While we enjoy this beautiful Fall season I thought it appropriate to consider that central aspect of yoga known as detachment. My mother actually reminded me as we appreciated the majestic colors of the changing leaves that what manifested as such diversity and inspired such beauty was actually death happening before our eyes. Perhaps hidden in plain sight is the key to our enlightenment.
Yoga is a very rich word that is the practice, the process and the product of enlightenment. To realize the Great Joy that is the fruit of faith requires a certain letting go that can be called detachment. This concept is present in most faith-based traditions. The Buddha said that all suffering in life is caused by attachment. In the Aramaic language of Jesus the Christ, to be attached was to be unripe and that word was translated through Greek and Latin as "evil" and to be detached was to be ripe and that word became "blessing". To practice detachment is then to be blessed in the ancient Christian concept.
There is an ancient yogic axiom related to detachment that simply says, "praise and blame, no difference". Consider for a moment the actuality that praise and blame in the form of words are actually subtle vibrations of sound that travel from a person's vocal chords through the air and are received through our hearing sense. The brain interprets specific vibrations as words and the mind then interprets those words based on past experience (conditioning) which then stimulates the endocrine system leading to an emotional reaction based on our conditioning. Before you realize what happened, you have been triggered into a new emotional state without any consciousness whatsoever. How many of our relationships play out this way throughout the day? Be aware.
Begin by simply observing this process occurring again and again throughout your day. Through our yoga and meditation practice we cultivate the ability to remain present with this mind-body drama without defining ourselves by it. These intellectual approaches assist us in realizing the deeper aspects of detachment but direct experiences of these states of consciousness are the building blocks of yoga. This is why we are meeting to practice yoga (and meditation) this evening at 7pm. Hope you can make it. I may even praise you if you make it and blame you if you don't but SO WHAT?!