Sullivan’s Deadliness of Doing and Yoga Philosophy

Andrew Sullivan’s Deadliness of Doing was brought to my attention by my husband, an avid reader of Sullivan’s blog. I think most of you will find it worth your time even though you may associate Sullivan with politics.

In the blog, deadliness of doing is “the phrase Oakeshott used to describe our usual, rational, self-interested selves – engaged constantly in wanting, getting, wanting, not getting, and wanting some more.” That is another way of expressing the cycle of karma!

Hobbes, Daniel Kahneman, and Eckhart Tolle are also quoted. Doing versus Being is what connects them all. Living with awareness, moment to moment, in the state of dhyana, or paying attention is Being. It is a message found in Samkhya. As yoga, Buddhism, and Jainism are all rooted in Samkhya, the same message is found in all of them.

It is what we try to observe in our meditations–the Observer (Seer) and the Observed (Seen). The experience (the Seen), the one who experiences (I), and the awareness (the Seer) are all one, not distinct. Sullivan quotes  from Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow: “I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me.”

Kahneman’s notion of two minds within us–the subrational and the rational–remind me of the three minds within us in yoga: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.

I have not read the book yet, but it is already beginning to sound like the description of the mind and Self in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

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