Agama Yoga: Attention focussed to perceive

Trip Start Oct 30, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, February 2, 2009

Four weeks of steady practice at Agama (with the exception of a 3 day break for a visa run to Malaysia) and the mnemonics (the text teachers use to facilitate the classes, such as “Attention focused to perceive fine vibrations in the area of the neck”) is steadily solidifying in my head. I like it.

I’m continuing to be ambivalent about my experiences here. On one hand, the asana practice itself, as confusing as it may be with its instructions regarding the flow of energy and the sensations of the chakras, seems to yield great results. My energy level and my ability to focus my mind are steadily rising. My mood and outlook on life is positive and excited. I seem to maintain my intentions for longer periods of time, and I feel very connected to my reality, seeing how I’m manifesting everything that comes my way.

There are a few teachers here who are lovely and inspiring. When they lead a class, I can literally feel their energy carrying my practice deeper. I cannot explain it as I do not understand how it works, but I can certainly feel the energetic difference between the teachers.

Sadly, there is a very big “however” to this experience. The teachings here are of often contradictory, if not hypocritical The lecture about Asteya (non-stealing) started with “The instruction is very clear cut: ‘ do not steal. period. No exceptions!” At the end of the lecture, when the teacher was asked why Agama is photocopying copyrighted materials (and then adding its own copyright to the copied material) he starts with “copyright laws did not exist in the times of Patanjali” (who wrote the Asteya sutra) and finishes with “It for the greater good. And besides, once you reach a certain state of evolution, you are beyond these rules”.

The teachings are heterosexist (everybody/everything is assumed to be heterosexual) and even somewhat homophobic. When the Swami was asked about homosexuality he seemed to think that all gays were transexuals.

While we are often told that “yoga is not a religion” the teachers here keep on bringing examples from Jesus’ life and teaching to illustrate their point. The fact that the existence of Jesus was never historically proven does not seem to bother them. Many of the historical examples they bring up as facts turn out, upon a quick search in Wikipedia, to be unproven and disputed myths.

One of my classmates, Daniel Bar-Shefa, an Israeli guy with a constantly positive outlook on life, has been reminding me to collect the gems and let go of the manure. He seems to do it pretty easily. I, however, am still trapped in the habit of pointing out the dark side of the moon.
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