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Best of Yoga Philosophy

Best of Yoga Philosophy–Past Two Weeks

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Best of Yoga Philosophy
A Virtual Magazine & Forum

The  very best Yoga philosophy articles from all over the Web.

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Bob W. Editor

*****

My Dinner with Vyasa: The Legendary Author of the Bhagavad Gita Comes Out of Hiding to Answer All Our Questions (After 2300 Years) ~ Bob Weisenberg ~ “Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks. What’s the biggest misconception about the Bhagavad Gita you’d like to clear up for our readers?”

*****

Reconnecting with Real Yoga: Teaching in Cook County Jail ~ Carol Horton ~ “I hope that more yoga practitioners will be inspired to get real, cut through the crap, and practice in ways that really do open your heart and mind…”

*****

Ramesh Bjonnes

Who Invented Yoga? ~ Ramesh Bjonnes ~ “Unlike what some contemporary yoga writers claim, there is no need to resort to unsubstantiated mythology or hearsay to prove that yoga is a lot older than 100 years…”

*****

Photo: The Beatles' Guru in an odd but fascinating 1968 film, in which we see the Maharishi strolling the shore of the spectacular Lake Louise, holding a rose in his hand, and invoking the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. http://theuncarvedblog.com/2013/09/24/watch-the-1968-film-of-maharishi-at-lake-louise/

The Beatles’ Guru in an odd but fascinating 1968 film, in which we see the Maharishi strolling the shore of the spectacular Lake Louise, holding a rose in his hand, and invoking the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

*****

Dharma in the Christian West – Robert A. Jonas – The Interfaith Observer ~ “In fact, there is a non-dual tradition in Christianity, but most Christians, especially Protestants, know nothing about it…”

*****

Bill-Mahony-41

contemplation & devotion: an interview with bill mahony ~ Roseanne Harvey ~ “While we live in a world that could not have been imagined in earlier eras, in some important ways the sages, philosophers and teachers of yoga in distant times faced the same challenges we do. Like us, for example, they sought to understand what it means to live a life touched by joy and illumined by compassion, understanding, and commitment, even in a world that can bring disappointment and sorrow…”

*****

Gurus, Seekers, and Being Accountable - Phil Goldberg (Author of

Gurus, Seekers, and Being Accountable – Phil Goldberg (Author of “American Veda”) ~ “We learned a lot about this model of spiritual development in the 1970s, when baby boomers flocked to the gurus who suddenly became prominent on the heels of the Beatles’ sojourn in India…”

*****

The Touch & Taste of Death ~ David Garrigues ~

The Touch & Taste of Death ~ David Garrigues ~ ” I dropped grudges, animosities, everything petty and irrelevant in my mind; nearly everything that was worrying me, all the fearful thoughts that were occupying my attention just moments before, vanished with the speed of a lightning strike…”

*****

Bob Profile PhotoBob Weisenberg is Editor of Best of Yoga Philosophy and former Yoga Editor & Assoc. Publisher of elephant journal. He is the author of Yoga Demystified, Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell, and Leadership Is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology. as well as Co-editor of Yoga in America and a contributor to The Poetry of Yoga. Contact Bob at facebook, Twitter, or e-mail.

 

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Six Short Poems About Joy.

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?
How did it make you feel?
Did it fill you with wonder and awe?
Did it startle you out of your ego?

 Did you feel the infinite grandeur
And timelessness Of the universe?
Did it make you feel small
Yet in a strange but unmistakable way
Infinitely large, too
As infinite as the universe itself?

 Spiritual enlightenment
Is when we suddenly realize
That we’re staring at the wonder
Of the Grand Canyon
Each and every moment
Of each and every day.

~

Your Next Masterpiece

Monet haystack

What is it like to see the world
Through the eyes of a famous painter?
Suppose you are Monet or Van Gogh
Or Rembrandt or Picasso.

For the next fifteen minutes
Look at every scene passing in front of your eyes
As the frame for your next masterpiece.
Can you see twenty-five different paintings
In the same simple country haystack?

Look at the rich array of details that emerge
From scenes you didn’t even notice before.
How vivid do the colors become
Or even the countless colorless subtle shades of grey
When you need to match them to your palette?

How infinitely fascinating is any scene
When you need to interpret
Every line and shape and texture and nuance
With your charcoal or brush?

How convincingly does this reflect
The startling infinite fascinating wonder
Of the workaday universe itself?

~

Silence is the Roar of the Universe

Silence is the Roar of the Universe.
Emptiness is the Fullness of the Grand Canyon.
Nothingness is Always Abundance.
Boredom is Always an Invitation to Amazement.
Silence is the Roar of the Universe.

~

Soulmates

pebble_shingle_sandstone_225610_l

Science and Yoga
Are soulmates.
Both find
Infinite wonder
Awesome mystery
And unanswerable questions
Even in the simplest things
We see all around us.

 How do the
Molecules and atoms
Protons, electrons, and quarks
Of a rock
Know how to be
A rock?

 Science and Yoga
Both inflame our awareness
As much by marveling
At what we don’t know
As what we do.

~

Like Waves or Ocean?

It’s true.
We are like waves in the ocean.
We are more truly the ocean
than the wave.

But what if there were a wave
that lasted 70 years,
and was conscious
and could interact with other waves
and could sing and dance
and create new waves
before ultimately merging back
into the infinite ocean?

We would be in awe of those waves.
We would flock to see those waves.
We would rejoice in their very existence
and our ability to perceive them
until they eventually returned
to their true eternal ocean selves.

~

Through the Window

In my living room
While lying on my back
On the couch,

I can gaze through the window
Past the roof of the house,
Past the bright green leaves
Of the lofty trees
Gently swaying in the breeze,
Past the endlessly changing forms
Of the brilliant white clouds
Slowly drifting by.

I can gaze through the window
Into the unfathomable infinity
Of the wondrous deep blue sky.

 This is my favorite place
To read the Bhagavad Gita
And the Upanishads.

~

See also:

Yoga Demystified: The Six Big Ideas.

Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations.

(All photos Wikipedia Commons, Public Domain.)

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How Yoga Has Transformed American Spirituality: An Interview with Phil Goldberg, “American Veda”.

I am pleased to welcome special guest Philip Goldberg to Elephant Journal. Phil is the author of the startling new book American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West.

Phil Goldberg is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including “Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path” and “The Intuitive Edge.” Based in Los Angeles, he is an ordained interfaith minister, a public speaker and seminar leader, and the founder of Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates. He is director of outreach for SpiritualCitizens.net and blogs regularly on religion for the Huffington Post. Visit philipgoldberg.com or americanveda.com for more information.

(See also my review of American Veda: True or False?: Physical Yoga Has Had a Far Bigger Impact on America than Yoga Spirituality.)

Bob: Why did you decide to write American Veda?

Phil: Because I think it chronicles one of the most important trends in American history—certainly in American spiritual history. In a sense I started researching the book over forty years ago, when my own life was transformed by Vedantic ideas [Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads] and yogic practices. I was not the only one at that time, of course, but I gradually came to see that it was more than a counterculture phenomenon.

Over time, as the teachings seeped into the fabric of American society, not only through the Indian gurus but also through Western transmitters—artists, scholars, psychotherapists, doctors, etc.—I saw that the assimilation was more subtle and more pervasive than most of us realize. As both a writer and a proponent, I wanted to tell the story.

So I proposed a book in the mid-80s. I couldn’t interest a publisher. Twenty years later, the phenomenon had become so much more visible that an editor at Doubleday had the same idea, and our paths crossed at the right time.

Bob: What are the most important things you’d like the Yoga world to learn from American Veda they don’t know already?

Phil: It’s been very satisfying to hear from both new practitioners and long-time teachers that they learned something new from the book. It gives them a full picture of what brought us to this moment of time and how the current Yoga scene fits in the social and historical context of America. It goes back further and penetrates more deeply than most people realize.

I hope that teachers and practitioners, especially the young ones, also come away with greater reverence for the full scope of the tradition and resolve to protect and preserve its integrity, so it does not get reduced to a form of physical fitness or a therapeutic modality. Those are wonderful in and of themselves, but the body of spiritual teachings that underlay the physical practices are not only precious but vital for the ongoing evolution of our troubled species. India has given us a great gift, and we should make sure we don’t squander it.

Bob: What are the biggest difficulties you had in writing the book, and how did you overcome them?

Phil: In a nutshell, time and space. The book took almost two years longer to complete than I anticipated, and it could easily have been a thousand pages in length. There were difficult choices along the way, since a lot of juicy details had to be left out and worthy teachers and lineages could not be given the space they deserve.

As with most books, organizational structure presented challenges along the way too. In the end, it worked best to keep it somewhat chronological, but not rigidly so, in order to keep it flowing and be able to show all the streams and tributaries through which the teachings filtered into the culture.

Bob: What is most surprising experience you had in writing American Veda?

Phil: I thought I knew a lot going in, but it was amazing how much I discovered on a regular basis—and how much I still learn. I have a file of information to post on americanveda.com, and I seem to add to it every day.

One surprising thing was discovering gurus and yoga masters who spent time in the U.S. whom I somehow never heard of. They had small followings, and in some cases ashrams and centers, in places I would never have suspected, and some of their followers went on to have a significant impact in the transmission of Vedantic ideas and yogic practices.

Bob: How did you come to choose the title, and what were some of the other possibilities you considered?

Phil: I’d like to take credit for the title, but it was my editor’s idea from the start. I tried to think of alternatives, just in case there was a better choice, but everything I came up with was either too boring or too cute. One candidate was “The Full Lotus.”

Bob: Why did you choose to use the word “Veda” in the title, whereas you avoid that term in the text itself in favor of “Vedanta” or “Vedanta Yoga”? Wasn’t Vedanta Yoga in fact somewhat of a rebellion against the elaborate, ritualistic, priest-driven, superstitious organized religion of the Vedas?

Phil: You’re right of course, but we weren’t thinking of it in a literal or historical way, but rather “Veda” as “knowledge” and as a pithy way of evoking an ancient, complex tradition that was the fountainhead of all the wisdom that flowed out of India. In short, like many titles it’s meant to evoke, or suggest, or get attention.

Bob: What’s the most interesting question I should be asking that I haven’t thought of yet?

Phil: In my first few public appearances for the book, I was asked to summarize the influence of the Vedic tradition on America. So I now build it into my presentations. Here’s my list:

India gave people who are indifferent to, uncomfortable with, or hostile to conventional Western religion a way to be authentically spiritual. “Spiritual but not religious” would be an empty phrase without the framework and methodologies we imported from the East.

It changed the way we understand consciousness, the mind, the mind-body relationship and the connection between individual awareness and the larger whole.

It added higher levels of development to our understanding of human potential.

It changed the way we see ourselves and human nature. As one scholar put it, from original sin to original bliss.

It placed direct experience of the divine in the forefront of spirituality, as opposed to belief.

It stimulated a revival of Western mystical practices.

It gave us a vision of Oneness and a framework for a healthy, unity-in-diversity pluralism, with “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.”

Bob: Phil, thanks for joining us here. Your book is amazing, and I again urge everyone to read it.

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True or False? Physical Yoga Has Influenced America More than Spiritual Yoga.

True or False? Physical Yoga Has Influenced America More than Spiritual Yoga.

Answer: False! The reverse is true. Spiritual Yoga has had a far bigger impact on America than the physical poses most people think of as Yoga.

You’ll almost certainly agree after reading the startling new book American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West by Philip Goldberg

(See accompanying interview with Phil Goldberg.)

The spirituality of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, the original texts of Yoga, has found its way into the very core of spiritual life in America, according to Goldberg, even though this is often masked by the form it has taken, and sometimes through outright repression of historical facts.

American Veda is an absolute must-read for anyone serious about Yoga. It is one of the most important books I’ve personally ever read about Yoga, or anything else, for that matter. It is surprising, entertaining, and highly readable throughout, and it will cause you to forever think differently about the impact of Yoga in America.

This book is so momentous, that at first I had trouble imagining how I could adequately describe it’s message and scope in a “review”. Then I suddenly realized that this would be the easiest review I’ve ever written. Here it is:

The following is just a partial list, just to give you an idea, of the famous people who, as documented in American Veda, have been profoundly influenced, not just a little bit influenced, but profoundly and pivotally influenced, by the Yoga of the original ancient Yoga texts, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, often referred to as “Vedanta Yoga” (Most are Americans, but I also included others who heavily influenced Americans.):

Authors

Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Walt Whitman Aldous Huxley

Samuel Taylor Coleridge William Wordsworth William Blake Emily Dickinson

Robert Frost Jack Kerouac Allen Ginsberg Alan Watts Gotham Chopra

Tim Gallwey (Inner Game of Tennis) Herman Hesse Oliver Wendell Holmes

Somerset Maugham J. D. Salinger Christopher Isherwood Timothy Leary

Huston Smith T.S. Eliot William Butler Yeats

Psychologists

William James Carl Jung Abraham Maslow Stanislav Grof Daniel Goleman

New Spirituality/Self-help

Eckhart Tolle Deepak Chopra Michael Beckwith (Agape) Ken Wilber

Joseph Cambell Madame Blavatsky (Theosophical Society) Wayne Dyer

Marianne Williamson Norman Vincent Peale Tony Robbins

John Gray Joan Borysenko Andrew Harvey

Musicians & Entertainers

The Beatles (especially George Harrison) Philip Glass Judy Collins

Russell Simmons Elvis Presley John Coltrane Alice Coltrane Donovan

Mick Jagger Marianne Faithful Mia Farrow Mike Love

Paul Horn Madonna John McGlaughlin

Yehudi Menuhin Van Morrison David Lynch Shirley McClaine

Jerry Seinfeld And many others

Religious Figures

Mary Baker Eddy (founder Christian Science) Ernest Holmes (Religious Science)

Thomas Keating Thomas Merton Father Bede Griffiths Rabbi David Gelberman

The “New Thought” Movement (source of many modern congregations)

Politicians/Activists

John Adams Martin Luther King (through Mahatma Gandhi) Booker T. Washington

Philosophers

Arthur Schoepenhauer Friedrich Hegel Alfred North Whitehead

Scientists

David Bohm (quantum physicist) Rupert Sheldrake (biologist) Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics)

J. Robert Oppenheimer Erwin Shroedinger (physicist, close friend of Einstein)

Nikola Tesla (legendary inventor) John Hagelin Amrit Goswami

Health and Wellness

Andrew Weil Dean Ornish Mehmet “Dr.” Oz. Herbert Benson (The Relaxation Response)

See also: How Yoga Has Transformed American Spirtuality: An Interview with Phil Goldberg, Author of “American Veda”, and then read the book!

Phil Goldberg is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including “Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path” and “The Intuitive Edge.” Based in Los Angeles, he is an ordained interfaith minister, a public speaker and seminar leader, and the founder of Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates. He is director of outreach for SpiritualCitizens.net and blogs regularly on religion for the Huffington Post. Visit philipgoldberg.com or americanveda.com for more information.

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What Is It That Brings Us Happiness?

SEEKER

What is it that brings us happiness?
I am deeply troubled by this in my life.
I seek guidance from your superior years
And knowledge of the ancient Yoga texts.

SAGE

All you desire to learn about happiness
Is to be found in the ancient scriptures.

Study the Bhagavad Gita,
the Yoga Sutra,
and the Upanishads
Until they are as close to your heart as your heart itself.
Then you will know how to be truly happy.

SEEKER

I will. But can you not tell me yourself
Right here, right now, what I am to learn?

SAGE

From the Bhagavad Gita
You will learn to live the life you are destined to live
Always full of love in your heart,
To live with great purpose and to act decisively
But with no ego attachment to the results.

From the Yoga Sutra
You will learn that the secret of happiness
Is strong self-discipline of the body and the mind
And the ability to penetrate deeply
Into the true nature of reality.

From the Upanishads
You will learn that you are already supremely happy
Because you are already perfect and divine.
You are already the absolute wonder of the universe.

SEEKER

These are indeed overwhelming truths.
I will study the Gita, the Sutra, and the Upanishads.
But what can I do right now
To begin to experience these truths?

SAGE

Focus gently on the present moment
Without judgment or ego.

Focusing on the present moment
Will allow you to act decisively with love
Without your ego being attached to the results
As prescribed in the Bhagavad Gita.

Concentrating on the present moment
Is the essence of self-discipline and meditation
As prescribed in the Yoga Sutra.

By focusing on the present moment
You will start to see
That every moment is divine and precious
And that you are already the very life force of the universe
As taught in the Upanishads.

SEEKER

My mind spins. I ache for more.
I will approach these profound and ancient texts
With an open heart
And a fervent desire to drink of their wisdom.

~

See also
Yoga Demystified: The Six Big Ideas

and
Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell

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Uncategorized

Whenever Things Get Difficult or Complicated, I Always Return to This.

SEEKER

What is it that brings us happiness?
I am deeply troubled by this in my life.
I seek guidance from your superior years
And knowledge of the ancient Yoga texts.

SAGE

All you desire to learn about happiness
Is to be found in the ancient scriptures.

Study the Bhagavad Gita,
the Yoga Sutra,
and the Upanishads
Until they are as close to your heart as your heart itself.
Then you will know how to be truly happy.

SEEKER

I will.  But can you not tell me yourself
Right here, right now, what I am to learn?

SAGE

From the Bhagavad Gita
You will learn to live the life you are destined to live
Always full of love in your heart,
To live with great purpose and to act decisively
But with no ego attachment to the results.

From the Yoga Sutra
You will learn that the secret of happiness
Is strong self-discipline of the body and the mind
And the ability to travel deeply
Into the true nature of reality.

From the Upanishads
You will learn that you are already supremely happy
Because you are already perfect and divine.
You are already the absolute wonder of the universe.

SEEKER

These are indeed overwhelming truths.
I will study the Gita, the Sutra, and the Upanishads.
But what can I do right now
To begin to experience these truths?

SAGE

Focus gently on the present moment
Without judgment or ego.

Focusing on the present moment
Will allow you to act decisively with love
Without your ego being attached to the results
As prescribed in the Bhagavad Gita.

Concentrating on the present moment
Is the essence of self-discipline and meditation
As prescribed in the Yoga Sutra.

By focusing on the present moment
You will start to see
That every moment is divine and precious
And that you are already the very life force of the universe
As taught in the Upanishads.

SEEKER

My mind spins.  I ache for more.
I will approach these profound and ancient texts
With an open heart
And a fervent desire to drink of their wisdom.

~

 See also
Yoga Demystified: The Six Big Ideas

and
Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell

Categories
Uncategorized

How Yoga Has Transformed American Spirituality: An Interview with Phil Goldberg, “American Veda”.

I am pleased to welcome special guest Philip Goldberg to Elephant Journal.  Phil is the author of the startling new book  American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

Phil Goldberg is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including “Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path” and “The Intuitive Edge.” Based in Los Angeles, he is an ordained interfaith minister, a public speaker and seminar leader, and the founder of Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates. He is director of outreach for SpiritualCitizens.net and blogs regularly on religion for the Huffington Post. Visit philipgoldberg.com or americanveda.com for more information.

(See also my review of  American Veda: True or False?: Physical Yoga Has Had a Far Bigger Impact on America than Yoga Spirituality.)

Bob: Why did you decide to write American Veda?

Phil: Because I think it chronicles one of the most important trends in American history—certainly in American spiritual history.  In a sense I started researching the book over forty years ago, when my own life was transformed by Vedantic ideas [Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads] and yogic practices. I was not the only one at that time, of course, but I gradually came to see that it was more than a counterculture phenomenon.  

Over time, as the teachings seeped into the fabric of American society, not only through the Indian gurus but also through Western transmitters—artists, scholars, psychotherapists, doctors, etc.—I saw that the assimilation was more subtle and more pervasive than most of us realize.  As both a writer and a proponent, I wanted to tell the story. 

So I proposed a book in the mid-80s. I couldn’t interest a publisher.  Twenty years later, the phenomenon had become so much more visible that an editor at Doubleday had the same idea, and our paths crossed at the right time.  

Bob: What are the most important things you’d like the Yoga world to learn from American Veda they don’t know already?

Phil: It’s been very satisfying to hear from both new practitioners and long-time teachers that they learned something new from the book.  It gives them a full picture of what brought us to this moment of time and how the current Yoga scene fits in the social and historical context of America.  It goes back further and penetrates more deeply than most people realize. 

I hope that teachers and practitioners, especially the young ones, also come away with greater reverence for the full scope of the tradition and resolve to protect and preserve its integrity, so it does not get reduced to a form of physical fitness or a therapeutic modality.  Those are wonderful in and of themselves, but the body of spiritual teachings that underlay the physical practices are not only precious but vital for the ongoing evolution of our troubled species.  India has given us a great gift, and we should make sure we don’t squander it.

Bob: What are the biggest difficulties you had in writing the book, and how did you overcome them?

Phil: In a nutshell, time and space. The book took almost two years longer to complete than I anticipated, and it could easily have been a thousand pages in length.  There were difficult choices along the way, since a lot of juicy details had to be left out and worthy teachers and lineages could not be given the space they deserve. 

As with most books, organizational structure presented challenges along the way too.  In the end, it worked best to keep it somewhat chronological, but not rigidly so, in order to keep it flowing and be able to show all the streams and tributaries through which the teachings filtered into the culture.

Bob: What is most surprising experience you had in writing American Veda?

Phil: I thought I knew a lot going in, but it was amazing how much I discovered on a regular basis—and how much I still learn.  I have a file of information to post on americanveda.com, and I seem to add to it every day.

One surprising thing was discovering gurus and yoga masters who spent time in the U.S. whom I somehow never heard of.  They had small followings, and in some cases ashrams and centers, in places I would never have suspected, and some of their followers went on to have a significant impact in the transmission of Vedantic ideas and yogic practices.

Bob: How did you come to choose the title, and what were some of the other possibilities you considered?

Phil: I’d like to take credit for the title, but it was my editor’s idea from the start.  I tried to think of alternatives, just in case there was a better choice, but everything I came up with was either too boring or too cute.  One candidate was “The Full Lotus.”

Bob: Why did you choose to use the word “Veda” in the title, whereas you avoid that term in the text itself in favor of  “Vedanta” or “Vedanta Yoga”?  Wasn’t Vedanta Yoga in fact somewhat of a rebellion against the elaborate, ritualistic, priest-driven, superstitious organized religion of the Vedas?

Phil: You’re right of course, but we weren’t thinking of it in a literal or historical way, but rather “Veda” as “knowledge” and as a pithy way of evoking an ancient, complex tradition that was the fountainhead of all the wisdom that flowed out of India.  In short, like many titles it’s meant to evoke, or suggest, or get attention. 

Bob: What’s the most interesting question I should be asking that I haven’t thought of yet?

Phil: In my first few public appearances for the book, I was asked to summarize the influence of the Vedic tradition on America.  So I now build it into my presentations.  Here’s my list:

India gave people who are indifferent to, uncomfortable with, or hostile to conventional Western religion a way to be authentically spiritual.  “Spiritual but not religious” would be an empty phrase without the framework and methodologies we imported from the East.

It changed the way we understand consciousness, the mind, the mind-body relationship and the connection between individual awareness and the larger whole.

It added higher levels of development to our understanding of human potential.

It changed the way we see ourselves and human nature.  As one scholar put it, from original sin to original bliss.

It placed direct experience of the divine in the forefront of spirituality, as opposed to belief.

It stimulated a revival of Western mystical practices.

It gave us a vision of Oneness and a framework for a healthy, unity-in-diversity pluralism, with “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.”

 Bob: Phil, thanks for joining us here.  Your book is amazing, and I again urge everyone to read it.

Categories
Uncategorized

True or False? Physical Yoga Has Influenced America More than Spiritual Yoga.

True or False? Physical Yoga Has Influenced America More than Spiritual Yoga.

Answer: False!  The reverse is true.  Spiritual Yoga has had a far bigger impact on America than the physical poses most people think of as Yoga.

You’ll almost certainly agree after reading the startling new book  American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West  by Philip Goldberg

(See  accompanying interview with Phil Goldberg.)

The spirituality of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, the original texts of Yoga,  has found its way into the very core of spiritual life in America, according to Goldberg, even though this is often masked by the form it has taken, and sometimes through outright repression of historical facts.

American Veda is an absolute must-read for anyone serious about Yoga.  It is one of the  most important books I’ve personally ever read about Yoga, or anything else, for that matter.  It is surprising, entertaining, and highly readable throughout, and it will cause you to forever think differently about the impact of Yoga in America.

This book is so momentous, that at first I had trouble imagining how I could adequately describe it’s message and scope in a “review”.  Then I suddenly realized that this would be the easiest review I’ve ever written.  Here it is:

The following is just a partial list, just to give you an idea, of the famous people who, as documented in American Veda, have been profoundly influenced, not just a little bit influenced, but profoundly and pivotally influenced, by the Yoga of the original ancient Yoga texts, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, often referred to as “Vedanta Yoga” (Most are Americans, but I also included others who heavily influenced Americans.):

Authors

Ralph Waldo Emerson     Henry David Thoreau     Walt Whitman     Aldous Huxley

Samuel Taylor Coleridge     William Wordsworth     William Blake     Emily Dickinson

Robert Frost     Jack Kerouac     Allen Ginsberg     Alan Watts     Gotham Chopra

Tim Gallwey (Inner Game of  Tennis)        Herman Hesse     Oliver Wendell Holmes

Somerset Maugham    J. D. Salinger     Christopher Isherwood     Timothy Leary

Huston Smith    T.S. Eliot     William Butler Yeats

Psychologists

William James     Carl Jung     Abraham Maslow     Stanislav Grof     Daniel Goleman

New Spirituality/Self-help

Eckhart Tolle     Deepak Chopra     Michael Beckwith (Agape)     Ken Wilber

Joseph Cambell    Madame Blavatsky (Theosophical Society)    Wayne Dyer

Marianne Williamson     Norman Vincent Peale     Tony Robbins

John Gray     Joan Borysenko     Andrew Harvey

Musicians & Entertainers 

The Beatles (especially George Harrison)     Philip Glass     Judy Collins

Russell Simmons    Elvis Presley     John Coltrane     Alice Coltrane    Donovan

Mick Jagger     Marianne Faithful     Mia Farrow    Mike Love

Paul Horn     Madonna     John McGlaughlin

Yehudi Menuhin     Van Morrison     David Lynch     Shirley McClaine

Jerry Seinfeld     And many others

Religious Figures

Mary Baker Eddy (founder Christian Science)     Ernest Holmes (Religious Science)

Thomas Keating    Thomas Merton     Father Bede Griffiths     Rabbi David Gelberman

The “New Thought” Movement (source of many modern congregations)

Politicians/Activists

John Adams     Martin Luther King (through Mahatma Gandhi)     Booker T. Washington

Philosophers

Arthur Schoepenhauer     Friedrich Hegel    Alfred North Whitehead

Scientists

David Bohm (quantum physicist)     Rupert Sheldrake (biologist)     Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics)

J. Robert Oppenheimer     Erwin Shroedinger (physicist, close friend of Einstein)

Nikola Tesla (legendary inventor)     John Hagelin     Amrit Goswami

Health and Wellness

Andrew Weil     Dean Ornish     Mehmet “Dr.” Oz.     Herbert Benson (The Relaxation Response)

See also:  How Yoga Has Transformed American Spirtuality: An Interview with Phil Goldberg, Author of “American Veda”, and then read the book!

Phil Goldberg is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including “Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path” and “The Intuitive Edge.” Based in Los Angeles, he is an ordained interfaith minister, a public speaker and seminar leader, and the founder of Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates. He is director of outreach for SpiritualCitizens.net and blogs regularly on religion for the Huffington Post. Visit philipgoldberg.com or americanveda.com for more information.