Layering Ideas

my mat, Mukwonago library’s book

I sometimes forget how much I like to learn. Does that ever happen to you? You get so wrapped up with the day in — day out tasks of living that you forget to step outside of the norm to expand yourself?

Thanks to some recent gentle nudges, I started reading books again. I’m nearly finished with Money and the Meaning of Life by Jacob Needlman. I’d describe it as a philosophical discussion of man’s relationship between our secular and spiritual wants and needs. Although I’ve not yet reached the final conclusions, Needleman has made it clear he believes humans need to keep a balance between materialism and spirituality. Money should serve to enhance our inner search for meaning.

Interesting and thought provoking, right?

Now, the overlap.

Last weekend I attended a yoga workshop that included discussions of yoga philosophy. At its inception, thousands of years ago, the practice of yoga was intended to help its practitioner transcend earthly bounds, in an effort to reach enlightenment or divinity. Hence, the reason for monasteries and renouncement of worldly possessions. The belief was stuff is a distraction.

About six hundred years ago, a man named Abhinavagupta introduced Tantric yoga philosophy. Like Needleman, he believed that the secular and spiritual, when balanced, help man to reach his fullest potential. He proposed that we should celebrate embodiment as a gift. It was the effort of living in harmony despite stuff that was humanity’s real challenge.

I’d like to clarify that asana — physical poses is only one part of yoga. It is the piece Westerners are most familiar with. Yoga encompasses an eightfold path of practices, including should and should nots comparable to the Ten Commandments.

Remember the Venn diagrams of grade school? Overlapping circles in which two or more subjects list their common principles at the point where the overlap occurs?

I find it fascinating that I found overlapping ideas in yoga philosophy and a book about man’s relationship to money within a period of two weeks.

It leaves me wondering — can the same lessons be taught from seemingly unrelated sources?

What questions are you looking for answers to?

Take a step outside of the day to day.

Like me, you might be surprised at what you find.