The Yogis of Obsession

We’ve had enough years pass for the word Yoga to comfortably settle into the English language.  Yoga means something different to each individual, depending on one’s depth of experience the understanding will differ greatly. Yoga product markets have emerged, some flexy-bods are living the dream with their small businesses, others are in an infinite loop running back and forwards to Bali, Rishikesh or California to upgrade their skills; and many of us are well aware of quite a few supposed Yogis or Masters who came over from India to become household names in the Spiritual and what now falls under the title of ‘alternative lifestyle’ scene, some turned out to be villains, criminals even, type A personalities and abusers; others were or are sincerely humble and loving. There are also the handful of Sages and Yogis who have gone about their business unnoticed behind the scenes saving humanity’s butts.  And of course there are those people who just love their mat.
Pic-a-nic Baskets
A lot of humans would know my hero Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo Boo his ever loyal companion.  Yogi has a fascination with picnic baskets, other peoples. I don’t mind a picnic myself, scones, jam and cream or for my vegan friends we have options of not-cream, not-scones and a not so scrumptious non-jam alternative.  What I always liked about Yogi the Loveable Bear was his understanding of unity and sharing, it was beautifully expressed in the fact that he considered other people’s picnic basket content as fair game for him to participate in, it’s just most people hadn’t yet got to his level of understanding of what’s yours is mine.  All jokes aside, where I am going is Yogi lives life to the fullest and is at the polar opposite to those who practice asceticism. Asceticism ranges from severe to really messed up.  Being rigid is a long way from the over popularised Zen concept of ‘Be like a Hollow Bamboo’. A wise man once said to me “a spontaneous man (woman or other) is a liberated man.” Although this came from the wisest man I ever met, I won’t over think or delve into the idea of how people struggle to relax, the contradiction is obvious.
We hear so many versions of what yoga might be, I will bypass the lot and not waste time with philosophy or hypothetical concepts. I am from the Yogi Bear school of Yoga and in the same way Yogi perfected and refined his snatch-n’-grab the basket skills, I have spent decades on my invisible-mat fine tuning and digging deep into and beyond the core of my being. I prefer bananas to asanas and it’s not that I think body-yoga is useless, it’s just not my natural tendency, there are people on the planet who don’t eat ice-cream or chocolate, bless their suffering souls, I do and the more crumbs on my face the better. Fortunately most of my friends do the body yoga stuff,  I have a resource available and they would be more than happy to tell me about it if I ever became interested.
Yoga Means?
Here is the dilemma. We know we are all connected at some level.  You may have an inkling that there are great Beings in Inner and Outer Space. Those Beings would all un-dividedly say in unison that the only thing separating every Being is thought,  a person is always welcome to complicate what yoga might be but this is the essence of what you need to know whether you believe it, like it or not.  Yoga is about unity and separation is the issue. Often the word Yoga implies DOING SOMETHING to fix the dis-unity. But here’s the issue and where it gets weirder, THERE IS NO SEPARATION, to understand that, go back to the idea of ‘separated in thought’. Obsession with a mistaken identity is the problem whether you think you are a yogi nor not.
The Age of Me Me Me 
We live an a fascinating time.  If I was to time-travel back to being about fourteen years old and looked along the arrow of time into the present, my bold smart-ass younger self would quite outspokenly say with a lot of bravado, “people are pretty up-themselves”. The ‘up yourself problem’ has come about because of an identity crisis. People don’t know who they are, more specifically they think they need to be someone or something special; the ‘no snowflake is the same’ analogy just isn’t potent enough because the disorder of needing to be somebody is very, very deeply ingrained. People want to add colour to the snowflake, bling, bells and whistles and say, ‘it’s all about me’, not recognising the sublime diversity of each snowflake.
EGO, What Ego?
Strange as it may seem I don’t include the word EGO in my vocabulary, I only use it in conversation as a reference for those who consider it to be a reality or truth, which seems to be most people, therefore any accusation of ‘he or her has a big ego’ doesn’t hold any weight in my world, it’s meaningless because it’s a judgement call based in untruth.  The supposed EGO thing is just a bundle of thoughts and the central perceiver believes that the combined ideas it perceives about itself is a real identity. So for me the ‘up themselves’ issue is not about EGO, it’s very different, it’s about projecting an identity onto the stage of life.  People measure the mental projection against other projections, a lot of sub-conscious calculations go on and then the individual places him or herself into a hierarchy that is not really solid, the ‘virtual hierarchy’ is in constant motion depending on who is present, who it relates to and how the individual is feeling. It’s all conceptual.
Social Network Imagery
If we were to dig around social networks  and see information or profiles relating to YOGA we will end up with an endless stream of images of healthy looking bodies in leotards stretched into poses that remind us of cheetahs, big cats and other types of animals, maybe a Buddha statue carefully placed, an OM sign, a Byron Bay tan and a feel good wisdom statement.  To some people this is perceived as a problem; a lot of my friends resemble that model and are deeply embedded into the yoga community, it’s really no big deal for me, however I do know there are those who would say ‘POSERS’.  But the underlying idea for many of these practitioners is often “I take care of myself, I feel good, I want to look good, am running a class in healthy lifestyle, I’m pushing forward”, in all honesty there really is no big problem with that.  However, where the issue lies is that if the onlooker perceives that ‘model’ to represent yoga, spirituality or health and they desire to be it and are incapable of ‘looking or being that way’, then Houston there really is a problem.  If we jump across to another community, we know from experience Hollywood is full of show ponies, at one end we have celebrities that wouldn’t waste their time to talk to a person that they didn’t see as ‘their equal’, they are TRULY up-themselves; at the other end of the spectrum we have some people who may be glamorous, visually beautiful, stylish and very kind, they may serve the community in ways that no-one would even know.  Looks are deceiving.  My ‘teacher’ was really badly dressed but he had the deepest most beautiful eyes that could see into forever. As I came from a family where being nicely dressed was normal, my teacher’s attire was in itself something that was not only humorous but it required a lot of rethinking and adjustment of my world view.
To Obsess or Not Obsess
I will go back and focus on the title of the article, I am writing about the Yogis of Obsession.  Obsession is more about the times we live in than Yogis. People are struggling to find a place, to be noticed, to make money, to have a sense of self-worth in communities that from birth place kids on the back foot where there is an underlying program running in the background to ‘get out there and do it, make us proud, one day you are gonna make it and show everyone that you’re special’… better than all the rest.  This spills over into all areas of experience, however because Yoga (what I define as the Unity of All Consciousness and Emptiness) and what we see in the world around us are at 180 degrees to each other, the topic of Yoga is the perfect example to pinpoint the problem we are faced with; in truth the underlying issue is the deer is seeking the musk inside itself, the dog chasing its own tail, the SEEKER is the SOUGHT. People are trying to become what they already are, in this quest there is an accidental denial of Divinity. The common ‘narrative’ is that God, the Self, what you are seeking is more wondrous than the experience you are going through. In social consciousness there is the unspoken idea that things must be better than what’s happening now if it’s God or the Self we are talking about. I am in no way implying that there are not phenomenal things happening outside our known scope, there are, we are Multi Dimensional Beings and the brain filters out what is beyond our ability for us to cope with but EVERYTHING whether it be other dimensional or the known is still in the world of form or some type of frequency which essentially is a combination of Consciousness and Energy.  It is ALL an expression of THOUGHT.
Making Sense
If we are serious in our quest, we need to come back to basics and find a ‘leveller’, something to bring about common sense, real humility (not exhibitions of devotion or public displays of service), to ‘rework’ the VISION and STORY of what Yoga is and who the Yogis are.  Firstly it needs to be clear we are ALL in a constant state of Yoga. And with that idea as a foundation then the obvious implication is we are all Yogis; not just those who get up early and do stuff, chant, do Japa and mantra or look funky in leotards. We need to understand fully that the great Godmen and Godwomen have ALWAYS incarnated into all areas of the community both historically and currently.  Rama was a king, Buddha was a wanderer after he let go of his Royal duties, Jesus was extremely poor, we know he learnt carpentry and also did many things from sixteen years old as he travelled the world before and after his moment on the cross; look at the life of Joan of Arc, Arjuna was a warrior, some of the Sages live on the street in the ghettos, others hold down 9 to 5 jobs.
I am a different type of Yogi, I don’t steal picnic baskets, I don’t stand on my head or salute the sun or even own a mat. I know beyond any doubt that I am a part of the Totality, that my God molecules are no different in their nature than any Being that will ever Be and I know that the underlying Emptiness, the Super-Consciousnes is my foundation, when I disintegrate myself in deep meditation that this Silence that sits beneath, beyond or within all is my core Being.  But I am not obsessed with it, I may be obsessed with expounding the gloriousness of Yoga and by that I mean the Totality or even obsessed with unfolding my life’s tapestry into foreverness.  I am not a seeker, the sought is found, never distant, it is HERE NOW.
A gentle adjustment is required, a slight movement in thinking and disentangling from the bundle of thoughts that define themselves as the self,  the little obsessed self that is forgetting who it really is, the one that runs in circles to achieve Yoga or some type of union with the ALL. It already exists, there is not a place where the SELF is not, it unfolds the creation beautifully and looks out with our eyes and feels it with our Being.
Tilopa 2.0

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