The Yogas of Participation

Tangible Reality versus the Hoax of 'Higher' Love

Image: Brian Crawford Photography

Image: Brian Crawford Photography

The love of the Heavenly Father God and the ‘Holy Father’ or priest (or guru), his agency on Earth, inherently suggest that the love of your actual biological father and mother is lesser. There’s an English nursery rhyme that says it all: ‘I love you, but Jesus loves you the best.’ Mother or father’s love has been believed to be not as great as ‘God’s love’ and its special human agents (priests, popes, gurus, swamis, etc.). These systems have denied tangible reality for an abstract ideal, and in so doing have dissociated us from our actual lives. There is no substitute for mother-father love, but civilization has created a vast ideology of abstract love as a failed substitute for what we actually need. The only thing left to do now is to love all tangible conditions, including your parents, despite the fact that they may have been inadequate vehicles of love. Our Yoga is the practical means by which we come to this.

We live still in the ruins and remains of the medieval ‘chain of being,’ a deluded order of human privilege and poverty that gripped Europe for many centuries, and which was spread around the world by colonialism. This thought structure defined all of life within a vast hierarchy, from God, the king, the aristocracy and clergy, down through professionals, traders, and peasants, through to animals (the most reviled of which were snakes for their ‘sins’ in the Garden of Eden), plants, and minerals. The natural order and wonder of all life was destroyed by this hierarchical order. The classes below were abused; the classes above obeyed. Men were believed to be inherently superior to women and white races were believed to be superior to non-white. And this wasn’t recognised as a belief system; it merely seemed like ‘how it is.’

Within this system, the king was believed to be sanctioned by God as the ‘head of state,’ the source of truth and authority, whereas the peasant masses were the exploited ‘body’ of the kingdom. The ‘head of state’ was a tyrant who ruled the body politic, just as the father of each family, having adopted this patriarchal patterning, tended to be the tyrannical authority of the home — the ‘head of the household.’

In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the Divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families; for a king is truly parens patriae [parent of the country], the politic father of his people. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man.
— James I of England, from a speech delivered to Parliament in 1610.

We may believe these times are mostly long past, but in our own bodies, the uninvestigated thought structures of our ‘head’ rule still as a tyrant over the intelligence, wonder, beauty, and legitimacy of our own body, which is already in perfect and intrinsic harmony with the rest of existence. The thought structure put in us by the patriarchy is to seek for sublime alternate states or simply for ‘progress’ up the chain of being, a search which is inherently a denial of our own sublime wonder. Man’s heaven has created a hell of this abundant paradise.

Just as the king denied his utter dependence on the functional body-politic, so does our own head deny its utter dependence on the natural body and life that it arises as a part of. Yoga is revolt over and rejection of these tyrannical thought structures. It is to be in our own bodies, with the head and mind returned to its beautiful place as a function of the heart that arises as the wholeness of life. We are not the king/head controlling a body; we ARE the whole body, whatever the whole body is altogether. Yoga is an uprising of the peasants of your whole body. And it can be a peaceful uprising.

There are some hopeful signs that patriarchal systems are at last gradually dissolving themselves — in terms of the behaviors of their leaders at least, if not in their social structures. For example, the present Pope insists on behaving as an ordinary person; the Dalai Lama insists he is an ordinary monk. Also in modern times, it is significant that The Beatles and other cultural icons claimed their ordinary lives and showed them to the public in the midst of super fame. This tangibly disintegrated hierarchies in secular and spiritual life. These heroes made a ‘working-class hero’ something to be.

The great English visionary, William Blake, wrote that ‘God only acts and is in existing beings’ (by which he meant ‘all things’). Is it possible that mother’s love is God’s love? In original Vedic culture, it was understood that God, Guru, Mother, Father, your Spouse, your Body, and your Child are One, arising in the one Great Reality, in a vast elemental interdependence and harmony of earth, water, fire, and air. There was (and is) no god as ‘other’. Besotted love-devotion to all in all was the sublime culture of this ancient world. It was a folk or people’s culture and practice, a way for ordinary, mainly agricultural people to embrace their own power and beauty.

In this Vedic culture, the unique union with Guru was like the relationship between the wave and ocean. It was an equal yet profound relationship. Without this egalitarian form, so-called ‘gurus’ replicate the model of the ‘special agent’ or ‘perfect person’ — repeating the delusion of the medieval kings. Within this model they can only have followers; no actual Guru-Shishya (student) function, transformation, or transmission can occur.

In the ancient world of Veda there were never temples to the Guru and the Guru was never worshipped. The Guru had no special authority, status, or social or personal identity. For there to be a Guru there must be a Shishya. When the student became free (moksha) — or to be more accurate, realized that they were always already free — the relationship dissolved, for its purpose was over. Of course, life-long gratitude and friendship remained. The emphasis in this culture was on the liberation of the student, not the status and continuity of the Guru. This is so important. Liberation was considered the domain of and possibility for all ordinary people, not the exclusive territory of so-called enlightened rarified or perfected people, implying that all other people are not perfect. This latter model is our cultural hangover from the great chain of being, whereby we still believe there are people above and below us in an all-pervasive hierarchy of existence, which we might struggle upwards on if we’re lucky.

So-called spiritual systems operating on this antiquated model have only been interested in gathering followers and ensuring their own continuity and power. Power structures co-opted Vedic teachings, taking the beautiful utterances of realizers as their own. Significant examples are Rome with Christ and King Ashoka with Buddha. Wealthy people stole partialities, taking sublime or powerful ideas from the otherwise egalitarian culture of humble shamanic people. The rising elite built temples to create more wealth. They created social idealisms, selling beautiful ideas without the Yogas of participation in Life that are required to actualize them. These patriarchal systems used the poetry of spiritual wisdom (even of the Veda) as mechanisms of power, selling the idea of priest or guru as someone with special access to God, and thereby making the human life and human love seem less than God.

As a result, our actual father’s actual love has been imagined to be less — and unfortunately, our parents’ behaviors, inherited from this patriarchy that deprived them too of love, are often less than loving, thereby affirming the whole sad assumption. We have turned away from the pain of life to look for abstract ideas of love from a perfect person, only to find that no such thing exists. In the pain of the parent-child dysfunction, we transfer the attempt to feel love from parents to the hoax of authorities—most of whom support the illusion—rather than to our actual parents, where real love is, despite it having been obstructed. The teacher is not a substitute for the love of spouse and parents.

Fearful people with the pathological need to be ‘a teacher’ claim authority in order to control and feel secure in their social circumstance. In doing so, they rob individuals of their lives and intrinsic pleasures. The Yogas of participation in life, whereby each person steps free of all artificial hierarchies, are not understood or given in the arbitrary methods of allegiance to an imagined guru and institution. We must emphasize and return now to the original and actual purpose of the primordial religious practice of humanity, the Veda and its Yoga, the liberation of all ordinary people in real life, which allows for the healing of all relationships. ‘Real Yoga for real people.’

This is where the healing must occur: in actual human relationship. To do so, all power structures must be thrown out of your system. In Reality, there is no such thing as social power or unequal relationships. They are a socially contrived swindle and do not truly exist. Yet regretfully, there are many individuals from all walks of life who knowingly or unknowingly exploit the social dynamic of disempowerment that civilization (and therefore our thought structures) are built on. The world is still full of people looking for love from apparently powerful men or women who are imagined to be ‘further up the chain,’ with special access to an ideal—whether this is phrased in spiritual terms or seen in secular terms of success, wealth, or fame. Love can only be found in the natural harmonies of life, such as mother-father-child, or male-female (whether in same-sex or opposite-sex intimacy, as we are all masculine and feminine) as equals and opposites, one empowering the other in the nurturing regenerative power of ‘God’ — reality itself.

Yoga does not occur in power structures, yet ‘yoga’ in its popular forms is unfortunately duplicating the social dynamic of disempowerment. People who are imagined to be superior are followed and emulated… until we realize that no such person exists. This dynamic of seeking is engrained in our thought structures, and people in the world of yoga don’t realize that they are exploiting others or being exploited with arbitrary practices in the attempt to reach a future idealized state…  rather than enjoying the anciently given Yogas of participation in the perfection of reality, which is always already each person’s natural state and beauty.

We live in a time where secular and religious exaggeration and mass stimulation and consumption are ever increasing. Many people legitimately reject the sham of patriarchal religion, only to replace it with the shallow stimulations of the middle-class massage — which is another form of patriarchy, still founded on the lie that we are less and need to become more, whether through prayers, obedience to the head/‘king’, overconsuming food, exciting experiences, drugs, or endless new things. This feeding frenzy has reached such a fever pitch that now our very lives and eco-systems are at risk.

Yet in this time, as in no other, the Yogas are available and human rights are held high in humanity’s great social structures of modern democracy — hard won by the peasants. Each individual can take responsibility for their own life amidst the difficult chaos of our times. Each person can be who they are and claim their God-given skills and intimacy with life in every way, including sexual intimacy. Each can break free of the remnants of the chain of being and respond to the fact that they are arising in and as radiance unfolding as this cosmos. The Yogas of participation that evolved in ancient times can now easily be practiced in sincere and equal relationship with others.

In recognizing this, we can now pass through all the necessary stages of legitimate emotion, in this order: numbness, fear, anger, pain, and grief, until finally the siddhis of compassion and forgiveness naturally arise for ourselves, our parents, and all relationships. By seeing and understanding the shoddy deal that has been dished up to all of us, compassion comes for all and to all.

The patriarchal structure of society must end, as we return to authentic, (honest and real) spiritual life — direct embrace of our own reality, which is arising as power, pure intelligence, and the utter beauty of all natural things in their vast intrinsic harmony with the cosmos. This is simply how it is, and Yoga is merely participation in the way the cosmos is functioning. It is intimacy with all ordinary conditions and the absolute condition of all conditions.

To be clear, the Source and Seen are one, therefore the Seen is full and sufficient. That which is Great is simply spontaneously apparent. The social insanity of denying ordinary conditions (such as sex) for the idea of getting to a source or God-idea is turned on its ear.

I urge those of us who are involved in Yoga, either as students or teachers, to understand that we are not involved in the patriarchy. We are not ‘knowers’ or trying to know. We are not authorities, or subservient to authorities. To be a Yogi is to be exactly what we are, utterly unique manifestations of life participating in life and teaching exactly as we are. Otherwise teaching is merely a gross duplication of obstructive social patterning. All patterning is thrown out of our system as we reside in the natural state. Patriarchal systems may attempt to use Yoga to actualize their beautiful ideals, but if there is real Yoga, their power structures will dissolve as individuals become self-empowered.

The Yogas of participation must be given or the usual guru cultures — from those stemming from Christ and Buddha or Hindu guru hierarchies, through to the popular modern-day forms of guru-ism — are disempowering their followers. Without the technologies of participation in the given Reality, these systems are robbing followers and the broader society of their own reality, sex, and incarnation of individuality.

Human suffering is trying to be something that you are not. We are all the power of this cosmos arising as pure intelligence and utter beauty in perfect intrinsic harmony. This simple fact must be taken seriously and sincerely as a fact, so that the Yogas of participation may begin. We embrace the fact. We don’t ‘teach’ yoga; we share Yoga as we have experienced it ourselves. That is all. There is no social or personal identity in being a teacher or student. We are no more than friends and no less than friends, and Yoga teaching is no more than the flow of nurturing in local community, a natural phenomenon of Mother Nature. We teach the skills of intimate connection with all tangible conditions, which makes possible real relationships with real people, including the healing of the parent-child/adolescent relationship and the male-female intrinsic harmony, the nurturing power of life. We stop looking for love in all the wrong places.

Regretfully, much Yoga has been and still is taught by people imaging themselves to be authorities, but I encourage all to throw off this legacy, this hangover from the ‘chain of being.’ Stand in your own ground and relate to everyOne in and as reality itself in the one unitary movement of life, one to another. No power structures. As Jiddu Krishnamurti said to his friend and teacher T.K.V. Desikachar, ‘Don’t become one more monkey.’ He never did.