Wild American Sannyasin

Being a sannyasin (‘renunciate’, some who has dedicated their entire life towards spiritual pursuits) in the United States can be difficult when one is removed from a spiritual order.

First (for me), it means attention to discipline.  Not living in an ashram (‘spiritual hermitage’) its very easy to sleep in, to not do sadhana (‘spiritual practices’), to eat non-Prana filled food (like junk food, for example).

Second (also for me), it can be a tad isolating.  Which is not to say I am alone, for I have many loving, caring, bright and beautiful friends in my life.  Friends who I enjoy being with, sharing with, laughing and crying with, yet friends whose lives are often very different from my own.

My friends wake up in the morning and prepare for their day.  Eating breakfast, drinking coffee, getting the kids ready, driving to work, and/or any other number of obligations.

I wake up and meditate, then do Yoga.  This is part of my sadhana.

My dear friends watch television and news programs, American Idol and sitcoms.  I tune in only on occasion (recently, I’ve been following some of the Olympics, and stay atop current events by reading headlines).

Where my dear friends strive for a goal – family, career, home, flat screen tv, loose weight – I do my best to not strive, to not do .. to simply Be.  I do my best to be rid of possessions and possessiveness, to be unattached to things.  My only goal is to realize I Am That, or to identify where I feel separate from the Source, to rest comfortably within the Supreme.

Over the years I have read many Vedic texts (‘wisdom teachings’), from many spiritual traditions, and sat at the knee of many spiritual teachers.  From Christian to Buddhist, from Pagan to neo-pagan, from Zen to Tao, from Baha’i Faith to Rastafari, from Sufi to Shamanism, from Unitarian Universalism to Contemplative Prayer.  And within every word, within every prayer, I find Yoga.

Yoga means ‘union’ – the union of one’s self with the divine, and that is the message of every heartfelt prayer of every human being on the planet.

Where many get confused is that the word ‘yoga’ is used to describe over 200 approaches to life and living.  Hathayoga (Hatha Yoga), for example, is ‘physical union’, or exercise.  Then there is Bhaktiyog (devotion union), Rajayog (royal union; meditation), Karmayog (action union; helping, volunteering), Mantrayog (chanting union), Layayog (chakra, kundalini union), and so many more.  And all of them are simply methods – ways to approach and discover one’s personal center.

Like many upon the Yogic path, the path of union (to include all world faiths), I have read the Bhagavad Gita, the ‘Blessed Song’.  Additionally, I have taken numerous courses on the Gita, to open myself to its wisdom, allowing it to take root within.  I mention this because, as an American Sannyasin, I have certain tasks to perform, gifted to me from my guru.  One such direction is from the Gita, and I have found it to be sustaining advice, wise counsel, comfort and nourishment as I walk through life.  In short, it is a guideline for living.  Not a dictate or demand, just a gentle suggestion.  Specifically, it is how Yogi’s live, or what they have given up all else to obtain.

So for those of you who seek the Yogic path, or those who are already upon it, or those who value direction that transcends all world religion, I offer to you chapter 12, verses 13-20, from the Bhagavad Gita.

“He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving.  Ever content, steady in meditation, possessed of firm conviction, self-controlled, with mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me.

He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, envy, fear and anxiety – he is dear to Me.  He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled, renouncing all undertakings or commencements – he who is thus devoted to Me, is dear to Me.

He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil, and who is full of devotion, is dear to Me.  He who is the same to foe and friend, and in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment.

He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, of a steady mind, and full of devotion – that man is dear to Me.  They verily who follow this immortal Dharma (spiritual duty, that which sustains) as described above, endowed with faith, regarding Me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.  Hari Om Tat Sat!”

Now, a note:  ‘God’ in the Yogic sense can be whatever the devotee envisions.  It can be a Christian god or a Pagan god, a Buddhist god or a Sufi god, or it can be no god at all – but the Self.  So that ‘god’ is mostly considered your own Higher Self, your Guardian Angel, your Divine Intelligence – however one comes to realize That – is their personal Yoga.

Which is why, even in Hathayog, I often say, ‘Do the practice, and all else will follow.’  For in doing the physical practice, we learn the ways of the body; in doing the mental practice, we learn the ways of the emotions and intellect; and in doing the spiritual practice, we learn what is Real.

AUM BE Wild!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mike k
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 15:51:24

    that was a really good blog. I feel as if I found a kindred spirit. Like you, I’ve traveled a long and winding road of spirituality. I have been a Methodist, a pagan, a Catholic, practiced Zen for a bit until I found myself on a yogic path. They say that all roads lead to one and I’m quite content now on my current path. Yoga has opened up a whole new world to me that was missing before. It’s amusing to me that yoga was the last path I came to and one that I avoided for quite some time because I felt it was “too hard”. I enjoy your blogs and I look forward to the next one. Namaste!

    Reply

    • wildyogini
      Mar 12, 2010 @ 21:06:28

      Thank you for the kind words Mike. Yes .. Yoga is something more than physical poses. Its what one discovers within.

      In kind, I visited your blog. Very nice. I’m still working on the details, trying to figure out how to use wordpress. Like an asana, its a work in progress.

      Reply

  2. Mike K
    Mar 13, 2010 @ 03:53:09

    You’re very welcome. When I first started yoga, I was doing it solely as an exercise but there seemed to be something missing to it. Being curious, I dug a little deeper into it’s philosophy and found a wonderful spirituality. An old Chinese proverb states that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m still new on my journey but it’s been a nice experience so far. Yoga is much more than an exercise now. I’m always tinkering with my blog. WordPress is definitely like yoga. Nothing is ever quite right the very first time you try it and you end up changing this and that it until it comes out the way you want it to. Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoy your posts.

    Reply

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