Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians

A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.

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The following is an article I wrote in May for the Arizona Yoga Community newsletter, discussing disagreements between the many different yogic lineages and seeking an area of Common Ground - which happens, coincidentally, to be the title of this blog. It occurs to me that the viewpoint I express here applies equally well to the recent bickering between the Pagan/Heathen communities. I know that hard liners will not agree with me at all, but this is the way I feel about it. And since this is my blog, after all, I'm going to lay it on you! - Ted Czukor, Theo the Green 

Sometime in the mid 1990's I was sitting in Carol Mitchell's Phoenix living room, complaining about the "un-yogic" way certain teachers presented their classes. I had been trained pretty narrowly by representatives of specific lineages. I thought I knew what was Yoga and what wasn't. 

Carol, who was more experienced and wiser than I, suddenly began to laugh. Then, in her musical tones she said, "Why, Ted - you're a purest!" There was no condemnation in her voice, only amusement and compassion. Then she said something that I would not come to understand for another ten years: "Don't you realize that it's all the same thing?" 

No, I hadn't realized that. Today, of course, it seems like a no-brainer. I mean, isn't that what "Yoga" means - Oneness? Isn't that the message of the Vedic revelation, "Truth is One, Paths are Many"? 

We all know that the term "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit word for "yoke" - as in, to yoke a pair of oxen together so they can pull a plow in the same direction. This refers to connecting your body, mind, emotions and spirit through single-pointed concentration on your breathing. It's hard work; it requires continual mindfulness.    

But when you've been on this path long enough, you finally begin to grok that you never had to join anything together at all…you just had to wake up to the fact that everything was already joined together from the beginning! Everything truly is All One. The Yogic state is not the forced creation of something that didn't exist before and won't continue to exist unless you personally exert tremendous effort to maintain it; it is the realization of what has always existed, but was too subtle for your busy ego to accept. 

When this is revealed to you, your mission suddenly starts to feel more possible. You don't have to be in control of everything! God/Goddess has provided a miraculous entertainment for you, and lovingly invites you to sit quietly on your meditation cushion and appreciate the beautiful reality of Oneness happening all around you and within you. It's All One, and you are a part of it. If you patiently wait to see what comes to you unbidden and unforced, you will be prompted to move in the direction of your dharma. 

The delusion of Maya makes it appear that lots of things are different from other things. But when your vision expands to the cosmic perspective, you can see that each divergent opinion or personality is clearly just a tiny piece of a great design, a cosmic jigsaw puzzle. The Divine Playwright casts individual actors to play different roles in order to create a story. This world of form could not exist without opposites, and it is important for you to determine which role you are meant to play in the drama…but we are parts of the One great story.  With this perspective, you can accept people who have different beliefs as necessary parts of the whole - without acting like them or buying into their scenarios. Let them play their parts, while you play yours. 

Remember the huge Home Tree in the movie, Avatar? The Tree of Yoga is like that; so ancient and vast that yogis on your branch may have no knowledge whatsoever of what other yogis do on a far opposite branch. If you were to meet, you would probably think each other's concepts bizarre. And yet, it would be a mistake for you to conclude that you are not connected - through the roots and trunk.



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A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) taught Yoga for 37 years until retiring in 2013. For 26 years he was adjunct faculty for the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges, teaching Gentle Yoga and Meditation & Wellness. Raised in the Methodist Church but drawn to Rosicrucianism, Hinduism and Buddhist philosophy, he is a devotee of the Goddess in all Her forms. Ted has been a Shakespearean actor, a Masonic ritualist and an Interfaith wedding officiant. He is the author of several books, none of which made any money and two of which are available as .pdf files. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona. Their shared dream is to someday relocate to Glastonbury, England.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Friday, 08 November 2013


    One of my favorite bloggers, Apuleius Platonicus, has discussed the similarities between Dharmic religions and Platonist Paganism. I think you've touched upon one of the major ones, which is the inherent soft-polytheism of both traditions.

    "Truth is One, Paths are Many."

    This is why Platonist Pagans during the Roman Empire could worship Syrian, Egyptian, Roman, or Hellenic deities...and embrace more or less the same theological and philosophical outlook.

    I'm reading an awesome book about the teachings of Proclus The Successor, by Emilie Kutash, called "Ten Gifts of the Demiurge: Proclus on Plato's Timaeus". I believe that she touched on these issues, as well as some misconceptions about 'Neo' Platonist thought, in the Introduction.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Friday, 08 November 2013

    Cool, Jamie; thanks for the historical perspective. To be a little nit-picky, Yoga is not a religion (although it arose in a society that followed Sanatana Dharma, later called "Hinduism" by Europeans); Yoga is one of the original ancient philosophical systems of India: Nyaya, Vaisesik, Mimamsa, Samkyha, Yoga, and Vedanta. These six philosophies were practiced by people who believed in the Vedic scriptures and in God (or gods).

    There were three other philosophies that came to be practiced by non-believers in the Vedas or in God: Buddhism, Jainism, and Chanava.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Friday, 08 November 2013


    I'm sorry...I should have clarified. I knew that yoga wasn't a religion. It's just intimately connected to Dharmic religious worldviews, as you pointed out with the Vedic quote. I did not know, however, that it was an entire philosophical system of its own.

    Thanks for generally explaining Yoga's place within Indian society. I'd honestly never even googled it before. Mostly what I remembered was a quote from decades ago, about how in the 1970s, certain deeply conservative Hindu immigrants viewed Pagans as the equivalent of low-caste 'tribals'...because they had no Yoga!

    I guess some Pagans decided to fix that.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Sunday, 10 November 2013

    That was an interesting statement about conservative Hindus and Pagans; I hadn't run across it before. I do know that a small percentage of conservative Hindus - in common with a small percentage of conservative Christians - believe that Yoga actually is Hinduism, and that you can't really practice the first without becoming the second. Most people of both faiths do not accept that narrow viewpoint, but those who do make it difficult for the rest of us.

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