The Problem of Free Yoga & Meditation
(Please note: This article is being quite misunderstood by many, so I am adding this note up here to prevent more confusion. I am not asking for anything in return for the free yoga, and I not complaining about anything. This article is about whether the psychology of determining value based on money, makes that which is free less valued. Which would then lead to a less serious approach to the practice and thus, fewer benefits for the practitioners).
When I was growing up I would often visit Arsha Vaidya Gurukulam located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. This ashram is headed by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who he is a great proponent of Advaita Vedanta (teachings of non-duality). I would spend my time there listening to his lectures on the Bhagawat Gita, taking Hatha Yoga classes and discussing my favorite topic, meditation of course, with the other yogis and sanyasis (monks).
In addition, I had the honor of saving millions of tadpoles from certain death, by transferring them to a nearby brook from an unused swimming pool, where they had made their home. The ashram had decided to refurbish the pool and Swamiji did not want to see the tadpoles killed, so I was tasked with netting and migrating them to the stream. It was one of the best summer’s of my young life .
What I liked best about the set-up that Swamiji had put together, was that there was no charge for anything at the ashram. Everything was for free and one gave back however they could. I, by doing Karma Yoga (Right Work) and others in their own way. This is how it was done in the days of old and as much as possible this system is obviously the one I prefer as well. Thus, the free online classes, free yoga videos, free meditation books, free pranayama books, etc, etc . And yes, for those who might be wondering, I intend to keep it that way as much as I can .
There is one issue though, with regard to free yoga and meditation, that has been lurking in my mind for some time and one that others have pointed out as well, which I would like to discuss in this article. In the old days, if you wanted to learn powerful yogic techniques or profound meditations, you perhaps did not have to pay, but you did have to earn it. And in general you earned it by winning the favor of the teacher. In other words, the teachers would teach you if they felt you were worthy and had earned this privilege. I am glad that too is no longer the case though, because this then lead to those with the knowledge wielding it for power, the formation of secret societies and what not. So I like this new paradigm, where the knowledge is not only for free, but it is also freely available to all who seek it. Here though is my issue.
In the modern world, whether we like it or not, money is often the yardstick used to measure an item’s worth. The more you pay for something, the better you expect that product to be. In our consumer driven economy, this aspect has become very ingrained and now is almost a part of our psychology. This psychology, of determining value based on price though, creates a problem for my everything free paradigm. In that, I wonder if the free yoga and meditation teachings are not getting their due respect because they do not have to be paid for?
I want to mention here that this certainly may not apply to you, so please don’t be offended or take this the wrong way. Neither am I whining or complaining, or asking for gratitude or anything. This is just something that I think may apply to some and I am discussing it as I feel it is valuable to assess this possibility, in order to ensure one is not getting unconsciously caught in this way of thinking. If this way of thinking is coloring your view, then it could be affecting how much you are getting out of the free information on this website, because it will affect how much effort you are putting in.
I think this is an interesting point. If, let’s say you had paid $1,000 for access to all the online yoga and mediation classes. I am sure your approach to them would be very serious and diligent. After all, you have to get your money’s worth! But, since they are free, perhaps your approach is a little more casual, a little more relaxed. Perhaps you are not as committed as you would be, if you had to plunk down a grand in order to be able to access them? This is what I fear most with regard to giving away everything for free. That you may not give your hundred percent to it, and that would mean you wont get the maximum benefits and results.
The benefits of yoga and meditation are profound. They are real. They have been proven time and again by research and scientific study, so there is no question regarding the awesome value of these practices. But, the caveat is that they must be practiced regularly in order to bestow their blessings onto you. That requires you to value the teachings and commit to your practice one hundred percent. So if you must, please imagine you have paid me all your savings for access to this website and now believing that, approach the teachings and programs you find here.
There is nothing in this world that compares to meditation. There is nothing even remotely as valuable. Meditation is the light that will make you realize you are everything, what more do you need?