Yoga And The Path Of The Urban Mystic: Sacred Paths To Fulfillment.
By Dana L. Lee
Darren Main's luminous voice is bouncing around inside my head like a voice from the great beyond. I've just finished listening to his audio book, Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic, available also in print, the former giving rise to my current state of immense satisfaction and curiosity. I have just finished a week-long Yoga Essentials immersion with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, and with my mind cultivated towards introspection, it felt natural to dive into Darren's beautiful work. Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic is like an enlightening walk with a dear wise Teacher through mirrored ancient streets stretching back 4,000 years, only we are stopping for a latte along the way.
Time melts along a modern heartbeat as Darren successfully unveils the nectar of sacred ecumenical texts for today's yogi. Darren himself is an accomplished author, spiritual seeker, yoga and meditation teacher who has dedicated his life to helping others discover their unique calling through the art of yoga. His voice gently picks up the loose flailing strings of our consciousness, and with a deft hand weaves them masterfully into a matrix of clear satisfying insight. He humbly shares vulnerable personal stories alongside the sometimes invulnerable ancient yoga texts, cracking open the tough shells of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagadva Gita, The Yoga Sutra, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, The Gheranda Samhita, The Shiva Samhita, and the Christian Bible to expose the discreet essential live-giving sustenance available to us all.
One of the aspects I most appreciate about Darren's work is that it is a serious academic endeavor, yet easily accessible to the average person. He provides a variety of connections from which to grow, rooted in deep knowledge and rich personal experience. He begins the book by inviting you to witness the sacred rite of his quiet morning meditation and personal yoga practice. We rise with him centered and grateful off the mat and walk amid the din of a bustling San Francisco street, to be immediately accosted by the frustration and cognitive dissonance of the modern world. How quickly we are challenged to hold on to our yoga truths! How can we bring our hard-won peace into a world fighting ceaselessly against it?
Darren lovingly provides us with the clues. We are able to experience the transformative nature of yoga off the mat (where it matters most) by answering the call to unravel and re-weave our limiting patterns into life-giving healthy ones. Opening ourselves up to this process through our practice is the spiritual path. When we make the conscious effort to expand our peace, the universe rearranges to bring us joy. Darren says his book isn't to prove or disprove the existence of God, but to help the reader to develop a path of peace and fulfillment that can be cultivated and shared with the world. This book omits yoga technique. You won't find advice on how to fine-tune your down-dog; what you will discover is vastly more valuable. It is meant to be a compliment to whatever style of yoga you choose to practice, providing a living support to your practice that renews itself again and again. “Yoga doesn't push at belief”, Darren says. If you practice yoga, you will grow whatever spiritual practice you resonate with. That is the eternal beauty of yoga. It is a practice, not an exercise in perfection, and by returning to the practice with consistency we discover life at its fullest. All that is required for meaningful growth through regular practice is a sincere heart seeking the mystical experience of truth.
A mystic, according to Darren, seeks to know from experience rather than study alone, and like a benevolent Teacher, he illustrates the modern mystical quest by shining a light on tangible yogic practices imbued with renewing hope. Like a masterful Teacher, he shows us the way of enlightenment in measures that we can easily absorb. He animates the Sacred Texts through personalizing his journey in a sweetly transparent way right along side the ancient wisdom and allows the Oneness of all to shine through. He comes from a strict Christian background and cites great wisdom from the Bible alongside other sacred texts. His message reminds us that yoga doesn't ask you to believe anything, unlike most religions. It only asks you to have an open mind. Yoga is “almost daring you to prove it wrong”. He surrenders everything, especially his writing process, to Spirit, and we as readers are the recipients of his beautiful acquiescence. We learn from this action that we can surrender our chosen vocation to Spirit as well. His work walks us through the process of deepening our spiritual practice, of bravely shedding the layers of ego through an honest, non-judgemental yoga practice towards the eternal bliss of enlightenment.
Darren offers, “None of us question the way that life happens with perfection and awe, and yet, we don't trust life to happen at an individual level.” We never question the sunrise, the rise of the moon in the darkness, or the profound miracle of the stirring of life within our womb. Ironically, despite the undeniability of miraculous design, we still question the miracle of our own path and the method through which we will find it. We yearn to connect with spirit, to live in communities and connect with society. Spiritual practice begins on the mat, but it's what you take off the mat that makes up your real life. The peace you cultivate through meditation and yoga are to be carried with you into the world. Make peace with what is. Learn not to rationalize your discontent, but to experience it without fear. Asana helps us to see where our ego drama is stuck and to learn to move past it. When we surrender into the pose, we poke holes into the habitual attachments we've cultivated. We learn to surrender to the natural flow of life and increase our ultimate satisfaction. Darren shows us how to transcend the corporeal nature of life through a transformative yoga practice rooted in ancient wisdom, to emerge upon the peaceful vista of modern mystical joy. I hope you will discover this beautiful gem of a book yourself, and open your heart to the modern mystical journey.
Discover the wisdom of Darren Main:
Darren can be found at Yoga on the Labrynith at Grace Cathedral, an Ecumenical yoga experience inside one of San Francisco's most beautiful places of worship!