Why Yoga, Jeromeyers?

I mentioned Reincarnation in Yoga Sutras 1.6 and hastily penned a clarification “for the record”.  Yet, I haven’t clearly described why I’m interested in Yoga.  I mentioned something about Yoga offering something to the “AI guy” in me in Yoga Sutras 1.1 and I’ve certainly brought the subject up since whilst holding forth a pretty modern view of traditional concepts.  But, as I said in Psychlotron (Introduction/Kernel/Seed/Spell), what I’m really talking about here (this blog), is my life’s work.  Yoga is more to me than simply a source for AI insights.

I also hinted that it is great for Repetitive Strain Injury RSI and implied any programmers involved in the doing of AI are going to battle RSI (although not everyone who interacts lots with computers develops RSI as quickly and intensely as me, I’ve considered that my RSI is a consequence of the ratio of fast to slow twitch muscles fibers in my body and my twitchy way of typing and mousing and generally doing all learned movements [read: quick {something I’ve had to learn to do is to move a little more slowly when I interact with computers, and to take frequent short breaks and to be sure to exercise my muscles along their full range of expression, rather than just the tiny jerks they do thousands of times a day}]).  Yet, too, Yoga is more to me than a strategy for mitigating and overcoming tissue damage.

Thinking laterally, now, I also value intense concentration, focus and phenomenological intimacy.  Yoga, like most meditative disciplines (Dharana and Dhyana and Samadhi, see diagram in 1.1), places a great emphasis on concentration.  In fact, it is not uncommon to see gurus of a sort, highly effective teachers and aspirants (Sadhaka), stop at the plateau of concentration of some density or another.  Dharana is primarily seen as a state of mind free from distractions.  Dhyana is awareness focused on the object to the exclusion of even self-awareness.  These states of mind are powerful, and Yoga’s catalysis of mind-powers (siddhis) in general is formidable, but even they are not the height of my purpose in Yoga.

So, what?  “Samadhi”?  “Enlightenment”?  Some dewy eyed cloud in my wishy washy sky?  Individuation?  Self-Actualization?  Self-Perfection?

My interest in Yoga is one of many expressions made by an essential tendency of my being (which resonates with Yoga).  Now, I don’t know if you know what I mean by those words.  I’ll try to clarify, but finally, they say what I mean.  I am naturally drawn to certain “modifications of mind“, and although there may seem to be a noun in there, there isn’t.  I express a characteristic pattern of thought, a general pattern that could be recognized no matter which particular language or philosophy or science I projected into.  A way of moving about in conceptual space.  A martial arts teacher once told me that by that point in his life each person’s gait or way of moving had become as memorable as a face.  It could as well be handwriting or qualities of voice.  We are the self-same being that creates our expressions in each of these ‘realms’ (dimensions, commensurable data, et cetera).

Yoga was the first science and I’m a scientist.  Yoga was the natural philosophy.

If you think about it, back then, as the personality of the ‘seeker’ within families and societies slowly carved a niche for itself, the body and the mind were the only “categories of experience” upon which the full intelligence of man could be applied for a great length of time and hold out the promise of real development of knowledge without a preponderant generation and regeneration of total nonsense (metaphysics, ethics, et cetera).  IOW, self was the first laboratory (and identity was the product?).  The first place in which tests were performed in the service of verifying knowledge.  The first arena of sustained falsifiable discourse.  Or at least I’ve made all that up and it sounds convincing.  Stories.  But engaging ones.  Eat the truth, spit out the shell (nuts).

But it’s not only about “science” or “knowledge” that I am drawn to Yoga, or the attitude of the scientist/philosopher, although that is getting closer.  Attitude.  Yoga’s no-nonsense.  It’s drilling to the core and you’re the drill bit and its action will put you there, you regulate the speed and pressure so you don’t bust up.  It’s all pragmatism and a goal and all the little goals that draw you onward and comprise the experiential data that informs your continually nuancing distinctions.

Finally, it’s the nebulous goal of Yoga that pulls me.  Not the ‘inhibition of the modifications of mind’, part, but the ‘established in True nature’ whole.  I am seeking my true nature, whatever that is, and whether I’ll even want it once find it (I assume I will [iWill]).

In any case, I hate everything that merely instructs me without enhancing my activity or directly enlivening it.

–Mixture of translations of a quote in Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life of something Goethe said (by R.J. Hollingdale and quoted from Composing the Soul by Graham Parks)

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