I AM NOT A DEVOTEE of yoga, but I was reading something Swami Satchidananda (the dude in the throne here) said and it struck me as interesting and potentially useful for those of us who want to feel good more often.
If you have no other basis for knowledge (as you wouldn't a few thousand years ago when yoga was invented), what would be the sanest criteria for what to believe? Whatever makes you feel better or get more done, right? If it leads to a better mood, let us declare it true. If it leads to sadness, anger, or fear, let us declare it false.
Even today, that's not a bad criteria for judging the merit of a proposition. Of course, now it's probably not a good idea to use that as the only criteria. It should also (and most importantly) be tested against real evidence.
But if it doesn't contradict any scientific knowledge, and if it doesn't hurt anyone or yourself, and it leads to a better emotional state, what would be the harm in accepting it (assuming you're not going to then make war against those who don't accept it)?
Here's what Satchidananda wrote that got me thinking: "You are not even breathing by yourself. Try stopping the air coming into the lungs again for awhile. No, it is being forced into you. That means, Somebody is interested in keeping you alive, to do Somebody's job. So you are living to serve."
That's a different way of looking at things, isn't it? It really doesn't contradict anything known in science. A scientist may explain the phenomenon differently, but this doesn't contradict it, and the point of view doesn't hurt anyone.
And it may lead to better moods more often to think that the great Ocean (of which we are all a wave) is making you breathe, keeping you alive to fulfill its mission.
I think if you consider that — just entertain the idea as a possibility — you will feel yourself relax. You will feel better.
It's kind of a silly belief, and you don't have to become a believer or try to get others to believe it. That wouldn't help you feel good anyway.
But to think of it that way, even once in awhile, leads to a feeling of calm and open contentment, and that's definitely worth something. What do you think?