Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] East and West - Critics and Old Paths
- A good book on Western "yogic" myths is:
The Body of Myth: Mythology, Shamanic Trance, and the Sacred Geography of the BodyThe bulk of the book is devoted to Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian prehistorical legends as they sprang from our ancestors' anatomy. This is a fascinating read for the epistemologically curious among us, and certainly for the self-absorbed. One imagines Pogo commenting, "We have met the origins of our mythology, and he is us.
The book's organization is unorthodox, yet it succeeds in convincing the reader that there is definitely a physical connection between the human body and mythologies. Sansonese, who has practiced raja yoga for years and here shows how yoga can be used as an effective means of attaining a deeper self-consciousness, reveals himself to be a natural successor to Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Readers in public and academic libraries who appreciate and delight in the juxtaposition of science and religion, East and West, will especially enjoy this esoteric volume.
- Often Western individuals follow the old paths of the East. Then, some move to
more Western practices. For example, Scaligero practiced raja yoga for many
years, until he found that Steiner's meditation allowed him to achieve those
results he was seeking, but could not attain through yoga or other methods.
Scaligero recognized the meaning of the development of rational thinking and
Western science in relationship with inner practice. Yoga practice belonged to
an individual that did not yet experience the concept as pure synthesis, but as
a transcendent superindividual element. Yoga is not necessary anymore because
human consciousness has changed.
Aurobindo is an example of Eastern teachers who begin to see the connection with
What about the East? Human consciousness has evolved to the current level of
abstractness, basically worldwide. Several decades ago was already rare to find,
in remote parts of the world, individuals whose consciousness had their
foundation not in their head, but mainly in their heart.
Today, abstractness is the ordinary level of consciousness of any population in
In this sense I wonder if we can even really distinguish a Western from an
Eastern individual, today.
An example cited by Scaligero was represented by the school of Kyoto and Nishida
For Kitaro we need to move beyond speculation to experience thinking, not
through old methods of contemplation, but within thinking as pure experience or
Where is the discrimination? Yoga represents a set of teachings that was adapted
through millennia to overcome the impediments to the spiritual imposed by the
Kali Yuga. It was designed to fit the possibilities of a different level of
consciousness still able to experience breathing as something more than just a
mechanical process. Today's consciousness is completely abstract and those paths
are not suitable anymore. Do some individuals still need to practice yoga? It
seems so, but at a certain point they may realize that the barrier is within
thinking, and that thinking cannot be skipped. Scaligero understood this.
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- Recently, waldorf critics cited Giovanni Colazza with reference to a lecture
held by Dr. Colazza at the Theosophical group 'Roma', in April 1910, entitled
"Breathing and Occultism." Colazza suggested that oriental forms of meditation
were not suitable for Western bodies, because of the different social
environment and inner constitution.
"The intent of exclusively applying Indian methods in our time and to our race,
means to disregard the evolution that has considerably modified the possibility
of our organism, and the new spiritual currents that are being introduced in the
Massimo Scaligero, in his "Yoga Meditation Magic," wrote: "One is a Western
person because has proceeded beyond the East, through a Spiritual activity about
which we are not yet spiritually conscious . The absence of such consciousness
is the evil of the Western soul, which, in fact, does not need the Oriental
metaphysics, but its own. The real problem of our civilization is that it
attains its own metaphysics, not that it exhumes the metaphysics from those
traditions that it already had the force to leave behind itself. One day it will
realize that by having left those traditions behind it operated through the
highest power of the Spirit. On the condition of becoming conscious of that. . .
. The most recent psychosomatic structure of Man, in fact, shows a change that
can be recognized as a transition from a sentient-rational consciousness to the
determinacy of the "consciousness soul," which characteristic is the
self-limitation to the position of what is real as the absolute sensorial
It would be unreasonable today to deny the millenary experience of the West,
from Greek philosophy, to the beginning of the scientific method, to modern
rationality, only to revert to past stages of consciousness that have been
overcome. Logically, Steiner was teaching that modern Western individuals should
not practice oriental disciplines. For many, however, the beginning of the
practice begins with those past methods, from which they eventually move on to
more contemporary paths.
It would be quite unreasonable to expect that the greatest teacher of the West
suggested to his disciples to follow the old paths of the East. The West has
gone beyond the East because the East paved the way to the birth of the concept
in Greece. Without the work of the original Yoga, brought to India by the
population that originally came from Europe, the West would have not have
discovered the concept.
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