Eastern Wisdom and Open Mindedness

namaste

Image credit: Powerful Intentions – the Law of Attraction Community (www.powerfulintentions.org)

One of the things I distinctly remember from my Christian Science Primary Class instruction and Association Meetings, was how my teacher cautioned us time and time again about the evils of various “Eastern” philosophies. I don’t remember specifics of what exactly he said, and since I have long ago destroyed my class notes and materials, I can’t easily refer back; however I do remember him in one instance specifically cautioning against parents sending their kids to things like karate classes. I seem to remember it was along the same lines as the whole “animal magnetism” theme. I always thought this was weird, as I have never saw anything wrong with martial arts at all. I’ve always seen them as a form of defence, and to my understanding, a true devotee of any martial art would never initiate a conflict. Also, as I understand it, martial arts teach balance–not only in body, but in mind, soul, and spirit. What could be wrong with that? I have come to see that, contrary to the teachings I received in Christian Science, there is nothing to fear from Eastern philosophy. It is beautiful, ancient, and contains much wisdom. It brings you into harmony and balance with yourself, your body, and everything around you.

I’ve recently begun to attend yoga classes, specifically practicing hot yoga as part of my efforts to improve my physical conditioning and lose weight. I’ve practiced hot yoga in the past, and found great benefits to it, and am greatly enjoying re-starting my practice. I came out of my first class feeling amazingly uplifted physically. I noticed right away that a lot of stiffness and soreness that I often experienced was greatly reduced or eliminated. I also came away feeling mentally “cleansed”. I go about 2 – 3 times a week and am noticing a great improvement in my physical condition, as well as weight loss.

At the very end of every yoga class I’ve ever attended, the instructor always says “namaste“. Namaste is a common greeting and gesture (usually a slight bow with hands clasped together above the heart–referred to as “heart centre”) in the Indian subcontinent, but it does have specific, and to me profound meaning: the gesture is the recognition of the soul in one by the soul in another; the word literally means “I bow to you”. It is a gesture of deep humility and respect.

What I gain from my practice of yoga is a sense of peace and balance. That is what I see as the core of this teaching. The different poses, the management of breathing, all combine to physically align the body to a state of balance and harmony, and cleanse the internal organs and the mind. This sense of peace, harmony, and balance is found in many other Eastern philosophies and practices, and also in North American First Nations/Native American spirituality. For me, this is deeply resonating, and since I’ve embraced this sense of balance and harmony, my life is immeasurably better. Rather than fighting against and denying the reality of what I experience around me, I seek to find harmony with it or bring harmony to it, or at least find it within myself.

For me, there is no more fear, paranoia, exclusiveness, or denial. I accept the world as it is, for better or worse, and act to try to improve it where I can, but most of all, I always seek to live in balance in all aspects of my life. As a spiritual mentor of mine often says, you need to have an “open mind and a warm heart.” I firmly believe if you have those two things, you will go far, and be much happier. Namaste.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Eastern Wisdom and Open Mindedness

  1. I guess they were/are worried if you pay too much attention to the “eastern” philosophies you may come across the fact in some of the earlier editions of S&H MBE borrowed liberally & extensively from the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta philosophy (http://kindism.org/2013/07/29/hegel-hinduism-ms-eddy/).

    ” It brings you into harmony and balance with yourself, your body, and everything around you.”

    Problem with this in CS is YOUR BODY IS NOT REAL… but that’s just a minor point. 😉

    May you live in exciting times. 😀

    • You’re right! Thanks for the reference back to your post–I remember it now from when you first posted it and the references to connections to Hinduism are interesting–good to re-read it. In my spiritual explorations, which in addition to Native American/First Nations spirituality do also include Eastern philosophies, I have seen many parallels with CS; enough to definitely convince me that there is a connection and influence on CS from these philosophies. However, I will stop there at parallels. That doesn’t mean similarities. CS is way out in so many other key ways on its own odd trajectory. MBE went off on her own wild fun-house adventure. Most Hindus, Bhuddists, and others I’ve known wisely seek medical care when the occasion demands, and their spiritual practice, as with my own, is something that brings mental balance and physical harmony that results from said mental balance.

      In my yoga classes, for example, we focus heavily on the body. The instructor implores us to pay close attention to it in our practice–to focus our breathing, our thoughts, our efforts to the areas that need attention (say, like a sore knee, stiff joint, or such). You focus strongly on your breathing, your mental state. All of this adds together. It’s very holistic. That’s what I love about it. You’re right, it’s that focus on the BODY…ooh, that oh so evil material body, that scares the CS crowd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s