The Only Difference (that matters) Between a Yogi and a Military Officer

This may sound unlikely, but there’s actually only one fundamental difference between a yogi and an experienced military officer. After completing two decades of military service that has taken me around the world, I’ve finally come to realize why this is the case.

Initially it may seem may paradoxical that a “peaceful” yogi and a combat tested military officer are so much alike, but as you will see there are more similarities than differences between these two life paths.

Below are a few of the traits shared by both Yogis and Military Officers:
– They dedicate their lives to serving others
– They are determined to perform their life’s duty
– They are prepared to meet death
– They are disciplined, focused, present
– Their acts are selfless
– They leave their families to serve the greater good
– They bravely go into the unknown, beyond the bounds of safety.

The list of similarities can go on, but I’ve come to realize that there is only one fundamental difference between a yogi and an experienced military officer:

The yogi maintains inner peace, while a military officer does not.
This became clear to me after spending three days with Yogi Chinananada during this travels in Bellingham, Washington while he was giving teachings about the Bhagavad Gita. Once a successful investment banker with every external pleasure at his disposal, Yogi Chidananda left it all behind in search of inner peace as a humble monk.

The Bhagavad Gita is a 5000 year old Hindu text on transcending the mind to achieve inner peace. It unfolds on a battlefield during the impending chaos of war as guidance to a prince who was unclear about doing his duty.

If you’ve ever spent time with a yogi one of the first things you realize is the sense of tranquility and calmness they maintain regardless of what life throws at them. This does not occur by chance, but by the deliberate undertaking of transcending the mind to realize the true sense of self.

With the growing epidemic of PTSD, substance abuse, and depression among our brave military veterans, it is clear that while they may have conquered many external enemies, many still have yet to conquer the enemy within. By striving to achieve the inner peace of the yogi, the military officer can apply much of the valuable training received towards transcending the mind.

It is said that there is only one truth, but there are many paths leading to it. May you find peace in this life and the unending love that resides within.
Jai Gurudev.