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Thursday
Sep132012

The Advaita Life Practice - Excerpt from Essay One

The Advaita Life Practice, authored by Jayant Kalawar, now available on Amazon

 

The world we live in, at the start of the second decade of the twenty-first century, calls for maximizing material wellbeing. Across the globe, there is one underlying assumption that seems to be shared in our striving for material wellbeing: All human endeavors are based on the impulse to learn how to decrease the apparent uncertainty of experience and extend continuity, and that the only way to decrease uncertainty and maintain preferred experience is by increasing material acquisition.

I will make one provocative suggestion here: when you embark on understanding the teachings of the Advaita traditions, your thoughts about the current paradigm that calls for an ever-growing acquisition of material things will be subverted. The Bhagavad Gita for instance, which serves for many as a compendium text of these teachings, calls us to move away from a singular focus on the material and towards a balance between the material and the subtle. Even the process of becoming aware of one’s breath as a very first step, when practiced in a persistent and sustained manner over a period of time, will give you peace and calm – but the probability of making that next million dollars will likely decrease as your focus changes.

The Advaita teachings are not narrowly focused on the strategic and practical; following them, as Advaita Life Coaching (ALC) guides you, is a matter of a way of life and not a simple quick-fix for occasional problems of life. It is indeed a risky venture, to be undertaken only after contemplating all the pros and cons of the commitment in the context of your life goals. Many of us who start out on this journey may end up sticking to only some of the initial practices – something you can pick up in one of the hundreds of yoga classes that have sprung up around the world – in the hope that they will assist you in managing the stresses of living in the current paradigm of material acquisition where success is defined as the size of one’s dollar net-worth. For some practitioners it may indeed help in accomplishing just that. However, such a mall yoga approach has a low probability of taking us closer to becoming deeply aware of our subtle selves and truly balanced in our practical life in the world that is the core goal of the Advaita practice and of Advaita Life Coaching. 

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