BY ADITHI MATHEWS
The ‘self’ as the object of absolute existential interest and inner fulfilment as the final destination of life form the central focus of Erkin Bek’s book ‘All Here’. The book which features 34 poems around the theme of existence, yoga and meditation is also illustrated with brush paintings by Korean master Jungwoong Lee.
Like most practitioners, Bek was first introduced to Yoga through the postural practice. He spent seven years practicing at various studios in North America and Europe and observed that Asana practice complemented his periodic fitness exercises and martial arts practices. ‘’ It made me feel good. It was a new way to keep my body and mind balanced. It was the slowest and most static practice that I have ever encountered. It was very new and interesting to explore this slow exercise. It was a very good stretching exercise, which I found to be useful to feel better physically in my body. This was enough to keep me going.’’ He explains of how he stayed dedicated to a regular Asana practice.
In the year 2008 Bek was introduced to an Indian teacher, Rajesh Singh, and to Raja Yoga, one of the mainstream paths of yoga. Through him and many conversations later, Bek came to the understanding that physical practice is a preparation for meditation, and that meditation is a pathway to experiencing one’s own fulfillment. ‘’ Meditation has changed for me. I used to sit long periods of time in what I deemed to be meditation, keeping attention on breath, observing myself, my environment, soaking deeper into my center of gravity, concentrating on noticing thoughts and moving from thoughts to breath. However, I have later understood that these are mostly practices of concentration on oneself. Most practices that are called meditations are not actually meditations. They are concentrations.’’ Bek believes that letting go of these concentrations and feeling free is the essence of truly meditating. Most importantly, he stresses that a meditation practice is what keeps one anchored to life and is the source of eternal happiness.
A businessman by profession, writing the poems were a natural progression to his meditation practice. These spontaneous poems were first shared with his Yoga teacher and friends who urged him to compile them into a book. He says, ‘’ There are only 34 short poems and they all aim to bring you to this moment of life right now, to feel at home inside of you, so you can be at home anywhere you are and that everything is all here for you to be happy at any moment of life. If you ever step aside, my poems offer a way to bring you back right into your essential nature, where happiness always abides.’’
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and the Indian subcontinent have been influences in Bek’s journey of Yoga and meditation. But the experience of India lies in the unseen he explains, ‘’Having traveled throughout the country, I have come to realize that the greatest value of India is beyond anything that you can see there. What you cannot see, in this yoga is the greatest significance of India.’’
Facing all the trials of our 21st century lifestyle, Bek has long studied the ways to maintain both a physical and internal balance, questioning the mystery of existence and the road to personal development and professional success. Happiness and self-fulfillment are fundamental to this fragile balance, and these poems are an expression of Bek’s own journey of self-discovery.
For more information on Erkin Bek’s short collection of meditative poetry visit his website