Wednesday, 19 November 2014

think different or the great and final samādhi

Writing for the ever excellent Boing Boing, Jason Louv presents a very fine accounting of the parting gift that Steve Jobs shared with those friends, family members and associates, copies of the Autobiography of a Yogi, with a biography of the guru challenged to come to America to impart Hindu meditation to the West. The yogi’s story and success in introducing some of these practices in the 1920s and 30s have a significant legacy and have impacted many. As the author lucidly demonstrates, however, the notions of yoga and relaxation as imported—without a guru to oversee the export—become rather muddled, since the mental exercises are only aides, discipline-builders and not ends in themselves: meditation is not about self-help but rather liberation from self. The idea of abandoning one’s identity to be subsumed by the Cosmos does rather chafe at the ideals held by many Americans about self-reliance and selfhood and does seem infinitely elusive, but objectivity, tranquility and the courage to look inward is something that we can all strive for.