Are Elephant Journal writers nourishing their ego?

Via on Jan 5, 2012

As I read Kathryn Budig’s newsletter and admired her gentle and warm Christmas presentation, I noticed Elephant Journal’s logo on her page (she’s written for Elephant Journal, her work can be found here). My memory went to the past year: interviews with Sharon Gannon, John Friend, Sean Corn and Brenda Feuerstein (thanks Brenda for the interesting Classical Yoga Studies Course) all of them on Elephant Journal.

Recently, one of my teachers shared with me her indignation about Elephant Journal being “asmita (ego, individuality, I-am-ness) heaven” and that there is “not one person who writes for Elephant Journal is part of a respected magazine or blog.”  I’m not sure if this is the reality, because I am not doing the deep analysis of Who is Who and Who writes Where. What I do know is that all the names above are the respected teachers, and if Elephant Journal is meaningful to them, is definitely meaningful for me too.

But I also see on Elephant Journal many others, maybe not so famous, but definitely great teachers and yogis sharing their experiences, their doubts, injuries, emotions or observations with others.

Now I have to be clear, this article is not in judgement of others. I’m raising questions (to myself and others) about what it means to be a writer and yogi at the same time.

While we are writing and sharing our experiences and perspectives, are we in our “I- ness”? Are we nourishing our ego? Are we searching for celebrity and fame? Are we fishing for appreciation and attention? Are we sure that we are living our Asteya (non-stealing) and we are not stealing the time from our readers?

But, if yes, what about B.K.S. Iyengar sharing many personal stories and observations in his books, or Swami Rama in his book Living with Himalayan Masters where every story is just about his own experience?

I believe what counts is the INTENTION of the writer. If s/he is writing with the true intention to share and benefit others from his experience or wisdom,with detachment from the outcome there is not “asmita heaven”, there is yoga’s clear message of non- separateness from others.

If the writer is writing to promote himself, his life, his achievements or just to promote his school, why not? It is his choice and his responsibility, why should we  judge? Our responsibility is as ourselves and choose to give into the promotion or not. Our responsibility is not to what others are doing. Yoga has taught me that what makes me react during interaction with others is usually some impression I have myself or quality I’m afraid to manifest. Or, as my teacher in India teaches us, while pointing one finger on others, there are three fingers pointing on myself.

If I decide to see in Elephant Journal only ego and non-respected teachers, then I will find them. If I decide to see there the people who want to share and participate in the transformation, I will. There is nothing wrong with both choices, if we are able to see from where they are coming and we are able to take it as lesson for ourselves. If my trigger is ego and fame, then maybe I can ask myself what is my fear that I’m living right now? What is missing in my life that is coloring my perception in a negative way? Or am I seeing with the right discrimination but I’m giving in to the judgmental behavior?

With clarity, choice and responsibility for our choices comes Freedom. If you have real clarity for your next step, you make your choice and you accept the consequences: your walk is light and your talk is short. This is Freedom.

This is what we are teaching our students of yoga. We also have the Freedom to make mistakes, and enjoy the space that the mistakes create for learning.

Here I go, in asmita heaven, with my own clarity, and respecting myself for my choice and my responsibility for my choice. Feeling the Freedom from being true to myself and not being determined by the judgement of others. But I respect also the different choice, and those who are not here, because they have their own clarity and they own responsibility.

It is time for Peace, Love and Sharing. Let’s give up our judgments and feel Compassion instead. Even for those who judge us, as our Love can be the Light on their path.

 

About Misa Derhy

Misa Derhy is yoga teacher living in Dublin where she moved recently after 4 years living in Mumbai, India. She studied 4 years with Prasad Rangnekar, teacher of teachers, and continue to learn from his teaching. She studied also in Yoga Institute in Mumbai, Yin yoga with Paul Grilley and this year she started the studies of Classical Yoga Studies with George Feuerstein. She shares her passion for yoga on elephant journal, (recently we have elephant journal en Francais!), Free Hug Yoga Times, the website for writers in many different languages. She organizes yoga retreats and traveling to India with Indian Dreams travel agency.. Misa also teaches Yoga Online with American School of Bombay Academy.

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15 Responses to “Are Elephant Journal writers nourishing their ego?”

  1. Hannah Siegle Hannah says:

    I disagree with your teacher. While most of the writers here may not be "famous" by traditional standards, several do have well read and respectable blogs. Why does writing and yoga need to be anything that is separate when all is really just one?

    Perhaps this is the place where those who aren't famous can be heard and perhaps they have more to say than those who are?

    Perhaps some are after the ego, perhaps some aren't. Does it really matter?

  2. freehugyoga says:

    Thanks Hannah. I share completely your view. See you here!

  3. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thank you dear Misa!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  4. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    Pardon, but I usually love elephant journal but it is not infallible.
    I am also an Apple Fanatic but do not believe Apple can do no wrong.
    Elephant Journal, as i see it, is NOT to be about self promotion (Isn't there actually a rule against that as well as i remember someone being called out for attempting that in an article a few months ago….), just as I recently had issue with an article submitted by one of our colleagues that seemed to be nothing but ego stroking previous to yours.
    I feel that by ALLOWING this we are intentionally forgetting Patanjali and Buddha and what is meant by the 5 precepts or the 8 limbs, while at the same time using terms brought to light by those same guides to justify a view that says feeding the go is okay.
    One is not to compare themselves to Iyengar or Rama if it is obvious the writing is self promotion or ego stroking.

    We have self help "gurus" such as Tolle, Katie, Bern and Dwyer to fulfill that "need".

    If we want HONESTY and objectivism, we have Watts, Trungpa, Chadron, Patanjali, and at least until now, Elephant Journal.

    • Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

      Also, you assume people learn from mistakes. I can tell you the progressively increasing norm is that no, many do NOT learn from mistakes.
      Ironically that is a trait of narcissistic personality disorder: To never learn the lesson.

      NOT Ironic is that narcissists have swarmed to yoga in DROVES as of the last few years.
      It is a body conscious exercise.
      This should be of no surprise.

      Narcissism is an "ego disease".

      Now THAT is "ironic".

      • freehugyoga says:

        Well, one of Patanjali's Yamas is Satya, Truthfulness, and this is the way I choose to be truthful to myself. I am asking questions and seeking for answers, seeking for Truth, but for sure, my Truth can be the lie of somebody else. Yes, I believe that people wants to learn from they mistakes, and i believe that people is basically good, as I believe that we are all beings of Love, we just forget it sometimes. Everybody can see in the article its own triggers, and your opinion is respectful and respected. This is why we like Elephant: there is space for everybody. Thanks for taking a time to write here.

  5. SwamiHenderson says:

    I disagree with your teacher as well. Mostly Re. "respected" magazines or blogs. Respected by whom? For whatever reason the labelling of EJ writers as non-respected and therefore less than other writers seems like (to me anyway) very ego nourishing for the one who sits in judgment.
    Respectfully,

    • freehugyoga says:

      Dear Swami, one day, we will all respect all:) We just have to start with ourselves. You expressed it just perfectly. Thanks!

  6. Anna Sheinman SOFLY_Anna says:

    Hi Misa,

    Thank you for a good article!
    Everyone is entailed to an opinion…this what makes the world go around. If someone is not interested in the message, they don't have to subscribe, but I think it is wrong to generalize or tell someone what to do. I try to stay away from opinionated teachers (esp. if they sell subscription to their own blog:-)
    I like how you pointed out what is important: "Feeling the Freedom from being true to myself and not being determined by the judgement of others. But I respect also the different choice, and those who are not here, because they have their own clarity and they own responsibility…" Writing is about expressing and sharing.

    thanks,
    Anna.
    <a href="http://www.streamoflifeyoga.com” target=”_blank”>www.streamoflifeyoga.com
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/anna-sheinm

  7. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Pierrette Rouleau Stukes Hey, do you know that your links to articles are leading back to a pay page? Can't access the articles themselves.
    7 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Autumn Bree Fata If you're at your limit (3 articles a day) it redirects you to subscribe.

    I can't get to the article either but the title of this one just made me laugh.
    7 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 1
    #
    Peter L. Sutphen This article is nourishing the author's ego.
    5 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2
    #
    Emer Tuohy Feeding the ego certainly and nourishing possibly. Love the irony – blogging about blogging.
    5 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
    #
    Erin Jamieson I think it's great to ask these questions. People who throw the word 'ego' around in an accusatory way are playing an ego game too. If the argument was that FB/twitter are asmita heavens, I'd buy it. Ele? Naw.
    5 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 3
    #
    Liz Shri I think it's a GREAT question to ask ourselves as teachers: should my sadhana be kept private?
    5 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1
    #
    Harleigh Quinn Elephant journal is just on a roll today….
    Pardon, but I usually love elephant journal but it is not infallible.
    I am also an Apple Fanatic but do not believe Apple can do no wrong.
    Elephant Journal, as i see it, is NOT to be about self promotion (Isn't there actually a rule against that as well as i remember someone being called out for attempting that in an article a few months ago….), just as I recently had issue with an article submitted by one of our colleagues that seemed to be nothing but ego stroking previous to yours.
    I feel that by ALLOWING this we are intentionally forgetting Patanjali and Buddha and what is meant by the 5 precepts or the 8 limbs, while at the same time using terms brought to light by those same guides to justify a view that says feeding the go is okay.
    One is not to compare themselves to Iyengar or Rama if it is obvious the writing is self promotion or ego stroking.

    We have self help "gurus" such as Tolle, Katie, Bern and Dwyer to fulfill that "need".

    If we want HONESTY and objectivism, we have Watts, Trungpa, Chadron, Patanjali, and at least until now, Elephant Journal.

    Also, you assume people learn from mistakes. I can tell you the progressively increasing norm is that no, many do NOT learn from mistakes.
    Ironically that is a trait of narcissistic personality disorder: To never learn the lesson.

    NOT Ironic is that narcissists have swarmed to yoga in DROVES as of the last few years.
    It is a body conscious exercise.
    This should be of no surprise.

    Narcissism is an "ego disease".

    Now THAT is "ironic".

    #
    Kathi Kizirnis Good lord, what happened to live + let live?

    #
    elephantjournal.com ‎Harleigh Quinn, email me, which article you talking about that raised your objections? We are community-created, so appreciate the feedback, always. ~ Waylon@elephantjournal.com

  8. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    With you all the way, Misa. EJ is the cyberspace melting pot of Yoga. I agree with Hannah Siegle in that it gives everyone a way to be heard. Books, blogs, etc. can be wondrous time stealers, should we allow them to be. But it's no different than the boob tube. We can change the channel or we can click out of any blog if so desired.

    Obviously all the contributors are in different stages of the path but that's what makes horse racing. Sure there are Yoga sites that are more tightly controlled for tone and content but EJ's open mike quality gives it a uniquely powerful energy. If someone sees only asmita in the writings here, maybe they haven't really scratched the surface.

    • freehugyoga says:

      This is absolutely true Val. And I had also the moments of questioning, and yes, I don t agree always with editorial choices, but as I wrote, it is the responsibility of each of us to make our choices. So I did mine. I guess I love also to see sometimes what triggers me and where I feel "offended" or "judgmental" while reading EJ…because THIS is the sweet spot where I have to work on myself! EJ as a teacher? Yes!

  9. What a silly thing for your "teacher" to say. She's missed the point, because all of us *do* write for a respected magazine/blog: Elephant Journal!!

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