Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Change your destiny with Yoga - part 1

If we go back five hundred years in history, or a thousand, or two thousand and more, we see that there was not much difference in the way people lived. Geography and culture, not time, were much more deciding factors in the quality of life. We know that some ancient civilizations were much more advanced in many ways than say, Europe in the not-so-ancient Dark Ages. And many would say they led happier lives than we do today.
If we take the art of war for example, four thousand and more years ago a man fought with a sword and a shield, or with a bow. So did the Romans two thousand years later. And so did all of Europe until a mere 6 or so generations ago, another two thousand years after that. But now, all that has changed in a short period of time. In every field, the changes have been dramatic. The industrial, technological and information revolutions have transformed our lives. But has our happiness been transformed along with it? I don’t think so. For all our cleverness, for all the secrets we have unlocked in nature, in science and in technology we have not learned the most important thing: who we are. And until we do, we cannot hope to be happy.
In the end, happiness happens between the bottom of your feet and the top of your head. A friend of mine once said money was not important to him, rich or poor ‘I still eat one plate’. Happiness is not to be found in things, in money, in gadgets, in people, in anything ‘out there’. Happiness can only be found inside, ‘in here’.
The following passage comes from a 42 year-old treasure, ‘Yoga and Destiny’ by Elisabeth Haich and Selvarajan Yesudian. The message is even more needed today than it was then.

While his attention was directed to things outside himself, he neglected to look inside and ask the question, ‘Who am I?’ This omission had serious consequences: while technological developments became ever more perfect, man himself became ever more imperfect. At the very time that engineering and technology were enhancing man’s personal comfort, his soul was sinking deeper and deeper into dissatisfaction and misery.
A person who has lost himself is plagued by burning unrest, and the result of inner dissatisfaction, tragedy within the man, is always war, destruction, cosmic catastrophe. Humanity plunges into misery for the simple reason that people seek happiness outside themselves, instead of in the one and only place where it can be found, within! But the sufferings that often seem to grow and compound themselves finally force us to turn our attention away from things and toward the person who is suffering – ourself! Sooner or later we must learn that the true reason for our sufferings is our abysmal lack of self-understanding and self-control.

More in ‘part 2’.

Photo by Gregor Buir


footiam said...

You still have to eat to be happy! Yes, money matters!

Alex Stewart said...

Money matters of course, especially when you don't have any! But once your basic needs are met you need more than money to be happy...

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond