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Orthodoxy and yoga/chakras


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#41 David Naess

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:20 PM

Howdy!

re: Herman...
When I talk about "pre-dates Orthodoxy" I am talking about writings, some of which come from as far back as 5000 BC in India i.e.; before Moses (between 1300 BC and 1200 BC.) Most comes from 1400 BC to 500 BC.

I will try this one last time...

The yoga that I am talking about has absolutely nothing to do with postures, forms or controlled breathing. The yoga that I am talking about (Jnana Yoga) is 100% in the mind. (What I previously called "yoga done in your head.")

I am not a bit surprised that nobody has ever heard of it... Most of the "yoga instructors" that I have come across here in the USA have never heard of it either!

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 13 June 2008 - 11:34 AM.
Removed line breaks


#42 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:33 PM

Howdy!

re: Herman...
When I talk about "pre-dates Orthodoxy" I am talking about writings,
some of which come from as far back as 5000 BC in India i.e.; before Moses.

I will try this one last time...
The yoga that I am talking about has absolutely nothing to do with postures,
forms or controlled breathing! The yoga that I am talking about (Jnana Yoga)
is 100% in the mind. (What I previously called "yoga done in your head.")


Since Moses merely put to tablet what was passed orally before, hard to say what came first. 5000 BC? I'd like to see the source for that information. At any rate, which one was deduced and which one was revealed? Which source is more trusted?

Based on what you say, it is interesting to think about (at least for this bear of little brain) the differences between this Jnana Yoga thing and Orthodoxy. If Jnana Yoga is all in your head, then it is only getting halfway there, since Orthodoxy stresses getting out of the head and into the heart...

Beyond that, I am 100% with Mike so far...

Herman the Pooh

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 05 June 2008 - 05:34 PM.
spelling correction


#43 David Naess

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:58 PM

This is pointless so I deleted the response.

#44 Anthony

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 07:11 PM

Not that it really matters, but I think I am right in saying that writing in India as we know it goes back to the mid-to-late first millenium BC, that is to say well after Moses and even David. There was of course the earlier Indus Valley civilization, but since their script is still undeciphered it doesn't (yet) have much to tell us about things like yoga.

Just a few cents' worth from your friendly neighbourhood pedant.

#45 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 07:30 PM

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.


I think that Mary has "hit the nail on the head" so to speak. There are things in the Eastern spiritual philosophies/religions that are very similar to Orthodoxy. So also there are things in Western Christianity that are very similar to Orthodoxy. The process of coming to Orthodoxy is the same for both though - leave behind everything that you think you understand and begin again from the beginning in the Orthodox Church. Perhaps you will find some old truths that you already knew, but the difference here is context. They are in a different place with a different surrounding and different emphasis and use. Those of us who came to Orthodoxy from the West had to leave behind our ideas of Christianity and salvation and sin and death and redemption and heaven and on and on. I presume then that those who come from the East will face a similar process about having to leave behind all the things you think you know and become again as a little child learning from your teacher, our Holy Mother Church and your spiritual father about the spiritual world, about the exercises and practices that are beneficial and how it all works together. It doesn't matter where we came to Orthodoxy from - we all have to leave our "baggage" at the door, forget all that we think we know and humble ourselves to embrace the pure instruction and direction of our Holy Mother Church.

Fr David Moser

#46 David Naess

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 07:39 PM

Ahhh...

Therein lies the rub.

The great value of the Eastern way is that it has taught me that I know absolutely nothing!

Having learned that, how can I say that the discipline that gave me such an insight is without value?

Dave

#47 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 08:46 PM

Having learned that, how can I say that the discipline that gave me such an insight is without value?


Didn't say it had no value, just that what was of value was in the wrong context. You need to build the proper context from the ground up. I am remodeling my house at the moment so building analogies come easily. If I use all the best quality materials, but use them in an improper manner, then my house will not be even close to a home that uses exactly the same materials, but used as they were intended to be used. If I were to reuse the good, but improperly installed, materials, I would need to remove the context (tear down the framing, e.g.) and rebuild the proper framing and reinstall them in the proper way.

Fr David Moser

#48 David Naess

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:44 AM

Guess I need to call in my Spiritual Father to do an architectural analysis then, eh?

He's probably just letting me get comfortable in my new home before breaking the news to me that I have to reinforce the foundation and replacethe rafters.

Dave

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 13 June 2008 - 11:35 AM.
Removed line breaks


#49 Mary

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:09 PM

Guess I need to call in my Spiritual Father to do
an architectural analysis then, eh?

He's probably just letting me get comfortable in
my new home before breaking the news to me
that I have to reinforce the foundation and replace
the rafters.

Dave



Dear Dave,

I hit a moment of crisis every once in a while, sometimes more frequently than others, and I feel like my world has just come apart. But I've been told, that it's not my world that's coming apart, but my erroneous, preconceived notions that are coming apart. It used to throw me into a panic, and it would take me longer to recover from the panic than from the actual demolition, but I'm learning, that God hasn't lost control, even though I have, and recovery is oh, so sweet. :)

In Christ,
Mary.

#50 David Naess

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:11 AM

Howdy Mary!

Don't misunderstand me...

It took me a decade to come to the realization that "I don't know squat!"

I believe that this is the best thing that could have happened. As a dyed in the wool Lutheran I would have never been able to make the switch...

There are just too many things that I would have had to UNLEARN before I would even be able to imagine the possibility of becoming Orthodox.

At this point I have unlearned just about everything and can start from scratch.

Dave

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 13 June 2008 - 11:35 AM.
Removed line breaks


#51 Kalomoira

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 12:53 PM

I don't believe the messages concerning Yoga were off track at all.

The basic question was whether one can separate the physical side of Yoga from the spiritual side.

I posted a message on the Martial Arts thread. I do not believe that someone can do the Yoga exercises (or practise the various martial arts disciplines) without, at some point venturing into the spiritual side of these practices. The first step is usually meditation.

A comparison of Eastern meditation and the Jesus Prayer will reveal vital differences. Anyone interested can find all the information they want.



Dear Effie

Any hint where to start finding the information (and practice!!!) I want?

Thx 4 any suggestion. Kalomoira

#52 Rick H.

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 01:40 PM

As our conversation about yoga seems to be moving beyond mere postures and breathing techniques this past week and to more of a dimension which speaks to such things as motivation and spirituality/enlightenment . . . this is a very interesting exchange, to me, between Fr. David and Dave above.

By way of introduction, I am considering what the difference really *is* between what Fr. David is saying and what Dave is saying, and how this really applies to the brand new Orthodox babes as well as those who are not brand new babes.

I have seen pictures of Fr. David on the internet running a radial arm saw outside on a jobsite--wearing bibs if I remember correctly--he is looking very proficient/diligent as a workman rightly dividing the wood. I appreciate his comments about context, and his analogy of a building and building materials. I think this is 100% correct, and helps me to understand better what father has meant as he has repeated for years the need to:


. . . leave behind everything that you think you understand and begin again from the beginning in the Orthodox Church.


And, I can appreciate what Dave has shared as well about his former experience with 'unlearning.' On a personal note, I have been through a RYT program at a yoga school whose motto is that they are the school for unlearning . . .


"The School for Unlearning, Non-doing, and Absolute being"


And, knowing there has been somewhat of an allowance recently in this thread for the postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama), found in yoga, as a means for Christian spiritual development for some . . . I wonder how far off Fr. David and Dave really are as we consider what they are both saying in terms of these concepts. While remembering what Fr. David has well said about buildings, building materials, and installation, as well as what father has said about baggage . . . we can say here with certainty, as father has, that 'context is King.'

But, more to the point, I am wondering if this baggage that we are to lay down is not a once and for all type of thing/methodology . . . whereby this concept, this approach of yielding in humility to a place of unknowing is to never not be applied. So, in this sense, it really doesn't matter where one has come from, it really doesn't matter which path one has trod on his/her way to Orthodoxy. However, possibly, what Dave is saying is that the concept is the same, and what has brought him to the door of Orthodoxy is not something to be abandon at this time (or ever?). And, to continue with this illustration, Dave suspects that his spiritual father has struck a passive pose with him at the present, or as Dave wrote:


He's probably just letting me get comfortable in
my new home before breaking the news to me
that I have to reinforce the foundation and replace
the rafters.


So if the laying down, or casting aside, of our baggage is not a once for all type of thing, and as we may see above with Dave's path to and through the door of Orthodoxy, I wonder how dogmatic we can be about a feeling that this unlearning, unknowing, etc. must be left behind with the other things we think we understand? What think ye discussion group? I wonder if it is possible that as it relates to this very area of discussion in this thread that what is baggage for one is not baggage for another. Or, to look at this another way, for the one who shows up at the door of Orthodoxy as a little child (who only knows to learn from his/her teachers) is there anything to 'do' but welcome him/her, exchange a mutual embrace, and express compassion for this weary little traveler as he/she is walking through the door with his/her new teachers? Maybe it depends on the condition of such a one and while maybe not where he/she came from, but possibly an allowance for how far he/she has traveled?

I don't know. You tell me.


In Christ,
Rick

Edited by Rick H., 07 June 2008 - 01:44 PM.
changing who's to whose--before Nina gets back and sees this! :)


#53 Mary

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 03:58 PM

Dear Rick,

What on earth are you saying? Go drink some coffee and come back with a clear head! Or maybe you need something stronger, like Scotch. =)

About baggage... not a once for all type of laying down? How should we know?

All our paths are different. For a Lutheran or for anyone, to become Orthodox, is impossible. I had to break free of my Eastern roots, in order to find my way to orthodoxy. If I'd remained in it, my obligation to family and to those who have taught me all my life, would've created a guilt so great, that I'd never have done anything contrary to their wishes and teachings. As it is, I was a rebel. And that helped me.

The things that point us to Christ, are like road signs. Our passions, our personalities, our likes and dislikes dictate what paths we choose. Christ meets us where ever we are, always putting something in our path, to direct us back to him. He never quits doing that. Some of us listen and start following those arrows to Him. Bottom line - He's the one who's important here, not the thing that pointed us to him.

So when we find Him, do we sit at the gate marveling at the wonderful map in our hands and thrilled with all the rocks and flowers we gathered on the way, or do we open the door and go in? What good is your Map once you've found the Treasure you seek? Are the things you gathered on your journey, more precious than the One you find at the end of your journey?

Perhaps the things we gather on the way are our gifts for the King. And the way I've seen it happen, when we take a gift to someone, we give them the whole thing, wrapper and all, and we let them unwrap it, and we don't ask for it back once they've seen it. Of course, gift-giving in the East, is twisted. You cannot get rid of something that's of no use or horrendously gaudy, because you'll offend the person who gave it to you... a part of the East that I left behind. (which means, if you give me something I don't like, I'll toss it. ;))

I don't think Christ is Eastern in that sense either. Of all the things that we give to Him, he weeds through it and only keeps that which is truly valuable. I think, whatever we're attached to, whether it's our knowledge, or our family/friends, or our possessions, it takes away that much of ourselves and keeps us from giving all of ourselves to Christ. Knowing that we know nothing, is also a kind of knowledge. Truth is, we can't really know what we know and we don't know.

Well, Rick, I haven't managed to stay uninvolved in this discussion. You win. :P

In Christ,
Mary.

PS - it's actually a good idea to burn the Map that led you to Christ, because if it falls into someone else's hands, it may mislead them! I'd never advice all Indians to be rebellious first and learn to love the kinds of books that I loved! Nor could they, even if they tried...

#54 Rick H.

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 06:40 PM


Well, Rick, I haven't managed to stay uninvolved in this discussion. You win. :P



Dear Mary,

It's good to see you back. As shared above, I appreciate your input here very much. It is a rainy sleepy Saturday here in Ohio today. I did make a latte as you have suggested, but the chocolate and sweet carmel and vanilla flavors seem to have spiked my blood sugar and then left me ready for a Sat. afternoon nap. Possibly, I should have just had the coffee less the sugary parts. I've never tasted scotch before. Maybe it tastes like butterscotch, or maybe not as good as that.

Your post was thought provoking to me, and I really should probably wait till I'm more awake to respond . . . but, you made me think when you spoke about the pointers, the arrows, and the gifts along the way in our journey.

And, granted, I may be confused about this (and with the above disclaimer firmly in place); however, I had looked at these gifts that He gives us along the way as gifts for us, gifts to us. As you say different paths and different gifts, but gifts all the same. And, when you introduce attachment/detachment into this consideration it really starts to blow my mind as we may consider this aspect. But, does any of this make any sense Mary? Things that have become a part of my personal spiritual practice in the past (viz. gifts I feel are from Him), and things that seem to become part of my personal spiritual practice in the present these days, as the journey continues . . . I still feel are gifts from Him to me, and these are in fact gifts that I hold dear and am very grateful for in the 'present.' In a way this gets back to my very veiled reference [in my last post]to 'doing' as opposed to 'being.' To my way of thinking it is just as you have well said about different paths, and again we see the value of Fr. Jack Sparks teaching I keep referencing on monachos, which can be summed up as 'each as is appropriate for oneself.'

But, as I lay myself down for a nap now, I also lay myself open for correction in all of this.

Thanks again.

In Christ,
Rick

PS I just remembered that Martin Buber does a word play on presents/gifts and presence in his classic work that speaks exactly to where we are at here. Mabey, when I wake up I will give everyone a big treat to more of Buber's work . . . or considering the way the last try at that went over like a Led Zepplin and Owen's last memo to me to KISS I better not :rolleyes: :)

#55 Olga

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 09:26 PM

I've never tasted scotch before.


Rick, in your part of the world, it's known as whiskey. :)

#56 Father David Moser

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 11:10 PM

Rick, in your part of the world, it's known as whiskey. :)


Actually scotch is a particular type of whiskey. A real scotch drinker would not just drink any old whiskey, but would settle only for scotch whiskey. Indeed there are sub-divisions of scotch as well - you can go from the very smokey/peaty types to the clean smooth types.

Fr David Moser

#57 David Naess

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:21 AM

re: Rick's - "As our conversation about yoga seems to be moving beyond mere postures and breathing techniques..."

That is the big problem that I have when attempting to discuss yoga... Postures and breathing techniques are only associated with Raja Yoga, not with any of the other disciplines. I have been in the "other" category
for more than a decade.

Better differentiate between "yoga" and "WESTERN yoga."

In my opinion "western yoga" is not yoga. It is more like "calesthenics with an eastern twist"! Spiritual enlightenment/illumination is the whole objective of yoga.

Dave

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 13 June 2008 - 11:36 AM.
Removed line breaks


#58 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:43 AM

Actually scotch is a particular type of whiskey. A real scotch drinker would not just drink any old whiskey, but would settle only for scotch whiskey. Indeed there are sub-divisions of scotch as well - you can go from the very smokey/peaty types to the clean smooth types.

Fr David Moser


Father I have a bottle or two of Glenfiddich Special Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whiskey that nobody drinks. In fact I've got a cabinet full of unopened bottles of various types of alcohol given to me over the years. My company used to give me a large complimentary basket full of bottles at Christmas each year as a gift. If a bottle is sealed nothing happens to the contents, I think, although I once read that someone was saving a bottle of champagne for a special occasion, and when he finally got around to opening it, it was flat!!


Effie

#59 Deanna Leonti

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 04:49 AM

Many years ago my spiritual father who before becoming an Orthodox monastic had practiced yoga, told me that the chakras represented real energy centers within the human being. One of these he felt is referred to in the instruction we often receive about not letting the concentration lower during the Jesus Prayer.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


hi....
I kind of have trouble with mixing "new age/yoga" type of techniques to transcend one's Christian spiritually.
why?

Rāja Yoga ("royal yoga", "royal union", also known as Classical Yoga or simply Yoga) is one of the six orthodox (astika) schools of Hindu philosophy, outlined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. Raja yoga is concerned principally with the cultivation of the mind using meditation (dhyana) to further one's acquaintance with reality and finally achieve liberation.
The term Rāja Yoga is a retronym, introduced in the 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika to distinguish the school based on the Yoga Sutras from the new current of Hatha Yoga. The term was later used to describe a meditation practice of the Brahma Kumaris involving the focus of one's mind and surrender to a channelled entity they believe to be the Supreme Soul?.
Practices that serve to maintain for the individual the ability to access this state may be considered Raja Yoga practices. Thus Raja Yoga encompasses and differentiates itself from other forms of Yoga by encouraging the mind to avoid the sort of absorption in obsessional practice (including other traditional yogic practices) that can create false mental objects.

In this sense Raja Yoga is referred to as the "king among yogas": all yogic practices are seen as potential tools for obtaining the seedless state, itself considered to be the starting point in the quest to cleanse Karma and obtain Moksha or Nirvana. Historically, schools of yoga that label themselves "Raja" offer students a mix of yogic practices and (hopefully or ideally) this philosophical viewpoint?.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raja_Yoga



I thought that these forms of techniques fall into the category that goes against what the 3rd. Commandment.

2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.41

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."47
www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c1a1.htm#III


I do not know where to find these things in the Orthodox so I hope you don't mind a posting from the Catechism.

I have been told from a Chiropractic doctor that Yoga is the best form of stretching exercise, and yes, I have tried it, but I can do with out the "new age mystical" type of meditation that goes along with it.
:)

Deanna

#60 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:36 AM

We are all aware of the need for exactitude of terminology in matters concerning spirit, and seeing the errors which have crept into this thread very recently, I feel compelled to provide a correcting post.

There is whisky and there is whiskey, and these are not the same thing. Whisky is Scotch, the spirit made in Scotland. The word 'whisky' comes from Scots Gaelic, 'uisge-beatha', meaning 'water of life'. Whiskey is the spirit made in Ireland. The word 'whiskey' comes from the Irish, 'uisce beatha' and also means 'water of life'. Accordingly, the expression 'Scotch whiskey' is meaningless (forgive me, Father David and Effie). There is indeed an immense variety of whisky but the chief distinction is between blended whisky and single malt whisky. The variety of aroma and taste is to be found in single malts which vary from light and delicate Speysides to pungent, peaty and smokey malts such as those from the island of Islay. There is a lesser range of whiskey but it also may be blended or single malt.

It is essential, of course, that our knowledge of such things is experiential and not theoretical, and whilst I have undertaken a certain amount of empirical research in these matters, I cannot claim that this has been as extensive as Rick implied.

Edited by Andreas Moran, 08 June 2008 - 08:48 AM.





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