Two excesses: to exclude reason, to admit nothing but reason.- Pascal, Pensées.
The title of my post has a rebellious Adam saying those very words to his wife Eve after a long day or labor in the field, outside the Garden of Eden. He realizes that Paradise, at the price of ignorance, was not worth having. If the story is plausible, Adam is the first Yogi.
Thus, this closing of 3rd Section of the Sutras:
When the presiding-deities invite, there should be no attachment and no smile of satisfaction, contact with undesirable being again possible (III, 50).
Via ahimsa, Yoga is amenable to deep ecology and the plight for justice and equality, provided by asteya for all of sentient beings. of course we must include non-human animals. it makes perfect sense!
Let’s get into the enstasis part. We are trying to give the Sutras a different spin: Yama is now a techné aimed at perfecting the self. "Reincarnation" becomes a metaphor for the never ending process of identity renewal. Meditation means seeking worthwhile thoughts as a mean to achieve niyama, which depends of yama. Asana is comportment, a way of paying attention to my body (yes, the body IS important) while simultaneously being aware of other bodies, something not unlike the idea of an athlete in the West (a healthy body + a clean mind built through the discipline of the sport). I surmise that athletes have an x-tra sense of peoples’ bodies that neophytes simply lack (it'd be nice to have LeBron defending this point).
With dharana and dhyana we engage in a discussion about the form vs. content of meditation. When it comes to dharana, yoga practice exhibits a perplexing degree of fetishism. It seems that for the mind to get deeper into itself it needs to transcend itself (by purging itself). And so, dharana is an anteroom to dhyana.
Homelessness: Because of the very structure of pakriti and purusha, we are ontologically homeless. This idea resonates in Freudian psychoanalytic theory (Spaltung), where the Self is divided, and in Existentialism, where Being = Nothingness.
Why can one not be God? -asks the disciple.You are, -says the master. -But you have to find out by yourself.-- Swami Vivekananda.
Coming back to Martin example of the moon being reflected on the lake. Some level of aesthetic abeyance can make one agree with the Romantic poet contemplating Nature's beauty and thinking “I could very well die now,” (which obviously doesn’t happen in all lakes at all times). This lucky teeny mini-samadhi is sudden, ephemeral, accidental and unregulated (Yoga aims at regulating these samadhis). Yet, it makes us aware that we’re capable of achieving high-quality awareness (the idea being that one can bring it forth through discipline and effort). Does it make sense to investigate this further?
Let's bring the point home. One may feel materially lucky for having and enjoying what lots of people in this world can only dream of having (i.e., driving a car, eating a nice meal, going to school and having these cool conversations about philosophy, etc), so that one may feel responsible for that demand of the invisible other(“invisible” in the sense that we avoid their gaze and pass them in silence). It makes me think of the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas: In his book Totality and Infinity, he talks about “le rapport sans rapport,” (a demand that sometimes is quite heavy to bear and may go unanswered). Not unlike Jesus’s imperative on the Sermon of the Mount: “You shall love your enemy”. Now, what’s that?
Michaelangelo Pistoletto, Venus of the Rags, (1974).
Some of you may be thinking that all this Yoga stuff is a sham. And I could never prove to you it’s not. What I can do is plead with Pascal: you will lose nothing by trying it.