372 comments posted · 21 followers · following 1

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - The Vajra Regent, Osel... · 0 replies · +1 points

Reading my comment years later in response to your reply, Kelley, while I find my initial comment may have been a bit harsh, it is at least somewhat balanced--leaving room for not only the media being inaccurate but also room for the reports of the faithful as also being inaccurate.

A stronger argument, if you wish to provide one, would be to provide some evidence or at least some source that counters some of the reports by some of the more reputable media, like the NY Times.

Nonetheless, thanks for participating in this "transitory and illusory" comment thread!

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Katy Perry Rolling Sto... · 0 replies · +2 points

I had a seizure watching Katy Perry doing pranayama (slow down the transitions!) and I liked it.

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - The Dark Side of "The ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks for this, D. Patrick Miller. It is nice to finally have someone calling out Kramer and Alstad on their questionable scholarship, especially since The Guru Papers has received a ridiculous amount of attention on EJ.

On another thread where a video of a talk show was presented with Kramer and Alstad I couldn't help but point out their penchant for generalization:

Alstad: "Everything is perfect is a worldview from the East." Didn't she ever read Voltaire? "It's all good" is a basic lack of critical thinking, not "imported" from anywhere in particular.

Similarly, Kramer's leveling of "non-attachment" into his New Agey interpretation of it is just sad (many Buddhists, for example, see non-attachment in terms of process or practice, not an enlightenment goal). Does a Yoga Sutras scholar care to chime in?

Alstad: "Gurus don't like to hang out together." This is a tenuous claim. Is this a result of a study? I know there have been gatherings of Buddhist gurus, but because of the leveling of the guru definition, it is hard to tell if this meets Alstad and Kramer's criteria. But I know Andrew Cohen occasionally hangs with other gurus.

I did appreciate their [Alstad and Kramer's] focus on "care," but I would like to point out that they are just rebranding the Eastern concept of "compassion." Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

Antonio Sausys, the interviewer, was impressive and I appreciated that he called Alstad on her apparently false allegations regarding John Friend's belief about his own guru's infallibility.

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - No, it's cool, it's no... · 0 replies · +1 points

I think one could make the case that as long as you aren't trying to create a caricature of a specific Native American tribe (isn't there a great deal of variation in dress depending on tribe, historical context and geographical location?) that some derivative use should be acceptable.

In the eighties, groups like Adam and the Ants (who used feathers, war paint in addition to pirate garb) were celebrated by some Native American tribes--but I think this is because they weren't trying to create a caricature but a fun cultural montage of rebelliousness.

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - God Made a Farmer? The... · 0 replies · +1 points

Oh for craps sake, American farmers aren't "gone." I have a few that are friends. Yes, there are fewer of them. Some of them are cool and others do "wrap themselves up in the flag" and listen to Rush Limbaugh . . . or they used to listen to the saccharine Rush Limbaugh of yesteryear known as Paul Harvey.

BTW, there are still construction workers, loggers (yes, fewer of them too), machinists and laborers of all sorts that don't carry murses or cappuccinos (that would mean the apocalypse, certainly). These folks don't capture the same pastoral imagery but I'm sure the romanticism can be pulled off in time for the next Superbowl.

What really gets me though is when it is stated that "I think that commercial wasn’t about trucks or farmers, I think it was about us and what we miss about being connected to each other."

No, it was all about *selling* trucks and that includes us, as consumers, and our ability to be manipulated by advertisers who might recognize things like our need for greater connection.

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - This wasn't just the b... · 0 replies · +1 points


Well said. This was what I posted on FB after some friends started pedantically posting the "prophetic" Paul Harvey:

"I know many Americans have (re)discovered Paul Harvey after watching the Dodge Superbowl advert (disclaimer: I also like farmers), but now I see links to the alleged 1960s "prophetic" radio broadcast linked to below (along with some nauseating Tea Party imagery).

Unsurprisingly, it is a hoax. The original text from the 1960s doesn't mention gambling, for example, but it is a predictable diatribe against communism --hardly "prophetic." Fancying himself a journalist, Harvey would submit advance copies of his radio scripts to his friend, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, for preapproval. A former McCarthyite, Harvey railed against homosexuals and invoked the name of God to boost ratings and placate advertisers.

If I were the devil, I would use the US military to sell Jeeps and invoke the imagery of hard-working farmers (along with the voice of Paul Harvey) to sell Dodge pickups. "

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - It Feels so Good not t... · 0 replies · +2 points

Congrats, Waylon! Now buy that dog some pants--what a show off!

11 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Boycott Bigotry? Boyco... · 0 replies · +1 points

Right on. Norris is--or was--a martial artist and action movie actor. Not someone that should be a real-life "hero." His views are as simplistically Tea Party as you can get. Pray that he and Sarah Palin never have a child together.

12 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Tragedy at Diamond Mou... · 0 replies · +3 points


Yes, I agree that the particular statement: "I am [Buddhist/Christian/Atheist/Jedi or whatever]" carries no traction, but in the course of dialogue you and I might find that we have a growing trust of the other's views because they are in alignment with our own reason and find that the other's intention seems benevolent (perhaps while looking to each other's behavior/actions as well).

I think what is at issue are folks that are either charlatans (bad gurus who display a false front) or dupes (those who give themselves unconditionally without the gradual building of trust based on extended dialogue and the study of the other's views and actions).

I myself was duped for a short period of time, but I discovered the fraud based on an intuitive streak of suspicion and my reason (or so I like to think). Now I'm much more guarded.

That said, you are growing in my "circle of trust." ;)

12 years ago @ elephant journal: Yoga... - Tragedy at Diamond Mou... · 0 replies · +3 points


Yes, I do believe intentions and motivations are of significance and yet we cannot know others minds that well. It is a puzzle!

I believe you have hit on an important point and that is finding balance between trust (or faith) in a spiritual guide and common sense or reason. This is why I mentioned that grounding in your own ethical behavior and livelihood is so important. But even this isn't as simple as some people would have you believe. Depressed? Vulnerable? Yes, I too have been there. I've longed for a sangha at those times as well. In addition to spiritual groups or leaders we are also betrayed at times--or simply failed or rejected--by friends and lovers.

Developing a "faith guided by reason" (as HHDL advocates) is no simple thing but it seems the only viable path--at least to me.