Monday, August 16, 2010

Inherent Good?

I was reading 'Yoga Journal' the other day which is a monthly yoga magazine my mom gets delivered to our house. She doesn't do yoga, at all, but she got some deal where she had to order a bunch of magazines, so she gets it for me pretty much. I really like it because it has a lot of good articles every month which are good at making it clear how much yoga can affect you in so many aspects of life. And it always has a section where a full sequence of postures is laid out with clear pictures and descriptions of how to carry out each pose. I feel like I learn many new things each month. Of course, I am a beginner so I have a lot to learn.
Another feature is the monthly interview. It's just a short interview on the back page, usually with someone who teaches yoga somewhere in the United States. This month it was with some guy named John Friend. Apparently he developed this type of yoga called Anusara Yoga. According to his website, Anusara Yoga is "a life affirming Tantric philosophy of inherent goodness" combined with Universal Principles of Alignment. Basically, there is good in everything and everyone and all differences are accepted. I tried to add the link to his website at the bottom of this post in case anyone wants to learn more about this type of yoga practice (sorry if it's not right, I'm not so great at that type of thing, yet). It seems like a good place for beginners because it's non-judgmental and he works mostly with alignment and it seems more practical rather than super spiritual. Not to say that the spiritual aspects of yoga aren't as important, they are. I just think that some people are turned off by the religious/spiritual aspects of yoga. They think they have to change their religion to practice; this of course is not true, but I can understand where the misconception comes from.
Anyhow, clearly this guy, John Friend, believes in the inherent goodness of all things on earth and beyond. So in this interview they ask him about his views regarding all the evil shit that happens on this planet. If everything is inherently good, what gives?

YJ: With your positivity, how do you reconcile the problems of suffering and evil in the world?

John Friend: "Everything in it's essence is benevolent, good, and auspicious. But we do actions that aren't skillful. Everyone wants to be happy, but we misbehave or misspeak and cause pain for ourselves and for others. There's karma and interconnectedness, cause and effect, reasons for everything. Sometimes things seem random and unfair. The interweavings of the tapestry of destiny and karma are beyond my view. Some mysteries we don't have to figure out. We just flow with them and respond in the best ways to connect with our spiritual essence."

So, even though he's a little whoopdy di doopty or whatever, he does have a point. I think everyone, even those who seem like they don't, have the intention of doing something good. Whether it's good for just themselves, or good for the whole, is another matter completely. But everyone DOES want to be happy. And I believe we all are connected. Because everything is just energy in different forms. So we are everything because everything is energy, right? And us as individuals are too small to see the greater picture. We can't see the whole web of human and earth energy from above. If we could, if we could see the bigger picture, I think it wouldn't seem so random and mean. I think there would be some patterns and understanding. And there is a lot to be said for the actions of humans. We often DO misspeak, or misbehave, even with the best of intentions. And that does cause pain. So to eradicate pain, as much as possible, we just need to become more aware of our actions. Right?

Sorry if this whole post is a little whoopdy di doopty. But I think it is a question we all ask ourselves all the time: Why do bad, evil things happen if there is a God? And I think people like this John Friend begin to answer that question for us. Of course, it will never definitively be answered in our lifetime. Maybe not even once we die. But we can try to understand as much as possible.


Jeannie said...

I think the words "good" and "evil" are heavily weighted in our culture. And as you pointed out, "good" is in the eye of the beholder. This is a topic way too deep to even touch on in a comment. Humanity is at a funny place right now. We have so much information at our disposal to know more about each other and the planet - the short and long term effects of our decisions and yet so often we make choices that serve the few over the many and the now rather than the later. And there are too many people who refuse to think about anyone but themselves and those close to them.

Nellie said...

Jeannie - you're so right in that it is a huge issue, too large to fully address in a comment. But you did a pretty good job of summing it. The world sure is at a funny place right now. I think people are so disconnected from one another, and families seem to shatter so easily, it's hard to learn basic ethics when you don't have good role models. I see that in my own family to some degree. It's sad and worrisome.

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