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“We live in a materialistic culture. We value above all, material things. The word “culture” comes from the Latin word “culte”, which means “to worship,” that which one values more than anything else. So in a materialistic culture one worships material things. One could say that the “temples” of materialistic culture are the shopping centre and malls.”

One sees what one desires. Desires determine values. And desire is what the Ego feels: “I want, I need, I will”, says the ego. Aspiration is what the soul feels. The soul seeks to free itself from the ego’s incessant, never ending desires through transcendence of the ego’s perspective. It does so by cultivating awareness, discernment, the Witness, “letting go” of the false identifications of “I am my body, I am my emotions, I am my thoughts.” Being calmly active and actively calm. An integral inner practice, like Yoga aspires for the True, the Good and the Beautiful, and “to Be”, more and more, simply Its’ instrument.

Even Yoga, today, has been adapted not only to materialistic culture, but within this culture, to the particular values of individuals. For example, those who value health and fitness see the practice of Yoga as a means of restoring, maintaining or developing their health. Those who value “looking good,” see Yoga as a means of losing weight, or looking more attractive, in clothing especially made for Yoga! Others value it as a means of making a living, and so seek to become Yoga teachers, often even before they have been Yoga students for more than a year! Those who may be suffering from stress value Yoga as a means of relaxation or stress management. Those who value peace of mind value the practice of Yoga as meditation. Those are seekers after metaphysical truth or wisdom value Yoga’s practical wisdom teachings. Those who are seeking “liberation” from the cycle of birth and rebirth value Yoga as a vehicle towards it. Those who are seeking God, or enlightenment value the practices and teachings which provide guidance towards those goals.” (Satchidananda).

Although our practice may be similar, what we value within it differs. Values influence our choices, behaviours and action. Values come to life through purpose and intention, which gives us direction, focus and meaning. To realise our purpose, we must know “Who am I / Who am I not”.
Holistic practices such as yoga, when done regularly, promise an integrity, balance and harmony of our mind / body/ spirit – which allows us to take a deep dive, exploration and experience of our selves, and in that space giving us the awareness and freedom to choose, our purpose, our values, our desires and the culture we live.

A recommended “must-read” book for anyone who is interested in this inquiry of “Self”, is “Kriya Yoga: Insights Along The Path”. As well as a powerful companion for all Yoga aspirants, practitioners and teachers alike, it is for anyone who is on the path towards integral well-being of the Mind-Body-Spirit, expanded awareness, self realisation and personal mastery. Its power is in the vast topics it covers in simply and clearly and objectively. The book is easy to read, whilst powerfully and modestly addressing the vital question of: –
– Why be / Why Know who “I” am?
– Why Yoga? / – Why Kriya Yoga?

Here is the link to the first 15 pages and Table of Contents of “Kriya Yoga – Insights along the Path” – http://www.babajiskriyayoga.net/english/flexpaper-ui/kriya-yoga-insights-9781895383492-lib.php
You may order the book at http://www.babajiskriyayoga.net/english/bookstore.htm. (There is a 20% discount until 28th February for UK customers.

By Marina Kapur for UK Values Alliance

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