"The problems of the world that we have inherited and that we are passing on to our children come from the desire to become successful. The reason we did not acquire the same problems from our indigenous ancestors is because they were merely successfully being."

• The responsibility of a yogi

There are no asanas that can counter the negative effect of ill will. There is no breath when coupled with mal-content that could fill us with healing prana. Headstand done with the mind wandering is of little benefit, and if the mind has wandered into envy or competition the brilliance of the pose will be not only wasted but will infect the body that inhabits those thoughts. We cannot find satisfaction in life by merely beautifying or strengthening the body. The body will reflect only the bidding of the thoughts that govern it. It is therefore the greater yogic truth, that we watch our motives and mental aberrations, looking with increasing vigilance for what and who we are projecting within our own cognition. We cannot depend on the greatness of our achievements, whether they be of the intellect, art, our profession or athletic performance, for our true happiness. These temporary fortunes are after all not honest if they promise us joy or happiness. They misrepresent themselves to be forever in what is a brief and momentary pleasure of the ego. How self-centered and short-sighted is a thought that claims ownership of a talent or an inspiration? How meaningless is a bank account full of money that can buy a house but not the love in it, with a view, but no appreciation for it. I write this only because my mind has not been able to trick me for long, but indeed it has at times. It is this selfish misunderstanding of where happiness and contentment dwell that caused me many wasted days of painful indignity. When we think of our yoga practice as exercise or look at it as defining who we are, we do not look deep enough. With this trite appeal to the forces of nature, we beckon fate to deliver us into dark emptiness. If, on the other hand we practice yoga, knowing that with every moment of pure consciousness and devotion, with purpose and caring for God and humanity we implement those same forces, they fill our being with light, true fulfillment. Our practice no longer defining us, instead asking and answering the question, who am I and why am I here. There is no promise of a greater life than this, a finer moment than now just because we can hold our breath for seconds longer or stretch inches farther. But with love in our hearts there is the possibility that we will affect the world as we know it; for we are co-creators and have been all our lives. We may have been fully or ill-equipped, but surely, always at a turning point that hinged on honesty, personal discovery and selfless surrender. It is not what others think that is of any importance. Our responsibility is to stand in harmony and to be what it is we want to see as a manifestation of our practice, our thoughts, and our actions. Joy is constructed of truth and willing acceptance, held together with courage. What is it that we want when no-thing and no-body can set us free except us?

It is true that whatever brings us to a daily practice whether it is pain or vanity, transformation will occur over time as we face ourselves daily, becoming more present in the process. It is these very challenging times that inspires me to share these thoughts in hopes that it will accelerate both of our processes in awakening.

We must stay vigilant in our practice and in our daily lives, for this is a turning point for all life and we are all effective in the change that will or will not come about. Buddhists say this life is like an illusion. They do not say it is an illusion; it is too precious not to live it in appreciation and with the knowledge that we all make a difference.


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