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Yoga and Pleasure

moth2010-07-04 17:39:21 +0000 #1
Hello again. I've been wondering about something - another tangle - so I'm curious to hear what you think. I hope I can express this clearly and don't come across disrespectfully. (I seem to have that concern here because everybody talks VERY kindly to each other and well, I don't...always...yet).

So anyway...I've come to terms with the darkness and I'm accepting more light. I'm turning negativity around, practicing asanas, and increasing meditation time. I realize I need to continue all these things, but now I think I'm bumping up against my next step - what to do about the ego. I've heard/read about egolessness, being unattached or groundless, but I'm not totally sure I'm ready to toss out the ego things I've been holding onto forever. I'm not even sure I can identify what needs to get tossed out in the first place! I've been wondering why we develop egos in the first place, if you're just suppose to get rid of them later on. They must serve SOME purpose, no? And what about the people who don't practice yoga at all and die with their big messy attached egos? I suppose all this will become clearer later as I study more, but now I'm wondering specifically about pleasure. Is this one of those ego things we're suppose to give up?

I hear a lot about joy and happiness and bliss, but also hard work and discipline and practice. Sometimes I get the impression that yoga is ultra serious or too strict and sort of repressive. I'm more than half way through my life now and have spent enough time working hard and feeling like a hamster running around on that spinning wheel thing. So at this moment in time anyway, the discipline part of yoga doesn't hold as much appeal as the relaxation part. I wonder if I can still enjoy (or hold onto), boxing or rock music or chocolate or blue comedians or gangster movies. I'm attached to my passions. I wonder which pleasures, if any, are allowed, although "allowed" probably isn't the right word. I think I understand that certain pleasures or activities could bring about more restlessness or overstimulation, but on the other hand, for me, I don't really feel the attraction of being serene (or pure) ALL the time.

What happens if I just search for a point where I simply feel balanced and stay THERE? Am I still doing yoga?


Alix2010-07-04 17:48:20 +0000 #2
At its heart (IMO) yoga is about acceptance. You don't have to give up anything you don't want to give up. Just do your yoga and stay on the path. Immerse yourself in the pleasure that yoga brings you. Don't TRY so hard. Just do and be. If you feel like giving something up...do it. If not, its not time to let go of it. A wise teacher once told me that the harder you TRY the more elusive things become.
InnerAthlete2010-07-04 18:26:12 +0000 #3
It's a very good series of questions. And by "good" I mean it is to be fully answered by a learned teacher, a senior teacher, one who outwardly lives in a fashion that reflects yoga's depth.

In the meantime I suspect you are likely to get a myriad of replies here. Hopefully they will be both simple and experiential rather than dogmatic and stoic.

I'll share what I can but by no means do I hope to represent this as a complete answer.

There is a difference between not being attached and being de-tached. It might be worthwhile studying the Kleshas. In that study you may likely discover the five obstacles to enlightenment, which I prefer to term "mindful evolution".

Raga is the concept of attachment or clinging to outcomes, feelings, or experiences. Dvesha is the concept of aversion, or pushing away things like pain and discomfort. While they might be viewed as opposites they are both obstacles.

In this sense we are no more to only embrace pleasure than we are to shun pain. Both will come and both should (or could) be received as part of the learning experience we are to have while in this body. If you can find joy in the sprained ankle the same way you find joy in a cool swim on a warm day, that is balance.

The Ego is not inherently "bad". It is to be examined and transformed. It does, in fact serve us. It keeps you from walking across a five lane highway during rush hour, among other things.

That which we bring into our lives are brought in within a yogic context when they are mindfully chosen, not when they mimic some guru's behavior half way around the globe. What is your purpose? Those things that serve your purpose whether they are Rock Music or peace protests, boxing, or meditating...as long as they are feeding your purpose for being here and they are chosen mindfully, then they are "appropriate" for you. Perhaps not your neighbor, perhaps not your yoga teacher, but appropriate for you.
Lars Rimböck2010-07-04 18:12:51 +0000 #4
I also don´t claim to have the complete anwer to your important questions.

But I think we should reflect the concept of the so called Ego.

Isn´t it so that reducing ourself to the Ego, which finaly is no more than a bundle of expieriences we made in our life is seperating us from the rest?

Mostly if we are attached to much to the Ego we feel seperated and lonley.

Yoga means to reconnect, but not necessaryly to get rid of the Ego.

Like Inner Athlete said, the Ego still serves for a couple of things in life.

But if we realise the practis of Yoga the Ego is no longer allways the boss in us.

All the best

Lars
Rashmi2010-07-04 18:54:15 +0000 #5
As per my experience do your yoga sincerely as per the extent possible by you and recite gayatri mantra. Go with what you like in addition as per your desires.Slowly with long practice of asanas a feeling of dispassion will arise from deep inside and you yourself would like to be in peaceful surroundings.

Regarding Ego, temptation all these will get subdued by yoga asanas, reading and you yourself would like to meditate and want to realise God in due course.

No need for subduing your desires and likings.This will happen slowly as you will get aged and as per divines will and grace.

In my case reading the Biography of Great Yogis, Circumstances and some experiences have helped a lot. A desire from deep inside arose in me to find out the Truth and Know vedas.For almost five years i was just doing asanas, then i slowly started searching about yogis, then veda. Still i am not into meditation, which i desire, but devotion and faith quotient have increased .

Make peace with yourself, desires and surroundings. With Time, age and Gods Grace every thing will fall in place.

OM
justwannabe2010-07-04 20:03:48 +0000 #6
I had a hard time with ego as well. I thought I had to give up everything that is fun. I war reading a book and it talked about three selves

a child like self that wants what it wants and always wants to have fun

a robot like self that needs structure, normal sleeping times, eating times, exercise, routines, etc...

a spiritual self that wants to express love and help to bring out everyones best side

how I am coming to terms with it is I try to do all three at all times, every moment of the day. Find joy, structure, and love in everything. something to that extent. You have to work, tell a couple jokes and a smile, say compliments, shot the waste paper left handed into the basket, find joyous things while at work

on a walk, swing your arms in the wind, feel the breeze, marvel at creation

at a board meeting, meditate, look into others eyes and see how they seem to be feeling, figure out the best words you can tell someone who needs a little help.

The concept I had of ego, made me hate myself, the new concept I have lets me accept it

not attacthed to it, not unattached to it, just accepting it

something like that

on the journey

good luck in yours

neil
Nichole2010-07-04 18:01:32 +0000 #7
Quote:

Originally Posted by moth



I hope I can express this clearly and don't come across disrespectfully. (I seem to have that concern here because everybody talks VERY kindly to each other and well, I don't...always...yet).

Hey Moth,

I find that most of what is left of my disrespectful language is said to myself and to those who love me the most. Who else would have stuck around after being spoken to disrespectfully? And who else but those who love you could reflect back to you that you are not this pain or those angry words? For me, this is a work in progress. I realize that I most often use angry words and angry posturing with others and myself when I have not clearly communicated my own needs, established clear boundaries around my needs or respected these boundaries. (I work a lot with boundaries in so many ways ) I grew up in a good family that had very weak boundaries modeled by my parents. I know that they were better than their parents. There were a lot of angry words when we fought. We fought and then the storm blew over and it was all good, back to normal. You can imagine my surprise when my husband did not participate in this type of arguing and that things were not all good after I was done arguing in this way! (He also comes from a good family, but they fight differently) As you can imagine, we both get lots of practice in finding a new way to be with each other and in this world. We work diligently to keep our hearts open, to not dissociate or to fall back into our respective and outdated tactics during times of stress or disagreement. This is definitely a work in progress

I realize that this a very personal message that I am sharing with you, and the rest of God's computer-using creation, but I think that it is important that you know that everyone here is looking at their own stuff just as you are. I sometimes mistakenly believe that my angry words actually protect my tender heart. We all have our things that we are working with and that all of us, just like you, are deciding what we are or are not willing to go without.

I wanted you to have some friendship where you are at, right now in this moment, bad language and all!

Quote:

Originally Posted by moth



I've been wondering why we develop egos in the first place, if you're just suppose to get rid of them later on. They must serve SOME purpose, no?

Three cheers for the ego! Sort of. As InnerAthlete already shared, your ego helps keep you out of danger. That Ahamkar, that "I-ness" that the ego gives to us is vital to our annamaya kosha with regards to both our innate and acquired immune systems. Our bodies must have a, "this is me and that is not me" dialog running at all times. We wouldn't have made it, even for a few days, after being born into these human bodies without our egos. The bacteria and viruses we encounter would have made quick work of us without our egos! The aspects of the ego that need to be weakened and exposed are those aspects that keep us separate from each other. Those aspects that keep us lonely, fearful, angry and mistaken about our true nature, our true brilliance.

I would like to share something about the point of "passions" that you brought up, but I need to do that later.

Keep on rocking in the free world,
Hubert2010-07-04 20:07:59 +0000 #8
Quote:

Originally Posted by moth



What happens if I just search for a point where I simply feel balanced and stay THERE? Am I still doing yoga?

I try practicing yoga to improve myself where I feel lacking. Surely there are things you would like to improve too. Concentrate on these. Small things, you know them better than I do.

I always remember Jungs dream about the divine bottom defecating on a church, breaking the roof.

He was fighting his believe system, and the answer came in such a dream. After it, he felt immense peace and grace.

Sometime the greater the "sin" the greater Grace is.

If put in psychcanalytic terms, any concept, or mental image, deed, event, steals an amount of psychic energy from us. If we battle such a thing too much, that energy becomes captive, we become obsessed by it, rigid, depleted. When finally we give in, and surrender, this energy is released and we feel healed.

The danger of becoming victim of concepts, rules, shalls and shall nots is greater in people who are intellectual by nature. Jung thought that everyones's aim is to balance the main facets of the person's pshyche: intelligence, feeling, intuition, perception, and also the introversion with extroversion. Of course this is not easy, an introverted type put in situations when extroversion is needed will be soon depleted, and vice versa. So it makes sense to know yourself to avoid situations totally opposed to your character. Of course we can try to become more rounded all the time, but basic personality traits are hard to change in one lifetime.

I recommend the Myers Briggs: www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp personality test, based on jungian psychoanalysis.

For example, I am introverted, intuitive and emotional, based on this test. They say these type of people are good in architecture, religion and as psychologists. What do you know, I am an arhitect with this strange hobby of religious and psychologic studies. But do not trust this too much, either.
Spirittap2010-07-04 21:24:51 +0000 #9
I can't speak for Yoga, but from what i have learned our actions either stem from fear or love. Differentiate between your lower (ego) and higher self, then listen to that inner voice (gut feeling,instinct). You are not being judged, you have nothin to worry about .

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