21 February 2015


These days the West bandies around all sorts of yoga terms, mainly because some of these terms have been considered to be necessities for spiritual development, & also because we seem to have a need to "improve" things. And, lets face it, there are so many lovely, sincere people who also want to do their best.

However, sometimes a word in an ancient language, does not have an equivalent meaning for the old language meaning. I'm learning deep Maori spirituality, using the Maori language as it was thousands of years ago. My teacher often tells us that the real meaning of a word, or proverb at other times, gets lost in the translation to English. It's the same with Sanskrit, the language of yoga. Sometimes when we translate words, sutras (sentences strung together), the real Sanskrit meaning gets lost in the translation, to, for example, English.

One of these words is vairagya. It does not actually properly translate into English. In the West, it is believed to mean "detachment". I heartily dislike that translation. (Yes, I know....in yoga we are not supposed to neither like nor dislike!!) That translation has led to so many false concepts, strange behaviour, weird justifications for behaviour, & countless heated debates.

Maybe we can look at in a a language that we understand, & drop "detachment". I have seen & heard so many mean things done, & said, in the name of detachment, & I do feel that this attitude is also an abuse tool. A tool for manipulative people to employ, to criticise others, & to justify wrong doing. A tool for being cold, uncaring.

Sometimes we need to stand up & be counted, & be prepared to accept the consequences. This is vairagya. At times we need to follow what our heart, or gut, or thoughts, keep telling us whether or not it goes hand in hand with our belief system or what every one else says/does/thinks: this is vairagya.

I have had times in my life when my yoga training enabled me to work in situations that were not exactly the greatest, because I needed to earn money for the family: this is vairagya. Sometimes we need to let others just be, to evolve without us trying to control them: vairagya.

Really by being a decent human being with values, ethics & decent behaviour, we will start to develop vairagya for ourselves.

There  are 2 levels of vairagya, here I'm talking about the first level as I feel that there are too many silly concepts  about the higher level.

But I will tell you this: the higher level of vairagya is expressed with genuine ahimsa (non-harming), & this goes along with a deep inner experience of love.

This is what we can aspire to: being a decent person, who does not hurt others, who also stands up against others being hurt, who is loving & caring. When we do this, the spiritual evolution is rapid. we will be awakening the qualities of vairagya within us.

4 February 2015

what would you do for love

that's the punch line of a tv advert !!

It's also the main lesson of over 40 years yoga teaching. And it's what you get for living the yoga life, & this is any part of yoga really: if chanting is your thing, or meditation, or postures, or the philosophy, you can have access to unlimited love. And it is a love that grows, &, even through the hard times, it will call you back to yourself.

What would you do for love? In reality there is only 1 main thing to do, whether you practice some form of yoga, or are a Buddhist, or follow another ancient path, or follow a religion...... it costs nothing & is the easiest thing in the world to do.

It is to be a decent human being, with a conscience. It does not mean being fake nice, nor manipulative, nor proclaiming the "right" thing to do. It means doing none of those things. You don't have to "forgive" people when they do wrong or mean things. You just have to be a decent person....& therefore you won't need to do anything to make yourself look good. The inner loveliness that will shine forth from you, & your own inherent decency, your own inner love, you will not be able to suppress it. It will shine.

Being a decent person who refuses to do & be mean, will free up trapped energy within you, & this will allow your own inner store of energy to emerge & grow. You will find it easier to deal with life's problems, because your own energy will sustain you, & your conscience will make you feel ok about yourself within difficult situations.

Things will still happen, but, you will be "protected" on some level. I can honestly say this from personal experience. So many times I've been emotionally hurt, ripped off financially, been gossiped about badly....& trust me...that all hurt! But always it turned out that these 'bad' situations kept me away from being involved in situations that were not at all loving, &, therefore, they were detrimental. And better things came instead. It's almost like a strange "law of attraction".

Rather than sending out "I want. I want", messages to the Universe, in the belief that all you want will come to you.......good things will come just through being an inherently good person: "to thine own self be true" (Shakespeare)

In yoga, it's called "ahimsa", or, non-violence. Refusing to be the person who knowingly harms another, & also being the person who refuses to allow harm to come to his/her self.

Ahimsa is doing & being. It is not talking about it. Actions speak louder than words.