month was to write about one of the pioneers of modern yoga, Shri Yogendra. But just this morning I received a newsletter from a yoga school-here unnamed-where I found a short essay, "About Yoga," that begins with: "Yoga is an ancient science practiced for thousands of years." Friends, as Joan Rivers says, can we talk? Let's start with "thousands of years." The Sanskrit word sanatva means "ancientness," it's an idea that's found everywhere in Hinduism.
After a month's hiatus, we return to the story of Yoga in the US. In the July newsletter we looked at one of the unsung female Yoga pioneers of the 20th century, Sita Devi Yogendra, and I promised you then more about our female trail blazers. So this month we'll visit with a woman whose life spanned the entire 20th century, and whose followers lovingly called her the "First Lady of Yoga."
This link to an online Newsweek article, dated May 13, 2010, came from a friend through my email the other day. Titled "The Clash of the Yogis: Do the Hindu Roots of Yoga Matter?," author Lisa Miller, the magazine's religion editor, raises several issues that beg responses, though because of space limits I'll only be able to deal with the question asked in the piece's sub-title.
Hanging in my office's south-facing window is a prism, a flat plate of glass about four inches in diameter. For half the year, in the spring and summer, the Sun is high in the sky and the angle of its rays too steep to filter through the glass and into my room. Effectively out of sight then, as the old adage has it, it's also usually out of mind, though occasionally, when nudged by a breeze blowing through the open window, it taps against the pane ... clack, clack, clack ... and reminds me it's still hanging around. This morning though when I opened the slatted blinds that cover the window, a hint of rainbow sprawled across my floor, not nearly the full spectrum, just a long uneven smudge of red.
You will see in others what you see in yourself. All of the insecurities you see in others are really the ones you have within reflected back at you. A Course in Miracles states that you cannot give to another what you have not known yourself. But is this true with love? Or does love play by other rules? When we ask others for unconditional love does that mean we are capable of it ourselves? In the total acceptance of our imperfections we find a grace beyond measure and a joy in the otherwise confusing panorama of humanity. Yet if we are only able to love another person to the extent that we are able to love ourselves our capacity to give might find a dead end in the caverns of our self-loathing and the doldrums of low self-esteem.
This year's political season in the U.S. highlights some of the most monumental achievements and pitfalls of the past century and inspires a renewal of the dream of peace, hope and change. Yet in such an atmosphere we must also ask ourselves where the realization of such broad specturm dreams is to be found if these ideals are really to be more than just a dream after all is said and done. We know now that the ultimate resolution of the seemingly eternal problems of humanity is not to be found in a battle between nations fought with weapons of mass destruction, nor in a war of words among politicians, nor in the battle of the sexes. So where and to whom do we turn to answer the most difficult questions of our lives?
"May the Lord bestow upon us the Divine way to obtain Ahimsa" Of all the virtues involved in the science of yoga, there is none higher than ahimsa. Ahimsa is the golden thread that runs through all yoga practice and is the foundation on which all Yogis build the inner spiritual life. The one message of all saints and sages is the message of unconditional love. Practice of ahimsa develops this pure, unconditional and universal love, and is the highest of all traits found in the mind, speech and actions of all perfected souls. There is only one religion—the religion of love, of peace. There is only one message, the message of unconditional and universal love.
Of all the virtues involved in the science of yoga, there is none higher than ahimsa. Ahimsa is the golden thread that runs through all Yoga practice and is the foundation on which all Yogis build the Divine life. Practice of Ahimsa develops pure, unconditional and universal love. The one message of all saints and sages is the message of love. Ahimsa is the highest of all traits found in the mind, speech and actions of all perfected souls. There is only one religion—the religion of love, of peace. There is only one message—the message of unconditional and universal love. Ahimsa is the supreme duty of a Yogi. If you are established in Ahimsa, you have attained all virtues. All virtues spring forth from Ahimsa.
"Humanity grows more and more intelligent, yet there is clearly more trouble and less happiness daily. How can this be so? It is because intelligence is not the same thing as wisdom.
When a society misuses partial intelligence and ignores holistic wisdom, its people forget the benefits of a plain and natural life. Seduced by their desires, emotions, and egos, they become slaves to bodily demands, to luxuries, to power and unbalanced religion and psychological excuses. Then the reign of calamity and confusion begins.
Jesus in word and deed was almost violent in his call for death, for denial, for stripping, for abandoning, for letting go, for leaving all, for the journey up by going down. . . . This whole dialogue runs deep in us and all things. One could say, with complete honesty, that life is really no more than a series of heart-breaking good-byes, so full is it of having and letting go, of embracing and parting.
-- from My Song is of Mercy by Father Matthew Kelty
Go ahead, light your candles and burn your incense and ring your bells and call out to God, but watch out, because God will come, and He will put you on His Anvil and fire up His Forge and beat you and beat you until He turns brass into Pure Gold.
- paraphrased from Saint Keshavadas
There's an old Native American saying that I quoted in We're All Doing Time:
If you seek to understand the whole Universe, you will understand nothing. If you seek to understand yourself, you will understand the whole Universe.
Transcribed from a sermon Bo gave at Unity of the Triangle Church in Raleigh, NC.
When I teach meditation, I'm a stickler for keeping the body still. In the Old Testament there is a curious passage that says, "Be still and know that I am God." Isn't that curious? Be still, not "be righteous," not "be busy," not "be productive," not even "be kind," but "be still" to know God. Do we make enough room for stillness in our lives to know God?
Transcribed & edited from a talk given by Bo Lozoff in Costa Mesa CA, in March, 2006
In the past several months as I've been speaking across the country, many people have approached me and asked with some degree of excitement in their voices, "Bo, have you seen The Secret yet? Oh, you'll love it! It will change the world! Let people know about this!"
Transcribed from a sermon Bo preached at the Ainsworth United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon.
A survey of opinions on whether yoga is a religion offers a range of answers to suit any predisposition or bias. Passionate, polarized debates on 'what yoga is' surface time and again in books, on websites, and during awkward discussions with family members or friends trying to understand what it is that has drawn their loved one to this mysterious ancient practice. Is it religion masquerading as exercise? Eastern mysticism? A fitness regimen? Applied Hinduistic theism? A sister tradition to Buddhism? Pantheist philosophy? An atheist doctrine bent on sabotaging Christian beliefs?
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