Interview | Eoin Finn
Meet Eoin Finn, yogi, surfer, and blissologist, hailing from between Vancouver, BC, Venice, CA, Bali and everywhere in between as he spent some time with Pure Green Mag to tell us about his new venture, a series of yoga and environmental awareness gatherings called "The Eco Karma Yoga Project".
An extension of his unqiue Blissology Yoga class and philosophy, Eoin's intention is to "allow us to deepen our connection to nature, ourselves, and take action against climate change on our travel adventures". A worthy feat, we're sure. Read the Pure Green interview with Eoin below and find out more about blissology and The Eco Karma Yoga Projects at his website, www.blissology.com.
Eoin-- you are a yogi, surfer, and blissologist, a wonderful title to have! What was the path that lead you here? What is life like now, day to day?
When I look back on my life, I realize that one of the main questions I have been trying to answer is “what happens when we seek quietness in the solitude of nature?” I was always drawn in by what the Native Americans called the “Great Spirit.” It’s like there is a presence that pervades wild, untamed places that speak directly to my soul. This curiosity led me to study Eastern Philosophy, Meditation and Yoga.
I’ve learned the concepts in yoga provide a way for me to understand these soulful times in nature. When we are somewhere overwhelmingly beautiful and natural, we feel so small in relation to it. We loose our concept of “I” and get absorbed in the beauty of nature. This allows us to feel the most meaningful feeling I know, a profound feeling of interconnectedness to all life. I think when people talk about “heart wisdom,” this is what they mean.
My life seems to be a mix of retreating from the busy world to absorb the energy of nature. Then running programs in cities where people have forgotten about this essential connection.
I am always looking for ways to unite the teachings of yoga, ancient wisdom from around the world and ecology. It’s the cornerstone of what I call Blissology.
What is your philosophy on yoga and living a balanced, happy life?
Stress, worries, tension, grief, feelings of inadequacy, hurts, shame, regret; These are all what inhibit us from feeling our deep love and reverence for all life. Yoga is brilliant because it releases these issues from your tissues. When we allow this stuff to move, our most luminous heart becomes uncovered. It’s like the classic analogy, when the clouds dissipate we see that there is a sun that has been shining the whole time. It never went anywhere.
To me, yoga provides the tools to allow us to find more peace with the darkness inside all of us and this peace allows us to reconnect with the message of our heart.
The Eco Karma Yoga Project sounds like it could be a very effective tool in creating community bonds, raising awareness, and inspiring individual action in so many ways. What lead you to create the initiative? So why did you choose to start with these two events and how did you pick these two cities? What other events are you anticipating having in the future?
I couldn’t share the energy that I do in the classes and lectures I give if it wasn’t for the intense joy I get from Nature. Yet, I spend half my year in the ocean and as profoundly beautiful as it is, it’s in trouble.
I have been trying to get people to places in the world where they can experience not just the joy of yoga but also the beauty of nature. This provides so much connection to the planet and with this connection comes empathy. Once we open up to empathy, it is hard not to feel kicked in the gut to see the rate at which our coral reefs are dying due to climate change and overfishing. Taking action is the only logical step. Many images of the Buddha show his hand with the eye ball in the centre. The eye represents the ability to see clearly with true compassion and wisdom and the hand means to take action in the world guided by this wisdom.
Clearly you use yoga as a means of creating connection and awareness within communities, so what do you see as the connection between yoga and the environment? In other words, how do you think inviting people to practice yoga will highlight these environmental issues?
Well, I think in a much broader sense connection to nature is spirituality. A friend texted me recently and asked how I define spirituality.
“In a text message?” I replied.
Some believe that there is an invisible reality in life that is responsible and a spirit that is connected to this reality and some believe in what they can see and measure only. No matter what side of the spectrum you sit on, the bottom line is that spirituality is what increases our ability to see life as a precious miracle; it increases our reverence and our receptivity to awe; it makes us feel connected to all life.
Stop, get quiet, breathe slowly and look at something beautiful in nature, even in a city and you will be immediately transported into a state of complete joy and gratitude.
Yoga allows us to slow down enough that we start noticing the interconnectedness of all things. At the end of the day, both yogis and ecologists are saying the same thing, “All things are connected in this web of life”. Let’s not let our selfish desires blind us to the preciousness of this web.
My hope is that through the work we are doing in these eco-karma projects that we increase our reverence for nature – ultimately we protect what we revere.
In your Austin, Texas event the Eco Karma Yoga Project will conclude by witnessing the forest devastation and educating the public on how to supplement reforestation. What kind of tangible solutions are you planning in providing people in your coral reef event in Key Largo? What can they do to help re-establish coral reefs?
I hope that people realize that we can work as a community towards restoring our reefs. I hope to show before and after images and video of the reefs that we have restored. I hope this inspires others to take action around the world to protect the reefs.
One of the best results will be awareness. So many educated people have no idea that the reefs are in trouble so I hope to gain exposure to this massive issue.
How do you foresee the Eco Karma Yoga Project growing after these events?
My larger hope is that the yoga movement fuses with ecology even more in the coming years. That yoga is seen as not just physical exercise but current and future generations of yogis rediscover the delight in karma yoga, the yoga of answering the call of one’s heart as the highest spirituality.
I know that personally I want to create 5-6 Eco Karma projects every year. I hope other yogis do the same thing.
On a more personal note- what are the most meaningful ways (to you) that you practice living green in your everyday life? Anything you are aspiring to?
I am aspiring to live within bicycle range of a beach where I can surf. I love surfing. It fills my soul but I really dislike that we have to drive to the beaches. Living anywhere close to the water is never cheap. so it takes a lot of focus financially to be able to have this green aspiration. When this happens, I know that there will be a great joy in the harmony between how I am living and what my aspirations are.