Benn Rasmussen: I attend yoga class with Iyengar Teacher Carrie Owerko when she is in the city. She opens most classes by reading from something that inspires her practice or thoughts. One week she brought in the most meaningful quote I had heard in many months and it was from this book. I then went to find the book and read it through a couple of times.
YCNYC: Favorite quote?
BR: "From page 71 and 72, of the edition published in 2006 by Beacon Press: "We have spoken of the tendency there was to look into the past, to help make the present, with all its horrors, less real. But in robbing the present its reality there lay a certain danger. It became easy to overlook the opportunities to make something positive of life, opportunities which really did exist. Such people forgot that often it is just such an exceptionally difficult external situation which gives man the opportunity to grow spiritually beyond himself. They preferred to close their eyes and to live in the past. Life for such people became meaningless."
YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?
BR: I would offer this book only to someone who is truly seeking, they may be suffering, plateauing or thriving, but this book is for those who are ready to seek and to hear.
YCNC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?
BR: For me, it is the conclusion of the book, of the second section, right before the Afterword, he states, "You may ask whether we need to refer to "saints". It is true that they refer to a minority. And yet I see therein the very challenge to join the minority. For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does our best."
He wrote this at the end of World War Two, upon being liberated from Auschwitz and his words were
powerful then. After surviving such a horror he found a way to still believe, write and publish a thought as powerful and hopeful as that. Now and always, these words are important reminders for each of us and humanity.
Benn Rasmussen is a NYC based yoga teacher who teaches group classes at Equinox and works with a small group of private clients. He studies both Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga and weaves the methods together in is Vinyasa based classes. He believes in the body and the mind's ability to heal the spirit, and hopes to find deeper ways of existing in the world and with humanity.