Yoga is about how the Will can free us ...

“True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness. Yoga is about how the Will can free us from the wavering mind and outwardly directed senses. This is how asana serves us.”

~ B.K.S. Iyengar

If you wish to escape from prison, you must realize that you are in prison

I’ve known about Ram Dass for a long time, but I don’t think I considered his work too much until I stumbled across the book, Polishing The Mirror, which I now consider to be the best spiritual book I’ve ever read. More recently I started reading his newer book, Walking Each Other Home, and the following quote comes from that book.


There is no inherent self — we are boundless. The ego is a structure of mind that organizes the universe, particularly around the relationship to separateness. It is the steering mechanism for you as a separate entity surviving and functioning within this world, on this plane.

Meditation practice brings our neuroses to the surface

“Meditation practice brings our neuroses to the surface rather than hiding them at the bottom of our minds. It enables us to related to our lives as something workable.”

~ Chogyam Trungpa

People go through tremendous personal stress when life doesn’t jive with their mental model (ego)

Thought of the evening: People go through tremendous personal stress (distress!) when the way their life is turning out doesn’t jive with the mental model of who they think they are (i.e., the “little ego”).

As just one example, my father always talked about opening up a hot dog restaurant. “Hot dog joints” were a big thing in northern Illinois, and they still are. He was a social person who ran projects, and I thought that was a great idea for him.

But he had a mental model that he was an engineer, so even after he was laid off from an engineering job he didn’t like, he kept trying to pursue engineering jobs rather than his dream. He never could break through that, “I was trained as an engineer so I’m supposed to be an engineer” mental model. As a result he became angry, and his life didn’t end well as a result.

In my own case, for many years all I wanted was to be a professional baseball player, and it took several injuries and many years before I finally had to accept that it wasn’t going to happen. Sadly, those were lost years in many ways, and all because I couldn’t let go of the old mental model I had of who I thought I was supposed to be. And because I couldn’t let go of the old model, I couldn’t see the new opportunities that were staring me in the face.

But finally I reached a breaking point. Everything literally came to a head and I said, “F*** this. This is not how I want to spend my life.” To this day I remember that moment.

Some time later I would look back and think, “OMG, why did I waste all those years?” But I understand, even when everyone around you can clearly see what needs to happen, when it’s happening to you — when you’re in the middle of it — it’s a big, ugly, emotional mess. Something is trying to crack your cosmic egg, and when anything tries to destroy the little ego you’ve spent all your life building up ... well, it’s insanely stressful. You’ve spent XX years building up this mental model of who you are, and now something is trying to destroy that model. (A model which I should add exists only in your brain.)

All I can say is that in my case I found a new way to live, and indeed, many of the happiest years of my life.

You want to know what your life will look like a year from now? alvin August 29, 2019 - 10:01am

“You want to know what your life will look like a year from now? Listen to what you’re saying when you talk to yourself. Your self-talk determines your future.”

~ from the book, Relentless Optimism

The misconception that yoga is about exercising the body

There was a time when I had the misconception that yoga is only about exercising the body. Then one day my wise teacher (who studied directly under Iyengar) told me, “If you aren’t paying attention to your actions, all you’re doing is stretching.”

Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is ...

“Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations of the consciousness.”

~ Patanjali (via Iyengar)

The key to self-sufficiency

“I believe the key to self-sufficiency is breaking free of the mindset that someone, somewhere, owes you something and will come to your rescue.”

“Self-sufficiency,” wrote Epicurus, “is the greatest of all wealth.” Epictetus added that “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

~ two quotes from this Farnam Street blog post