Yoga Articles by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad
On Yoga and Evolution
In the mid-Sixties, many people believed that we were on the verge of an exciting and glorious new age in human evolution. The popular song, “Aquarius,” captured the spirit, proclaiming that we would soon enjoy the fruits of “harmony and understanding... sympathy and peace ... mystic crystal revelations and the mind's true liberation.” Many of us naively expected the human race to smoothly and quickly cultivate the earth into a new Eden. During the late Seventies, however, it seemed that this emerging paradise might succumb to a blight of old values - buds and unripe fruit gobbled up by the "me generation." Or worse, it might be totally consumed by the raging fires of modern times - such as nuclear holocaust, pollution, over-population and material shortages. Optimists believed we were experiencing growing pains, but the cynical wondered if there really was a new age. Today, the question of a new age (or perhaps we should say "new values" and bring the concept down to earth where it belongs) is more important than ever, for without some major changes in the next decade, we may not have the luxury of speculating about the 1990's. With this in mind, we asked a number of leaders in the spiritual/growth movement what we could expect in the 1980's, and what influence their particular teachings might have on the world. Trying to pin them down, we asked whether the new age would blossom, wither, or remain the same. We think that you will be stimulated, challenged, and perhaps amused by these thought provoking respons.
- Yoga Journal January 1980
Some historical moments are more critical than others. Transitional periods are such times. We live in a culture and a world that are in transition. What transition actually means is transformation, for as old ways of being crumble, we, individually and as a species, must forge new meanings into life. We are at a cusp point in our evolution - dangling between the pleasures of adolescence and the urgency of adulthood. Maturation comes when the spectrum of awareness broadens, becoming more inclusive. Yoga is an age-old process of transformation that can be creatively adapted to the needs of the times. It helps break through the habits of mind and body that bind us, opening up new ways of relating to each other and the world. It also brings sensitivity, response-ability (in its literal sense), and the flexibility that allows us to assimilate change. In the coming years, we need to further develop these capacities to meet the challenges of the times. Yoga, at its core, is looking within to understand the timeless question, “Who am I?”As you delve into the deepest regions of your being, the knowledge that comes is not merely about you, the individual, but includes the understanding of your self as part of the total fabric of life and as an active participant in the process of evolution. The expanding of consciousness that is the essence of evolution, actually gives us the capacity for depth of communication. Yoga is essentially opening up to deep communication within yourself, which leads to transformation. When the parts of the whole open up to each other - breaking the boundaries of separateness - real communication, which is communion, occurs. This allows you to touch the existential reality of others and share deeply in the movement of life.
Joel Kramer is an internationally known Yogi and Philosopher. He is the author of “The Passionate Mind" and the widely acclaimed "Guru Papers” with Diana Alstad. Joel serves as a Trustee on the board of the White Lotus Foundation.