The Western paradigm in self development is a few centuries old, compared to the several millenniums old Eastern tradition of creating awareness, purpose and action in Self.
For long, the Western paradigm was based on the church, and later the Descartian view of “I think, therefore I am.” Thinking and the cognitive mind reigned supreme, often in a directive controlling mode. The Easter paradigm was the opposite. Mind, memories and thinking were distractions to the real purpose of the Self. Yoga objective is stillness of the mind, and, if possible, to leading to the Buddhist Zen No Mind.
All Western thinkers who moved away from the sensory, mindful, cognitive paradigm had some background of Eastern philosophy. Jung’s Collective Unconscious, for example, derives from the Collective Consciousness of Hinduism. Jung lectured on Tantra, published as Kundalini: Science of Yoga. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy, Graves’ Spiral Dynamics, John Whitmore’s Transpersonal view on coaching, Timothy Gallwey’s Inner Game, Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder concept and many other concepts and models respected and followed today have been influenced by Eastern traditions of thought.
In popular view, Eastern and Western thinking on philosophy and psychology seem to have the following differences:
- West is individualistic. East is collective.
- West is direct in communication and approach. East is elliptical and non confrontational.
- West is selfish. East is selfless.
- West is bound by time and space. East is time and space less.
- West is active. East is passive.
- West is doing. East is being.
As in the case of all polarities, the Third Truth lies in between and in integration of these seeming differences.
An ancient Hindu paradigm is that of the transgender, male-female entity of Shiva and Shakti. Shiva, the masculine is passive, always in meditation. Shakti, the feminine is active, making the world move. Shiva is potential energy; Shakti is kinetic energy. They are polar opposites seemingly, and yet one. Hinduism believes that the universe operates as long as they are one.
So it is about East and West. At their core both come together. This is Coacharya philosophy.