352 pages, 9.18 × 6.12 × 0.77 in
May 29, 2007
Random House Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0553380540
ISBN - 13: 9780553380545
Read from the Book
Chapter 1THE SECRET STRENGTHOF DISILLUSIONMENTSAMVEGA: TURNING AWAY FROM THE BONEDuring the summer of his “breakdown,” all Jake knew was that he couldn’t go backward, and apparently he wouldn’t go forward. The experience of direct involvement with the present moment was just the place in which he had previously been unable to dwell. He was determined now to stay put. He knew that, paradoxically, some great success was buried within his failure. He sensed that he had had some kind of awakening. But what was it?Yogis call this state samvega–a complex state involving a kind of disillusionment with mundane life, and a wholehearted longing for a deeper investigation into the inner workings of the mind and the self.1 Samvega, as described by the contemporary Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu, involves “at least three clusters of feelings at once”:the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it’s normally lived; a chastening sense of our own complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly; and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle.2Samvega is a developmental state not mentioned in Western psychological texts. It brings with it a realization that objects of grasping (money, fine things, titles, fame, even people–when seen as objects) cannot supply any true satisfaction. It involves a radical realization that all objects are intrinsically empty of
From the Publisher
For modern spiritual seekers and yoga students alike, here is an irreverent yet profound guide to the most sophisticated teachings of the yoga wisdom tradition–now brought to contemporary life by a celebrated author, psychotherapist, and leading American yoga instructor.
While many Westerners still think of yoga as an invigorating series of postures and breathing exercises, these physical practices are only part of a vast and ancient spiritual science. For more than three millennia, yoga sages systematically explored the essential questions of our human existence: What are the root causes of suffering, and how can we achieve freedom and happiness? What would it be like to function at the maximum potential of our minds, bodies, and spirits? What is an optimal human life?
Nowhere have their discoveries been more brilliantly distilled than in a short–but famously difficult–treatise called the Yogasutra. This revered text lays out the entire path of inner development in remarkable detail–ranging from practices that build character and mental power to the highest reaches of spiritual realization.
Now Stephen Cope unlocks the teachings of the Yogasutra by showing them at work in the lives of a group of friends and fellow yoga students who are confronting the full modern catastrophe of careers, relationships, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Interweaving their daily dilemmas with insights from modern psychology, neuroscience, religion, and philosophy, he shows the astonishing relevance and practicality of this timeless psychology of awakening.
Leavened with wit and passion, The Wisdom of Yoga is a superb companion and guide for anyone seeking enhanced creativity, better relationships, and a more ethical and graceful way of living in the world.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Stephen Cope is a psychotherapist, senior Kripalu yoga teacher, and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. He is currently Senior Scholar in Residence at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts.
From the Hardcover edition.