yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let's Get Philosophical

I spend quite a bit of time thinking. I love to think. My grade school teachers all said the same thing on my report card evaluations to my parents: "Audrey loves to daydream." My husband says that at heart I am a philosopher, so right now I'm just goin' with that! This past week, I did an overview of some of the great philosophers throughout history. Their understanding of the human condition is extraordinary, and their views could be written today.

At the root of peace and health is a universal understanding of the self and others. Here are brief viewpoints of a group of important philosophers, views that are new to me, and I would like to share them with you:

469-399 BC
Socrates believed that "improper conduct can only be a product of ignorance rather than a symptom of weakness of the will." (As a note, ignorance is in Yogic and Buddhist beliefs one of the "kleshas" or afflictions that obscure freedom).

427-347 BC
"The things we perceive with the senses remind us of things we knew when the soul was out of the body and could perceive reality directly."
(Reincarnation, past life regression, being close to the divine while meditating are all examples of how everything and everyone is connected to the universe).

Soren Kirkegaard
(Considered the father of existentialism)
"To have faith is at the same time to have doubt."
"Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom."
(Perhaps we keep ourselves trapped in a cycle of suffering because we can't handle the risks inherent in freedom??).

Friedrich Nietzsche
He felt that "Non-rational forces reside at the foundation of all creativity and of reality itself, and strongly instinctual, wild, amoral, 'Dionysian' energy is an essentially creative and healthy force."

As a means towards cultural rebirth, Nietzsche advocated "the resurrection and fuller release of Dionysian artistic energies--those which are associated with primordial creativity, joy in existence, and ultimate truth."
(Everything is so politically-correct these days that we need to be authentic, and freely expressive again!).

Albert Camus
(Originated the theory of The Absurd)
"The absurd is our desire for clarity and meaning within a world and condition that offers neither. We value our lives and existence so greatly, but at the same time we know we will eventually die, and ultimately our endeavors are meaningless."
(Today I read in The New York Times an article about a study showing that baby boomers are happy as well as suicidal. Hmmm...).

The more I exist in reality (my reality, of course), working towards seeing clearly, acting mindfully, and observing non-judgmentally, the happier and more content I feel. I see a world around me full of stress, frenzy, hostility, impatience, and neglect, all symptoms perhaps of our modern society. It's a difficult task to focus on one's good health and acts of kindness in this sort of pressure cooker called American life. I try to take time to evaluate what is bothering me in my life, what is not working, and figure out options to eliminate these things if required. Certainly making changes. I can make changes on a personal level, and the huge problems on a national and international level are in my thoughts at the same time. I learn a tremendous amount by listening, reading, absorbing what others have to say. The best thing any of us can do is forgive ourselves, dust ourselves off, and try again. I am enjoying studying the great philosophers right now. Less TV and more time pursuing what enlarges the soul is my M.O. for this summer!

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