Don't be deceived...
Who wants to learn to swim from someone who just sits and splashes around at the waters edge talking, but who does not dare to dive in?
" I don't care whether the teacher has any training. People want a yoga course, and that's what they'll get,"
said a woman who arranged my yoga courses at one of Stockholm's most respected health clubs. My own courses were completely full, with 25 people on the waiting list. She was determined to arrange an extra course and was looking for an instructor, as neither I nor the other teachers at our school were able to take the course. My argument that the quality would drop, if this teacher had insufficient, or no training at all, didn't impress her in the least. This total lack of respect shocked me. To be honest I hadn't thought that things were that bad.
In a naïve kind of way we often see what is written and printed as being true, but be on your guard when it is about yoga and meditation. Someone I know who works as an editor in a publishing firm, recently told me that they receive manuscripts on meditation from people who have never learnt to meditate. They just sit at home and write well-formulated books. The publishing firm does not print these books, because they cannot judge whether the content is correct. But less scrupulous publishers will probably print the books, because there is a great interest and people will buy them.
Last spring, I was asked by another publisher to read through and comment upon a newly translated book on yoga. The translator was professional, but knew nothing about yoga. This resulted in my finding numerous mistakes and misunderstandings in the translation, especially concerning the mind, relaxation and meditation. I discovered that if one does not have a good working knowledge of the subject, then it is impossible to know how certain words and expressions should be translated. And how many translators have that knowledge?
Those who do not have a thorough knowledge of meditation, often resort to nature and confuse beautiful experiences such as looking out over the sea at sunset, with meditation. But there are important differences. When you are out in the countryside, it is the tranquillity that is there which makes you feel more harmonious. Pleasant, of course, but how much satisfaction do you get out of that when you are in a pressing situation at work?
With yoga and meditation, you find tranquillity within. You learn to rest within your self. This experience you bring with you into your daily life - and you can return to your self when you want to.
Do not be deceived by angelic people, who meditate on exotic beaches with swaying palms. Of course it is nice to meditate when on holiday in the Bahamas, but yoga and meditation belong most of all in daily life.
(Also see next article.)