I think the best lesson in yoga that a young person can do today is to call into question what is real. More important than getting into handstand, doing down dog or reciting a mantra. Because now, more than ever, the media landscape is full of contrivance and disinformation. With the proliferation of CGI and AI, simulated constructions are everywhere. Just pick up your phone to witness a deluge of manipulated imagery and text. With the advent of Chat GPT and fake videos on Tik Tok, reality is now skewed in countless ways. That the world is a magical illusion, that everything is made-up, is one of the oldest yogic teachings known as maya.
The question as to what’s real should be an ongoing daily inquiry. Not only should we examine the media “feed” we are given, but more to the point, what are you are telling yourself? Are the thoughts and projections of your mind real? At the most fundamental level, we come to see that everything is a projection of the mind. As is pointed out in Tibetan Buddhism everything is “mind-made.” Without questioning what is true, we get caught in a kind of hall of mirrors with no escape. In yoga this is the source of ongoing suffering.
Yogic insight demands seeing through mind manipulation to the unfabricated, naked awareness of the Buddha nature. For this reason, when scrolling through countless pages on their phone, young people today must first ask, is this to be believed? And then begin the diligent practice to “take off all filters” and see into the the pure, unadulterated nature of mind.