The modern yogi’s path to conscious finance
The old-school-mystic yoga path requires, among other things, total renunciation (vairagya in Sanskrit.) The modern yogi is encouraged to renounce by using everything in service of the Divine. This dovetailing or engaging everything you have (time, talent, money, etc…) is called yukta in Sanskrit. So the modern yogi’s rallying cry is yukta vairagya: use everything in service of spirit.
If, powerful material desires exist in the heart, they can be used to fuel the spiritual journey. The great danger for the modern yogi, is getting lost in personal sense gratification. The solution is to simplify one’s lifestyle to the furthest extent possible.
The fully surrendered yogi gives up everything in pursuit of his spiritual mission. That might be a bit extreme for most people. Four-hundred-and-fifty years ago, the Bhakti yoga scholar Jiva Goswami gave the formula for the ideal modern yogi: 50/25/25. The idea was, “Simplify your life so that you can use fifty percent of your income for charity and good works; live on twenty-five percent, and the rest should be invested for retirement and future care of family.” While this would be a challenge for most, it is not unheard of here in America. In December 2007, People Magazine highlighted a number of people living the fifty percent rule.
Here is a list of ideas for practicing yukta vairagya – modern detachment:
1. Keep a journal for one month of what you spend and what resources you use
2. Have a family meeting and brainstorm on how much less you can live on
3. Make a dream list of what charities or spiritual programs you would support if you freed up 50% of your income
4. Plan a volunteer vacation
5. Choose a number (1-30) for the day each month you will do a major life style simplification overhaul
6. Push the boundaries of sustainability: each quarter set a new and higher green standard for yourself and/or your business
7. Make a 10 year plan to grow your income and shrink your living standard
8. Have family and community contests to discover new ways to simplify and reduce
9. Create a web page or blog journaling your down-sizing
10. Create a facebook/myspace community to promote simple living-evolved thinking
11. When you make or receive food mentally offer it to the divine with the love of a lost lover, as if they were finally joining you for dinner.
12. Whatever new purchases you make, bring them home and offer them to the divine as you understand him/her
13. Create a sacred space or alter in your home, bring in flowers and incense daily
14. Play mantras, kirtan, gospel, or any spiritual music throughout your home (even when you are not there)
15. Find spiritual sounds you can play quietly while you sleep
16. Start a book club, reading classic literature but exploring the spiritual meaning
17. Create a community meeting online or live to discuss the Sanskrit texts (Bhagavad Gita, etc)
18. Encourage your employer to bring in a onsite yoga and wellness program
19. Read from a spiritually inspirational book at least once a day
20. Associate with people who have advanced spiritual knowledge
21. Smile, chant & serve