And, when you wrote:
I think this might hold the most fertile ground for exploration of any question that could be asked regarding this topic as it is laid out. I hope we move in this direction at some point, or maybe I will try to get us there as we go along. But, this is it in my view, as you say "Why?" Possibly, the compassionate and pastorally minded among us may also see the significance of this simple question "Why?"
If one wants to practice Yoga, then I think it would be important to find out Why?
Thank you for this contribution.
You have misunderstood my 'Why?' When I said it's important to find out why one wishes to practice yoga, I didn't mean it's important for someone else to ask why, but for the person who desires to practice it. Your motives for practicing yoga, will decide whether it's spiritually beneficial for you or not. If you're not doing it for spiritual 'enlightenment', and only for physical benefits, then you need to figure out why you can't choose some other exercise, like Pilates, which is very similar to yoga, minus all the spirituality. If you're doing it for relaxation and to calm yourself down, it's just a bandaid - the best way to find Peace is through Confession and revealing your inmost thoughts, so someone who knows better can untwist your twisted mind. (my experience). What is it that attracts you to yoga?
What's this about a spiritual father in a child's pose? I'd pick the one who likes Scotch!
Herman's post is perfect.... it puts everything in it's right place.
As for coming from the east or from the west, what difference does it make? Both east and west are the products of man's ideas, deeply rooted in pride, just, different in expression, and purpose and direction. But, they are both perfectly described in the Bible: "There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end, it leads to death." (forgive me, for I never know what part of the Bible I find things in, so I can't supply a reference off the top of my head, but I know it's in there somewhere.) And St Peter describes it as well when he says that God has freed us from the empty way of life handed down to us by our forefathers.
In Acts, we read stories of people who converted, the first thing they did was build a huge fire, and burn all their books, their charms and their idols. Why did they do that? It's the best way to make a new start. Totally, empty yourself. How many times, I wish I could just burn myself and start over! Is there anything of true value that I should carry with me into my new life? If there is, and I just tossed it into the fire, is God not able to bring it to life and give it back to me? That's what Abraham believed, when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
How can we, who are so new in the faith, discern what's good and not good of our former lives? I think that's why you find parallels in teachings of the Desert fathers and the leading philosophers of their time. We know that our Desert Fathers, emptied themselves of everything to follow God. And God, returned to them, the things that were good and useful, from their own respective cultures.
The reason you'll find something good and true in every culture, in every philosophy, is because lies do not hold together very well. Satan has to infuse the lies with truth, so they appeal to man, whether intellectually, or spiritually. Hinduism is a wonderful substitute for what the heart of man longs for. Do you see how many people refuse to become Christians because of it? India is one of the largest nations (population wise) - with the least amount of Christians. That should serve as a warning to you, of the power of eastern teachings, to blind a soul. Buddhism and Islam would be the other greatest immitations that keep people from searching for Christ. In the west, protestantism does the same.
Of these ways of spiritual 'enlightenment' Christ said: "If the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness."
I'm not going to post a whole lot more to this thread. I never had any doubts about yoga - I just wanted to see if I could participate in a discussion, for the sake of discussing. I can't. I'm sorry.
Anything, not just yoga, that distracts me from orthodoxy, has to go. People have sacrificed a lot more than yoga to follow Christ. Can't serve both God and yoga. (Or whatever your passion is).
Well, I gotta go burn some more of my slothfulness. I hope you find what you're looking for.
PS: Had time to look up some references:
* Proverbs 14:12 -
There is a way that seems
right to a man,
But its end is
the way of death.
*1 Peter 1: 18-19
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Edited by Mary, 05 June 2008 - 06:30 PM.