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Yoga Beyond Fitness Blog


About Karin

Yoga teacher, practicing yoga since 1997, teaching since 2003, writer/translator, global soul, world traveller (and sometimes beyond), passionate about eastern philosophy and western psychology, especially its application in mind-body practices such as yoga and somatic movement therapy, deeply in love with life, knows that our greatest teacher lies within, also sometimes a total mess - it's part of the package!

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    Recent Entries

    When Two People Disagree

    Friday, February 27. 2015

    When two people disagree or quarrel it means that they are both engaged in thinking about the subject on the table but they are unaware of their process of thinking.

    If both were fully aware of their process of thinking, finding a solution to the disagreement would be easy—in fact, the solution would then simply present itself. No need to bang one's head on the table for the sake of winning the argument, no need to worry about a differing point of view, no need to scream and shout at each other. All that needs to be done is to become aware of the process of thinking.

    What is the process of thinking?
    The process of thinking is not the same as the thought process. While the thought process is the result of personal conditioning, culture, and accumulated experiences—which always perpetuate certain beliefs and thought patterns as well as our subsequent actions thereof—the process of thinking is how thinking happens in the mind. It relates to the way we think, thought after thought, moment after moment, and it can be brought into awareness. Yet, bringing it into awareness does not tell us anything about the actual subject of the disagreement on the table, but rather something about the location of our subjective evaluation. Or to put it differently: awareness tells us how disagreement happens. It tells us what causes it by gently guiding us back to our center, the location of our subjective evaluation, where we automatically find a deeper understanding of what is actually happening within us. Now we can resolve the disagreement because where we are determines how we see what we see.

    Until we become aware of our center, unfortunately we mostly see that the other person is wrong. We don't see that it is our mind that is the cause of this duality by way of evaluating that we are right and the other is wrong.

    Becoming aware of the process of thinking means to go much deeper than just following through with a good argument. It means to enter the realm of thought, our own thought, maintain focus on our process of thinking, and see what is happening in the mental realm. It's not about the facts of the disagreement. It's not about who is right or who is wrong. It's about the avoidance of facts through conditioned beliefs and the subsequent distortion of perception and response which are at the root of our experience of dissatisfaction and therefore also at the root of our disagreements with others. It's in awareness we find the acceptance of this, not in the mind.

    Krishnamurti explained it like this:
    "[…] the important thing is not what another says, however great or stupid he may be, but to be aware of oneself, to see the fact of what is, from moment to moment […] independently of the thought process, which is the response of accumulated experience, then it is possible to go beyond the fact. It is the avoidance of the fact that brings about conflict, but when you recognize the truth of the fact, then there is a quietness of mind in which conflict ceases."
    Source: Jiddu Krishnamurti Talk at New York & Seattle 1950

    To See Clearly

    Sunday, May 26. 2013

    From Jiddu Krishnamurti's 2nd Public Talk "Learning That Transforms Consciousness", Saanen, Switzerland, 14th July, 1981:

    "Now, is there another form of learning? Learning not in the context of knowledge but a different form, a non-accumulative perception-action? To find out we have to enquire whether it is possible to observe the content of our consciousness and to observe the world without a single prejudice. Is that possible?

    Do not say it is not possible, just ask the question. See whether, when you have a prejudice, you can observe clearly. You cannot, obviously.

    If you have a certain conclusion, a certain set of beliefs, concepts, ideals, and you want to see clearly what the world is, all those conclusions, ideals, prejudices and so on will actually prevent it. It is not a question of how to get rid of your prejudices but of seeing clearly, intelligently that any form of prejudice, however noble or ignoble, will actually prevent perception.

    When you see that, prejudices go.

    What is important is NOT the prejudice but the demand to see clearly."

    Why Do I Need a Guru?

    Sunday, May 5. 2013

    A yogi tale:
    After many years of study, the devoted yoga student asked the ashram guru:

    "You say everyone is divine. So if I am already divine why do I need a guru?"

    The guru said: "As long as you are asking the question, you are building pedestals for me to climb on. And as long as there are pedestals, you will believe in the need for a guru. Search within! The answer lies in your question."

    Upon hearing this, the student smiled, bowed to the guru, and was never seen again in the ashram.

    It is said that she became a very successful vegetable farmer in New Zealand.

    Attempting to meaningfully answer this question proves hazardous because any attempt to make sense of it – the question as well as the answer – will inadvertently create new mental concepts that can be equally confusing.

    The greatest single trick existence plays on us is to make us forget that we are trapped. The greatest single trick we play on ourselves is to believe in the illusory idea of what it means to be free and how to achieve that freedom.

    For when we talk about truth and reality we lose sight of it. When we understand illusion and belief we will find the truth right in the middle of it.

    This can happen anytime, anyplace, and to anyone. Ashrams and gurus are no more an exception (= a necessity) than a comfy bed on Sunday morning or your best friend's comforting words melting your periodic eruptions of irritability into complete bliss (happens often with yogis, especially females!).

    Still, the best and the most surprising teacher is YOU. And Guru knows it. That's why gurus exists: to convey that truth with compassion and kindness, knowing that sometimes it can hurt before it sets you free.

    It's NOT about choice. It's NOT about choosing or accepting the reality of another (guru, friend or mentor) that may or may not set you free.

    It's about being truly free from choice, no matter how much you crave it or believe in the necessity of it.

    The Ego Thing

    Monday, December 3. 2012

    After months of relationship stress a friend of mine broke up with his girlfriend. He felt liberated and full of life again
    ... for about a week.

    "I'm not sure I made the right decision," he said with a have-seen-it-all-before tone in his voice. "Perhaps it's this ego thing? You know, the ego not wanting to be unhappy, always seeking the easy way out, always looking for happy moments forever creating division: happy/blessed or unhappy/damned. If I always submit to ego's demands to escape unhappy moments, I remain entangled in its web that only serves to keep me stuck."

    PAUSE button. What was he struggling with?

    He was mulling over two simple but not-right-now-satisfying choices:
    a) to stop suffering by separating from the apparent cause of his unhappiness (his girlfriend) and going for the fairly effortless but short-lived change, knowing that suffering would surely return later in a new disguise (because it always does), or
    b) to stop suffering (no matter its cause) by overcoming and hopefully in time eliminating ego's tendency to create division (duality) that leads to suffering. This, he believed, would be the more arduous experience of a less certain but perhaps longer lasting change, but if he failed it would mean a lifelong learning adventure with his girlfriend. :)

    The mind tends to complicate things in life that are very simple and easy.

    Is it really a question whether the ego wants to escape from an unhappy situation, always grasping for more, never being satisfied? Or a question of the ego always choosing the least difficult option, trying for an easy way out? Or, if we follow ego's insatiable demands for more and for better, do we really remain entangled in its web and continue to seek and never find?

    Questions of ego have meaning only if one has already supposed that an ego (or "I") exists and that it is concerned only with itself and the relief of suffering. Therefore, entanglement (or whatever one may call this strange state of confusion) exists well before the ego starts to run and play with ego. Whether ego really exists or not seems to be less important than the fact that many believe it to be true.

    Strangely enough, despite its dubious and fragile nature, clinging to ego and its substantive duality puts us at ease. Our individual existence and uniqueness ("I" and "you") are thus acknowledged (as if we need proof of our madness) and not even a shred of common sense or rational analysis can prove us wrong.

    What's more and far more difficult for us to grasp or understand though is that our belief in the ego causes an impediment to perceiving reality, people, things, and situations as they really are on the level of relativity and in a non-discerning neutral state. Unhappiness and suffering are real but whether this is always so or only under the power of a craving ego is perhaps the more important question to ask and a more simple and direct way to resolve the dilemma of the ego and its suffering.

    Sri Ramana Maharashi once told a curious but uncertain seeker: "Show me your ego and I will kill it."

    The Origin of Thought

    Tuesday, March 15. 2011

    Thoughts originate in your mind. They exist in your mind. They dissolve in your mind.

    The thought that you know something (or that someone else knows something that they share with you) doesn’t mean that this is true (individual or collective) knowledge or that this is all the knowledge there is.

    Everything that is known or will be known to mind originated, originates or will originate in a thought (anyone’s thought). It is for this reason that the knowledge we have today was and is only ever that: a thought.

    Likewise, the thought that you are a limited human being with limited knowledge (based on a thought) doesn’t necessarily mean that this being is all there IS – a being with a beginning and an end, with a birth and a death. On the contrary, what this means is that you can never know that you are limited. After all, everything you know or will know always appears to you as a thought in mind. And so, the belief that you are a limited human being with a limited mind or a limited consciousness is without a solid foundation. It’s a thought. An illusion. Or in Sanskrit, Maya.

    Yoga is a path that challenges you to be ever mindful of this core simplicity. For if you are, you would realize that true knowledge can only be found in NOT-KNOWING. It cannot be found anywhere else.

    Removing and transcending all your false identities and obstacles (to surrender everything you THINK you know) and to reside happily in Not-Knowing will clarify this confusion. The key is to learn to let go. To surrender to the certainty that mind can and will never know.

    When you stop hiding from NOT-KNOWING, it is much easier to steadily progress on the path of yoga. Patanjali’s first four yoga sutras make that clear. If you understand them, you understand everything, in principle.
    atha yoga anushasanam
    yogash chitta vritti nirodhah
    tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam
    vritti sarupyam itaratra

    now begins the study and practice of yoga
    yoga is to surrender the projections of the mind
    then the true nature of the self manifests
    otherwise there is identification with mental projections
    Food for thought: The above conclusion (=> knowledge) is of course only just that: a thought. Don’t count on me to further explain and enlighten you. Practice. Practice. Practice.
    (Page 1 of 3, totaling 12 entries) next page » 1 2 3


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