One assignment I really enjoyed as part of a yoga certification process was to write a small paper on the biography of a famous yogi. At first even na...moreOne assignment I really enjoyed as part of a yoga certification process was to write a small paper on the biography of a famous yogi. At first even narrowing down the search was a task in and of itself! Several hours were spent in meditation and searching while my own heart looked for the connection to one that I felt a special reverence for who not only lived a “yogi” life, but who shared real life situations and adventures that might prove invaluable for the yogi today. The choice was made for me as I begin reading, “Autobiography of a Yogi.”
Autobiography of a Yogi is an autobiography written by Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952) in 1946, in which he discusses his life story, and which introduced many Westerners to meditation and yoga.  is and should be a best seller and a must read for everyone on the path to self-knowledge that we call “enlightenment.” His story actually begins prior to his birth, as his parents, who were both very spiritually minded yogis in their own accord had been foretold of having a child who would become a prophet and lead many to peace and inner light. There were eight children in the family, but it was obvious to his parents that he was different from the very beginning.
As a child Mukanda was not interested in the things that other children his age were doing, playing, thinking or saying. I remember reading that as a child he asked his mother to make him a statue of the divine mother so he could create an alter to use in worship and meditation. Without a doubt he had been born to BE something other than the typical self-indulgent child, but one who was predisposed to share an inner light and love with others. Another childhood story was told where Mukanda stood up to a class bully who had beaten up his friends repeatedly. He did not believe in fighting, nor did he want to approach such a matter with violence – but he prayed and asked for guidance on how to proceed. Once he was sure, he spoke up and confronted the bully and told him if he continued to harm the other children he would have to deal with him. The bully of course loved the challenge and took it gladly. The young yogi was beaten almost senseless as he tried to follow his inner guide and protect the other children. With one last reserve of energy, he stood up and once again asked the bully to stop. This time the ignorant child was going to put an end to Mukanda, but the tide turned quickly as the young yogi put him in a leg lock eventually forcing the child to concede. Even then, the bully, as bullies often do, recanted his words and wanted to continue beating Mukanda, but this time the other children had the confidence to stand up and swore that they would themselves beat him if ever he hurt another child!
After the congratulations were over and the crowd dispersed, Mukunda sat quietly. He felt no triumph. In fact he felt that he had let himself down. Though he had many wounds and his head throbbed with pain, what bothered him more was that he had allowed himself into a situation where his anger got the better of him. As he walked away from the scene he made himself a promise: He would never again allow anger and violence become part of his thoughts and actions. 
His teachings in yoga might have begun prior to his actual birth, we don’t know for sure. What I do know is that as he made his way to America and shared his inner truths many were changed and transformed forever! Seeing the human side of a yogi from childhood into adulthood and the typical life situations and adversity provides a firm foundation that we can all have such excellence of character and heart! It was encouraging and uplifting to follow the life of this yogi and see how the universe, often called synchronicity provided everything in life that he needed. Even his trip to America, was funded by his father, came through the most unusual means as you will discover when reading the autobiography. The book is worth reading as it adds such a beautiful dimension to our yoga heritage and culture! The West would have missed an incredible opportunity had Paramahansa Yogananda not had the courage to leave the “known” and venture into the “unknown” to follow his heart and inner divine guide!
This book was loaned to me by a cherished friend! As we have talked of life and philosophies, he directed me another book that was sure to be a favori...moreThis book was loaned to me by a cherished friend! As we have talked of life and philosophies, he directed me another book that was sure to be a favorite!
I began googling Mr. Zukav and it feels as if I have been blessed with a piece to the puzzle. It's understandable and thought provoking.
I read a little - put it down and find practical application. Then I pick it up again and want to start all over from the beginning. IT's hard to get...moreI read a little - put it down and find practical application. Then I pick it up again and want to start all over from the beginning. IT's hard to get through the book because I want to absorb everything it has to offer.(less)
It is empowering to know that there are ways to PREVENT not just treat cancer! However, this information does not make nearly as much money as continu...moreIt is empowering to know that there are ways to PREVENT not just treat cancer! However, this information does not make nearly as much money as continuing as we do ... getting the disease, the tests, the hospitals, the surgeries - they don't call it the Health Industry for nothing. They are in it to make money. Once you realize you have power over your health (mind / body / spirit) imagine how your life would change!
Great book! Would love to get Ms. Somers to do an interview for OM-Times Magazine (http://www.OMtimes.com) Fingers crossed, prayers sent. The rest is history! Love and light to all(less)
This is a book for beginners :: by beginner, I mean anyone who wants to know about various tools for calming the spirit and healing the body & min...moreThis is a book for beginners :: by beginner, I mean anyone who wants to know about various tools for calming the spirit and healing the body & mind.
It gives simple instruction (really guidance) and presents various methods / tools that we can use to create calm in our own life.
The Table of Contents Gives a Good idea of what is going on and the direction the book will go.
I. Intro to the book
II. Principles of Mediation
III. Sitting Meditations
--- Correct Posture --- Calm Mediation --- Insight Meditation --- Letting Go --- Energy Centers and Channels
IV. Other Forms of Meditation --- Walking --- Buddhist Chanting --- Christian Chanting --- Hindu Chakra Meditation --- Western Esoteric Tradition --- Buddhist Visualization --- Transcendental Meditation --- Haiku Poetyr --- Sufi Dancing --- Koan Meditation --- Tantra --- T'ai Chi Ch'uan --- Yoga
V. Mediation in the Daily Life
VI. Devotional Practice & Ritual
Glossary | Meditation Centers | Index | bibliography(less)
The more I read, the more I want to read. This is a short passage from Hanh that I found online when I was researching the book. ----------------------...moreThe more I read, the more I want to read. This is a short passage from Hanh that I found online when I was researching the book. ------------------------------------ Anger. There's a seed of anger in every one of us. There is also a seed of fear, a seed of despair. And when the seed of anger manifests, we should know how to recognize it, how to embrace it, and how to bring [ourselves] relief. When the seed of fear manifests itself as energy in the upper level of our consciousness, we should be able to recognize it, to embrace it tenderly, and to transform it. And the agent of transformation and healing is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is another kind of energy that is in us in the form of a seed also. If we know how to practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful smiling, then we should be able to touch the seed of mindfulness in us and transform it into a zone of energy. And with that energy of mindfulness, we can recognize our anger, our fear, our despair. We practice recognizing and embracing.
When a mother working in the kitchen hears the cries of her baby, she puts anything she is holding down and goes to the room of the baby, picks the baby up and holds the baby dearly in her arms. We do exactly the same thing when the seed of anger and fear manifest in us; our fear, our anger is our baby. Let us not try to suppress and to fight our fear and our anger. Let us recognize its presence; let us embrace it tenderly like a mother embracing her baby.
When a mother embraces her baby, the energy of tenderness begins to penetrate into the body of the baby. The mother does not know, yet, what is the cause of the suffering of the baby, but the fact that she is holding the baby tenderly can already help. The energy of tenderness and compassion in a mother begins to penetrate into the body of the baby, and the baby gets some relief right away. The baby may stop crying. And if the mother knows how to continue the practice of holding the baby mindfully, tenderly, she will be able to discover the cause of the suffering of the baby.
When the seed of anger is watered, when the seed of fear is watered, whether by yourself or by another person or by the mass media--because the mass media in this country has watered a lot the seed of anger and fear in us--we should know how to recognize, embrace and bring relief to our anger and our fear.
The attitude is the attitude of non-duality, non-violence. Our fear, our anger are not our enemies; they are us. We have to treat our fear, our anger in a most non-violent way, the most non-dualistic way, like we are treating our own baby. So if you are a good practitioner of meditation, you will know exactly what to do when the seed of anger is watered and begins to manifest in the upper level of your consciousness. With the practice of mindful breathing or mindful walking, you generate the energy of mindfulness, and exactly with that energy, you can recognize the energy of anger, of fear in you.
Anger is… energy number one. By practicing mindful breathing or mindful walking, we generate the energy number two: the energy of mindfulness. We call it in Buddhist terms: mindfulness of anger. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. When you drink your water mindfully, that is called mindfulness of drinking. When you eat mindfully, that is called mindfulness of eating. When you breathe mindfully, in and out, that is called mindfulness of breathing. When you walk mindfully, it is called mindfulness of walking.
So, when you recognize your anger, embrace your anger tenderly with that energy of mindfulness, it is called mindfulness of anger, mindfulness of despair, mindfulness of fear. We should be able to learn and help the young people to learn how to do it. It's very important.
The Buddha offers us very concrete and simple exercises in order to become mindful. The first exercise on mindful breathing is: Breathing in--I know I am breathing in. Breathing out--I know I am breathing out. You can reduce the length of the sentence to one word. In. Out. While you are breathing in, you just recognize that this is your in breath, and you use the word, in. And you are wholly concentrated on your in breath. Nothing else.
You become your in breath. You're not thinking of anything. You're not thinking of the past, of the future, of your projects. You release everything. You just follow your in breath, and you become one with your in breath. And the energy of mindfulness is generated together with the energy of concentration.(less)
I think the single point that impressed me the most about this book so far was that my teenage son read it and it made sense to him. The conversations...moreI think the single point that impressed me the most about this book so far was that my teenage son read it and it made sense to him. The conversations related to "real" subjects that young and old alike could relate to.
For the record, this book was purchased for me by my father after I had told him I was not sure how to talk to God. It feels more like he (GOD) is my friend versus the formal speak used when at organized religious meet-ups.
I would suggest this to anyone who wants to talk to God, but maybe does not have a complete accordance of questions or good note taking skills! ;-D(less)
This book is just one in a growing list of books that re-direct the reader to look beyond the obvious. To find peace and a direction that accent the d...moreThis book is just one in a growing list of books that re-direct the reader to look beyond the obvious. To find peace and a direction that accent the divine that lives within.(less)