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Swami Asokananda and Avi Gordon discuss courage versus conformity, discipline, and moving towards loving unconditionally.

A monk since 1975, Swami Asokananda is one of Integral Yoga’s® foremost teachers—known for his warmth, intelligence, and good humor. His teaching comes out of his own practice and experience while absorbing the wisdom of his Guru, Sri Swami Satchidananda. While he enjoys sharing the practical wisdom of yogic philosophy (especially the great Indian scripture, the Bhagavad Gita), he also loves his practice of Hatha Yoga.

He presently serves as president of the IY Institute in New York City. Before this position, he served as the President of Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville and Integral Yoga International.

Quotes from the Conversation:

* I would say [it’s] even fun just to be who you are. It’s a lot of stress to be something you’re not or try to project an image that’s not quite the reality for you. It’s more relaxing to..”yep, this is who I am. And I’m ok with that.

* I try to be like a good in a way traditional Integral Yogi, but as Asokananda expresses that which may not conform to the norm, and I’d rather risk that than be inauthentic to myself.

* It’s not ok because it’s ok, it’s ok because it happened. * I’m more influential by letting go of control.

* It’s your job to relax. It’s your job to love. End of story. Do your job.


  • Integral Yoga Institute of New York:


Avi 0:00
There's no problems. There's no no seeking, nothing missing. Okay, it makes me think of this. Okay, this idea of priority and the importance of it. It's our job to relax. It's our job to love. End of story. Do your job. There's so much to respond to around this one. All right. Hello and welcome. so honored to be joined today by Swami Yogananda. Before we dive in a little bit about Swami Ji, he's been a monk since 1975. He was one of integral Yoga is foremost teachers. Known for his warmth, intelligence and good humor. His teachings come out of his own practice and experience while absorbing the wisdom of his guru Shri Swami satchidananda. While he enjoys sharing the practical wisdom of yogic philosophy, especially the great Indian scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, he also loves his practice of hatha yoga. He presently serves as president of the integral yoga Institute in New York City. And before this position, he served as the president of satchidananda Ashram, yoga Ville, and integral YOGA INTERNATIONAL. So thank you so much for joining me today. Swamiji.

Swami Asokananda 1:23
Thank you so much, Avi, for inviting me. This is my second time doing a podcast with you. And you really are a master at leading this podcast.

Avi 1:37
Thank you. I want to start by asking you this question. Are you having fun?

Swami Asokananda 1:49
What's the so important question? I think my mind is still learning how to have fun. It's not established and fun. So it can take things very serious. And then it's it can switch you can flip and then I'm enjoying things again.

I think my mistakes as my son does help me to distinguish between the part of me that is enjoying whatever Come what may, hello, hi water. I can enjoy your life. And the part that gets caught up in its reactive nature and the story it tells itself about what's going on and how difficult things are.

I was watching a podcast of Eckhart Tolle recently, and he was talking about doers and builders. He says that, you know, the world recognized Dewar's more beers are appreciated that much. And he was saying how important being is, and he was saying he's boasting more of a beer is like 300 emails, he hasn't gotten to. He doesn't function that well in the world. But his his doing is to talk about being and he does very well. And it made me think that what's fun for me is being to be present. Wherever the situation and I'll be 70 my next birthday. I'm thinking maybe I can, they can be a little less doing in my life. But that, that that's not what's being presented to me. And I have to trust my guru that if I was really ready for being more, then that's what would be available to me right now being pressed into more and more doing more of a leadership role. I prefer to be the person with the blue the corner will recognize me as an important person. But so you know, I have to follow Bhagavad Gita that you have to be and do the undo. And yeah, you should have fun doing it. Don't take it that seriously.

I do believe that this is like Tibetans talk about it's like a waking dream. we're projecting our own reality. So I think it does take some training to have first have a better dream.

And then to the spirits. That's the psychological work. The spiritual work is the wake up from the dream. And then I think things really get to be fun. But I think if we do our word psychological work, I think we can have at least more fun, even while we're in the, in the midst of the dream. That's a bit of a long winded answer to that question.

Avi 5:33
Yeah, it but it feels like such an honest answer. of curious, I

Swami Asokananda 5:41
could have just said I could have just said, you know, of course, I'm having fun with you, Nanda, you know, I mean, this, but I think you invited me on the first person went twice, because I don't talk what

Avi 5:57
do you think you might have answered more that way, you know, in the past, and now, kind of having the integrity to be fully honest, has become more of a priority? Or is that just the way that you've always been?

Swami Asokananda 6:11
I've been this way for a while. In my early years, I would never be that forthright. I would present the image that you're looking for, excuse me. And the image that I'm looking for, probably the first 15 years. Like I took some Justin 75. So I would say 1990. I would have said of course, a shock, Amanda, and the bliss of being free from worry and sorrow. How should I be? And then I realized that it's actually more I would say, even fun, just to be who you are. It's all it's all the stress to be something you're not trying to project an image that it's not quite the reality for you. It's, it's more relaxing to Yeah, yep. This is why I'm okay with that.

Avi 7:16
It does feel so much more relaxing. state of being, which is associated with fun, like, I love that you've associated fun fun with being because that's my experience, too. And I wonder, you know, what, what's between me and being? You know, what, what does that I mean, I think you spoke about this a little bit, but it seems like such a natural thing to be like, yeah, of course that I mean, that is what we're doing anyway. We're just we're just being, but it's almost like we forget that we're allowed to simply exist and be.

Swami Asokananda 7:53
Yeah. Yeah. Do you see little children before they try to project any image? Make no mistake, we having fun? A lot of fun? Yeah. Now, just before this podcast, I was responding to Lady Natalie, who feels so much societal pressure to be something that she's not. And she, I like what she said. So I really, you know, I don't think of myself as a religious person. But I feel as a spiritual person. And I really appreciate the integral Yoga has allowed me to explore my own path gave me the freedom, which I didn't get from other religious traditions. Yesterday, we had a Bhagavad Gita study group. And we're talking about how challenging it is to be, you're fine. And to express you're more of an authentic self. And one of the participants gave the example when she was in kindergarten, and she was doing finger painting. And she really liked what she'd done finger painting with the teacher said, No, no, that's that's not what we're doing. You're not doing it right. And she should know she's probably in her 60s now. She boarded it up yesterday. It made the head conversing the effect it had on her. You're not doing it right. That's not what we're doing. I read a I read a quote Reese I forget who said it. courage.

Courage is not about somebody not being afraid. Courage is Courage on the opposite of courage is not it's not fear somebody's got the opposite of courage is conformity.

And there is a lot of pressure. If you want to be a part of the herd, even I think was shady is learning that now. The publican party, I don't follow that at all, she was just voted out of her leadership position, because she didn't come confer conform with the other Republicans. The sub much pressure to conform, if you want to have a place in society. And I do think that that does dampen the pleasure and the fun of the unique expression of the light. So yeah, I, I tried to be like, a good in a way, traditional integral Yogi. But as a shortcut, Nanda expresses that which may not be, may not conform to the norm. And I, I'd rather risk that than he can authentic to myself.

Avi 11:33
So what I'm hearing you say a little bit, is, is, is kind of you've, you've set the intention to have like this meeting place between two worlds a little bit, like, Okay, I'm an integral Yogi, you know, I follow these teachings this path. At the same time, I am also an individual self, and I realized that allowing that individuality to express itself is key to my, to my health.

Swami Asokananda 12:03
Right? I'd like to hear you're expressing it better than I did it more succinctly. And clearly. Yeah, that's very true. I think related to what you're saying, I'm taking a tangent, but up. I've been thinking about this lately. About control. I see my, my needs to want things to go a certain way. And I see the importance of, you know, sit back, see how things unfold. I think it was one in one of your short sayings. I think it got it from that said, How do you know if something was supposed to happen? Because it happened, you know? So, is that is that from you? Or suddenly?

Unknown Speaker 13:01
Yeah. They may have been like a week or two ago. So yeah, I think it was. Yeah,

Avi 13:10
it's not okay. Because it's okay. It's okay. Because it happened.

Swami Asokananda 13:18
I hope people are getting your, your short one liners Really? What it is, is a really special. But yeah, so I see I need to be think less in terms of control. And I need to also express myself more. And it may seem like this paradoxical like, but the, like I was in situation recently. I'll give two examples where, one I didn't want to be at a meeting where someone's going to be at this meeting. I expressed that. And then I realized they may be there. Let's see how it goes. I wrote back to the chairperson. Forget about what I said. Let's just see how it unfolds. And I was kind of proud of myself that I said, I'm not going to control it. And then I was at a meeting where the meeting was not going the way the agenda was planned. And I sat back and watched it. And I realize No, that was a place where you were supposed to keep we're supposed to express yourself.

What Why didn't you express yourself? Because there was some anxiety about rocking the boat. So I let things unfold the way they unfolded, but I knew after It said, I chickened out.

So it's very interesting. This this, finding that balance of you just watch what God run the show. And you also watch within and see, and they paint the room that's supposed to be playing at this moment. Or am I holding back? And it's been too timid. For whatever reason for change topics, or

Avi 15:32
no, no, it's beautiful, doesn't matter. What I want to ask about that, though, is like, like the power of radical acceptance, like, is that the role that I'm, I'm supposed to be playing the most, like, one that has faith? So taking, taking your example, right? So even if I feel that in that moment of the meeting, you know, maybe it was the right thing to do, to speak up, right? The ultimate right thing is to see that that, again, it it happened. So it's perfect because it happened. And so what was really supposed to happen there was for you to not say anything for you to realize afterwards that you as you put it chickened out, to learn a lesson that perhaps you can take with you yourself to the future. And then the next time, you would react in a way that maybe you feel better about, like, you see what I'm saying?

Swami Asokananda 16:32
I agree with that. I didn't speak up. That was to be perfect. And next time, I'm going to watch that and I plant this express myself. So exactly how you put it that was and yeah, the radical acceptance means I accept that. I was supposed to speak up there because I didn't. And I accept, I'm not going to be down on myself. I accept myself because I chickened out. And I'm not complacent about that I accept myself and I'm going to make use of that. judging myself harshly is not is not the way to improve.

Avi 17:20
Right. And maybe that's that connects back to how we started in terms of the fun. Like maybe that's the that's the goal of having fun. When I judge myself so harshly instead of just like being light about it and accepting, okay, like this happened in the past? Like, I like to ask how quickly can I put the past away where it belongs in the past? Right? And I don't think I don't think being hard on myself, allows me to learn lessons more easily than if I'm, if I'm light about it. I don't I don't know about you. And maybe maybe maybe there's something there maybe kind of being more of a taskmaster, Master yourself. There is some productivity that comes from that. But I tend to find like a certain lightness in the joy of playing the game and learning lessons tends to lead to more results. I would say.

Swami Asokananda 18:11
I'm with you on that, Robbie. Yeah, I did enough taskmaster myself. Maybe it had some headers, please. From my tamasic side, I have to say get up man, your lazy fellow. Now, that now that harshness doesn't work well for me anymore.

Avi 18:38
Maybe, maybe this is a nice place to transition to another topic that I wanted to ask you about.

Swami Asokananda 18:45
Let me mention one thing though. Yeah, sure. I'll mention one thing. today. Yeah. Today I there's a woman in Europe that I mentor, and we had our mentor meeting today. And I'm really trying to fight you know, how how do you encourage someone to be more disciplined? And I really, you know, has to come from the person. I think grid I've always said that, you know, I don't want you guys meditating because of me, you know you have to feel the need yourself. And I don't want this lady going to bed earlier and getting up early and doing some practice because of my recommendation. So I see that with her mind also and probably most people's mind. I have to find that in. That makes. Why would I want to go to bed earlier. Not because you're doing something wrong by staying up late. Not be the benefit of going to bed early or waking up early or doing some practice. There has to be some, I would say fun, for the mind, some pleasure for the mind. Otherwise, it's nice to stay up late not worried about going to bed early and watching movies and things. That's why would Why would I want to deny yourself that shine? So I think discipline also has to be applied in the way that the mind sees the upside. I

Avi 20:47
have so much to respond to around this one. Well, first, I'll say that I think I found that one of the challenge most challenging aspects of of being a human being his relationship with other people and really wanting to help them and serve them. But accepting that self discovery is the way and as you put it, people have to figure things out in their own time. And as clearly as I might see it, see what someone else you know, could be doing to add to the health of their lives. No matter how articulate I am, no matter how clearly I can define it. If they're not ready to, to see it, then it's not going to happen. And that's just the name of the game. And I felt a lot of frustration around this in my life. And ultimately, I've, I've come to the conclusion that the best way to serve other people, is by showing them an example, and just constantly going into my internal work. And there's always more internal work to do. And that maybe they'll see something in me in their own time that says, Oh, I can do that, too. I want to do that. Also, it is possible. And it's still it's it doesn't satisfy me completely. But I feel like that's the best. The best I can do. So I'll say that. And then the other thing on top of it just in terms of discipline. You know,

Swami Asokananda 22:20
I before? Yeah, got to keep that in mind. Yeah, yeah, I think that's where the being comes in, you know, I can't make it do something. This is how I'm living my life. I'm feeling the benefit of it. So rather than making it doing to make my it's my doing to make you more disciplined on my being may spread that around, I'd rather help you in that way. Sorry, for interrupting.

Avi 22:54
No, no, it's fine. And it makes me think of the power of vulnerability to, like in, in conversation, I found that expressing what's happening inside of me, and my story also has a power to it that might be effective, as opposed to telling someone else, you know, oh, maybe you should do this, you should try that this would be good for instead of that just just sharing what's happening inside for me. I think that might be more effective.

Swami Asokananda 23:24
I do I totally find that. And that's, I'd rather teach that way if I'm going to so called teach or try to share my path with others. Yeah, I'd rather I'd much rather do it that way. This is what I do. This is what works for me. This is what doesn't work. Yeah, I feel that what I was gonna say, Yeah, okay. Good. Yeah, I

Avi 23:52
was gonna say around discipline, you know, that. I think discipline has a bad rap. In a way, because, you know, discipline. I think the point of it really is to make us more free. Right, exactly. So it's not this, like, it doesn't have to be like this hard, painful type of practice. It's a practice that I choose. Because I've had some insight that by taking on this practice, I'm going to feel better and therefore be more free and happy.

Swami Asokananda 24:29
You know, we have to make so many choices in our daily life. But it's better than something just become habits you have to make choices. If you're, if you're if everything is is a decision you have to make, that's it's too much for the mind. It's better to have habits or a certain rhythm and safe decision making for the bigger stuff but So I don't I don't I see people who say, oh, should I meditate this morning? Should I do my hatha, or feel like it? I would never ask myself that, what do I want to give the mind that type of choice? Let's just do practice. There's no resistance. I'm not, I'm not asking anyone's opinion inside myself.

Avi 25:28
I see it a little bit as a relationship between our past and present selves. When you when you speak about that, I consider that your, your past self is actually it's helping your present self. Because when you're talking about, you're making it into a habit, and there isn't really a choice in the present self. So like, at some point in the past, I would guess that you had an insight that meditating is so beneficial, and you love it so much, that this is going to become a daily practice. And that was so strong, that now there's no choice because you just know that so the mind has has no control. So that's how I see it a little bit. Like, sometimes I thank my past self for what it decided to do. At the same time, though, I feel that it's important to reassess at some point and and just ask, am I still in alignment with my past self? Because sometimes promises that we've made like way, way in the past can, I think hold us back in terms of the the wisdom that can be gained by our future self through more more experience? So I don't want to do that, either.

Swami Asokananda 26:48
That's a good point. Yeah, I mean, I have never really assess whether my meditation practice should be reevaluated. And I may not do that in this lifetime. I just, I may just may stick to that. That old, past self affirmation. But you know, I don't like to use something else as an example. But what comes to mind is tree Iyengar, the great Hatha Yoga Master, when you reach a certain age, his guru, Krishna Acharya said that you should back away from our heart and go deeper into meditation practice.

And he said, he said, No, I can't do that. I won't be able to do that. And that's the case where, you know, the Guru is encouraging that what you just said that the evaluation of where your emphasis is,

I would need something like that I would need something like grouard of coming up to me and saying, you know, you're, you're meditating too much cut back on your house, and be of more service to do more karma yoga. But I do think there are areas in our life that it's good. Maybe that's New Year's, it's for a reassessment of what you're doing and just the right trajectory for me. I think I do that. Also. I do come up, you know, each year I I meditate on my yearly goals. I look at the past year's goals. I think about the coming year. And it is a time for me to try to do what you just said is okay. This is how I've been moving forward. Is that still work for you is so honest. Yeah, yeah.

Avi 29:16
Again, I think we all get to decide like that's part of the play and the freedom in life I that I think we forget sometimes, like, you know, we don't need to be living anyone else's lives. Just our own. So

Swami Asokananda 29:30
yeah, I saw I saw this card to what you said maybe think of it. Or it was who's the dad in The Simpsons? What's his name? Not support. Homer, Homer. Homer. I forgot what he's doing some bad habit. And his wife as large as his wife in March. Yeah. What's his word? March versus Homer. You know, this is going to be a problem. You know, we please stopped And Homer says, I'm enjoying myself. That's a problem for the future Homer, let him worry about that.

And I think we it's funny, right? But we, we, we send it to us all the time, right? Okay, I'm gonna eat this. And that's a problem for the future, I'm sure. Whatever it is, right,

Avi 30:28
it just makes me think about balance, right? Because there's a part of that, that that's beautiful, too, about living living in the moment. It's this balance of living in the moment. And then also, you know, not hamstringing your future self. Either. Yeah,

Swami Asokananda 30:44
that's what you're trying to say. But this interesting thing about discipline, it gives you a pathway, but it should be a pathway to freedom in some ways.

Avi 31:00
Yeah, you know, it makes me think of gratitude to, I could say that it's the most important, important practice in my life, because it's flipped everything over. And it's just honestly made me a much less spoiled human being, thinking that I'm entitled to a certain amount of time and a certain amount of things and a certain level of experiences, like, you know, pleasurable experiences. So that helps with discipline a lot. Because every moment,

Swami Asokananda 31:34
yeah. Now, what is the relationship of gratitude and discipline? That's very interesting.

Avi 31:42
Yeah, because it really, it, it helps to accept and even find joy, in maybe more, you know, less exciting experiences that I'm having. Because when that part of me that obvious says, Oh, I'd prefer to be doing something, something else will, like, I acknowledged right away that that is, I would say, a more immature part of myself a lower part of myself, and this is not how life works. You know, you don't get to be doing the high levels. The high level of things all the time.

Swami Asokananda 32:23
Yeah. Yeah. I, that's so wonderful, our heated mind. Yeah, by being grateful for what is, and I keep your eyes open to all the things to be grateful for.

Keeps you more in the present, and recognizing that you're getting fulfilled in this moment. And that's, I think that's an aspect of the highest discipline is to feel fulfilled in the moment.

I think everything we're doing is maybe, for that purpose. And, and I like to rule that you express that gratitude that gratitude has that

Avi 33:14
actually reminded me of something that you brought up earlier that I wanted to comment on. You mentioned this like paradox around control, I think, and really challenges. Yeah, I found this to be the experience, too, that when I let go to when I let go of control, and kind of fall into the flow of life, like I'm just letting go into the flow of my life. Somehow, it feels like some control is actually gained there. Which is such a weird thing. I don't know if you have this experience. But it's like by letting go, Why by letting go of control, more control is gained.

Swami Asokananda 33:56
Yeah. It'd be hard for me to put that into words, how that works. But I think I have the sense that what you're saying is true. I certainly have more control over my own reactions, by letting go. And by doing that, I'm more present in the situation. And I actually have more power in that situation when power sorry, were more influential. Bye by letting go of control. I'm not I'm not a real. I'm not a reactive person at that moment. Yeah.

Avi 34:40
Right. And I don't know if I'm as an ego centered person, either at that moment, which so it's coming to me now is like, by letting go and having this feeling of lightness, I have the ability to see more clearly. And just by seeing more clearly, control is gained, or like when I'm really stuck in my persona. In my ego, I feel like I have blinders on. I want something to happen, and therefore I'm not seeing the totality of the gameboard.

Swami Asokananda 35:11
Yeah, there's something about seeing giving us more control over what's in front of us. Because we're not, we're not narrowing the scope of that experience. That's a very, that's a deep understanding. Yeah. Well, I also wanted to ask you, you're gonna change the subject. Yeah.

Avi 35:42
Yeah, I wanted to ask you about love and your anything to share around love and, and yoga and on the path? Like, What place does does love have in your practice?

Swami Asokananda 36:06
Yeah, I think love is my goal. It's a state of mind separation from everything. I think I can't force big love into the little self.

I think the little self has to go into the big one. I think I can help the little self too. Tap into better into the big dog tends to be a little more conceptual, when I do that.

Rather experiential. Pretty much about trying to push something to happen. I think it has to also do what we talked about earlier. No.

Not so judgmental to myself. Not so harsh on myself. If I can have this radical acceptance that, okay, I should have spoken up there. I did. That means I wasn't supposed to. And I'm okay with myself. And I think next time, there's a good chance for us to come. That's the kind of love which I couldn't give myself in the past. And if I could love myself, that way, I think I can begin to look at you. And settling to where you're at. Step into your shoes more. I can't do that if I'm stuck in my own shoes. But if I can step into your shoes more, I'm not talking about a very high surface thing, just a little bit more empathy. Then I think people will feel that it's not. I'll feel it as I'll feel with this. Something bigger than my normal connectivity with people.

But in the end, I think my I might live, I can't vote. This best you can do is to get out of the way. That's controversial. What would be controversial about that?

Why can't I log as individualized as my kids songs you can either as as a persona, why can't he also both, you know, and I can, but it doesn't feel like a full thing. It's still some conditioning, there's still some conditions around it. I think that if you act in a certain way, I'm probably not gonna be able to love you then it's like, I can't go there. I'm not ready for that yet. You know, you may have you may have good intentions, but the way you're behaving sorry. I can't I and it's not just an agenda for behavior. I can't love you. I wish he would just say

Avi 40:06
thank you again for that honesty that's

talking about.

Swami Asokananda 40:15
And I think there are too many people that I would say, you know, I can't. But if there are even a few, that means it's not the whole thing. Hmm.

Avi 40:29
Okay, it makes me think of this. Okay, this idea of priority and the importance of it within the mind. And maybe the, maybe the being, that I've been trying to gain clarity around. Alright, so I noticed that my mind ranks, what is the most important thing to kind of remember, so to speak, or, or do or be? Right? So if I elevate this idea that I, I do love everyone, there is something of value and everyone is, is lovable, right? And they, they have this divine nature within them. If I believe that wholeheartedly, and again, rank it up high, in terms of priority, that's really helpful. When I have experiences similar, what you're you're describing when someone has some behavior that's very off putting to me or whatnot. It's like, it's like, I checked myself, Well, okay. Do you really believe that? Like, were you just saying that or like, right here is a challenging experience? And it's a test? Is that your top priority?

Swami Asokananda 41:47
No, I think I also work in similar ways you are. Nothing more is coming to me about that. I think that you express well. Until, until I, in my bigger self or outside of the small self. I don't have to wait to passively wait to try to love people I can I can I can. I can do a practice like you're describing. And I can try to make it more and more genuine. And I think it does help a lot. Even people who hurt me in a group gives the example it may come from Ramakrishna, you throw rocket and tree, it'll give you more fruit. So if someone hurts me, can I still feel get beyond my hurt and still feel like you say, the Divine Essence of that person? It's i think i can i can say that. Over the years, I've gotten much better of not holding on to hertz. And at least accepting people as they are, and maybe even appreciating and maybe could even move towards something called loving the way that your big project for me.

Avi 43:37
I'll share a little bit of a story. I live my life. Yeah. So I think it was pretty early on when I when I came to live at yoga Ville. And we watched some documentary might have been Black History Month. And I was contemplating Rosa Parks, and what she did and the impact of of her deciding, you know, not to get up out of her seat. And a question came to me, what can be done today? That would be the equivalent of that kind of action or similar to it? And I never really found an answer to that question. But my mind was reeling to come up with an idea. And I did come up with one idea, one idea to pop into my mind. And that was to to go out on the street with a sign that says be told that you're loved. And have anyone come and sit down in front of you and tell them I love you. I don't know why this idea came to me but that that it did. And what does the sign say? What were the signs say? The sign said be told that your loved be told that you're loved here, here. Sorry. He told you can come here. If you're okay,

Swami Asokananda 45:00
yeah, I okay, you come here and you'll be totally about. Yeah. Yeah. So and so I that's a rose. That's a Rosa Park action. Yeah.

Avi 45:12
So I've done it a little bit, I want to start doing it again. Because it was, maybe the best way I've ever spent time are one of the best ways. But to do it, I really had to kind of go deep and ask can I do this genuinely? Like, can I? Because I don't I'm not going to tell anyone I love them. If I don't mean it. I'm not gonna do that. Right? So it kind of challenged, challenged me in a great way to see like, do I really believe that? Do I really believe that any person can come and sit down in front of me, and I can look them in the eye and say I love you and mean it.

Swami Asokananda 45:50
Wrong, you actually practice that. So good about that experience? How? Oh my gosh, it was even that much more powerful than the conservative and didn't really calm that people really come in and with the devil chair, there was something or did you sit down just standing?

Avi 46:10
No, I would do it with chairs. And I did it here at yoga Ville actually, in the hall and I did it some yoga festivals. And people, a lot of people would walk by, but some people would sit down and I would do it. And I would I would make eye contact with them for a certain period of time. And then when I felt ready, you know, I would say I would say the words and, and like literally felt like the best way I could possibly be spending my time was doing that.

Swami Asokananda 46:39
Wow. I admire that. But you haven't just gone out in the street and said that it's been like yoga, do yoga festivals. Yeah, go to Charlottesville mall and do that.

Avi 46:50
That's, that's my vision. And that's my plan. COVID is kind of put it back on that run. But I have the sign and everything. And I think there's a good chance I'll be doing in the future.

Swami Asokananda 47:04
Okay. Wow. I'm going to sit down that year. I would love that. So So do you feel that it's? Where does that love coming from? When you say I love you? Where's it coming from? it?

Avi 47:32
I think it comes from source. And if I'm putting words, words to it. It comes from this, this belief and knowing that I really wish everyone well. And I do love everyone. And that's not me. That's not Avi loving everyone. It's just basically love loving itself. So it's a part of source just saying just reflecting back and saying, hey, like, I see you. And I've heard you speak recently about, you know, seeing the divine nature in in everyone, you know, as a practice too. And I think it's pretty much the same thing.

Swami Asokananda 48:18
You have you have a doubt. This can be from my ego. Or do you feel I'm tapped into something that I can say this from my heart? Start over others in this practice?

Avi 48:39
I'm sure it's there. And actually, I might not be answering the question directly here because I have another question that this relates to that I've been thinking to ask you is is this movement from the little eye to the big guy that you've been talking about? Right? And I'm curious, is your experience that this is happening like very fluidly and and like many, many times throughout the day that you're moving back and forth between the little I and the big guy.

Swami Asokananda 49:16
I'm mostly pretty stable in the robot. Not so much moving. But keeping a mantra going is my way to keep a little toehold on the big guy. And I connect that to my connection to be rid of some answers to the number.

And then I don't make it a problem that I'm mostly experiencing myself as a lie. That's a problem for the big guy to worry about how to how to transmute this little like the big guy. That's not for the little Why it's almost such a large problem. So I try not to, I know that ultimate the big guy, it's already there. And I have my connection through the mantra and the guru

used to tell the story about the spread Sadhguru did all these austere practices. He wasn't the most people of God. So he said, Who's mobile of the knee. And it was a man who worked very hard in the fields all day. And he came home and did some work at home At home for the family. And then before we went to bed, one time, he said, Go hardly on the machine. And that's the one. He's not sure. He focuses that one moment on the big guy with all his heart. Otherwise, he said, He's this, he's who he is. So I think I tend to be, I'm not quite, I'm in between those two photos, on record on my practices. I'm keeping the mantra growing as much as possible, as I'm moving around my day. But I know it's just at one point, I just feel it. And then then I'm

in communion with the big guy. And then there's no problems. There's no window seeking, nothing missing. But even it's a little why I'm trying to feel there's nothing missing.

That's, that's, that's a little tricky practice. Because otherwise based on mapping for something is not right. I can I got to make it right. So I'm trying to shift this conscious that I'm working with into feeling that it's all right, you're full, there's nothing missing.

And I think it's helping to make the shift that you just talked about, even

even, even as I'm still resting in more in the global I, there's a certain okayness that I think is based on tapping into the big guy. I think that when we're free from anxiety, and running, the big guy is going to naturally express itself. What do you think about that?

Avi 53:21
That's my experience 200% in a way, I see it as maybe the big guys supporting the little I, you know, it's it's saying, Okay, I see you too, I love you to know, you know, everything is the how it is, again, radical acceptance, type of thing. And I find that when I do that, when I allow kind of when I'm stuck in the persona or the ego to be okay, that okay, everything in nature, I accept at all and this is a part of nature, then it kind of loosens its grip, so to speak. Yeah.

Swami Asokananda 54:03
You know, for me it's some kind of combination of letting go of stress and anxiety and what's already there to manifest

and some aspiration to stay connected to that. Some, some combination, a healthy combination. Okay, I'm doing this podcast. It's not going to flow from anxious. Just relax and I can see how fun

but also, you know, be aware that you want to be connected to something which I think will come fairly naturally if you can just stay relaxed.

Avi 55:01
Yeah, relaxation, talking about priority has been, it goes up and up and up. And just see that relaxation is is is totally Yeah, it's totally key.

Swami Asokananda 55:13
I think I showed you I posted on my wall. Something he said, I love it. I read it two times a day.

Avi 55:23
Can you back it up a little bit. It's our job to relax. It's our job to love End of story. Do your job.

Swami Asokananda 55:32
That's what that's from Hobby and it's so potent. It's simplified simplifies. So well. So yeah, relaxation quiz. I think it's hard to be tense and love. So relaxation is very high, very high and the best love I think we're naturally slow. And I feel like they're thank you for that. That's something that really has worked for me that that simplicity and the power of like, end of story. I don't know where you came up with that, but it's not definitive. Yeah.

Avi 56:20
Swami Yogananda Thank you so much. I don't know there's there's really nothing I could say more than just thank you. And I love you.

Swami Asokananda 56:29
I love you. Let's sit together some time and with each other, and share that. Yes.

Avi 56:38
Yeah. Oh Shanti Shanti. Thanks for listening. If you've enjoyed this content and think others might as well, please feel free to share and subscribe.

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