Monday, April 5, 2010

Say You Were Split in Fragments and None of the Pieces Would Talk to You

"Say you were split, you were split in fragments, and none of the pieces would talk to you." Aimee Mann

This is my first Yogery post in a while because I’ve moved to a mini-farm and I’m temporarily staying in this girl-ified trailer with pigs, roosters, dogs, goats, chickens, and ducks as neighbors and companions. I have no internet out in the trailer so I’m writing this post offline. I haven’t even checked my email or Facebook in over 36 hours now and I alternate between feeling agitated about that and complete freedom.

Doug Keller visited Lulu Bandha’s this weekend. I got to spend nine hours with friends learning all about the psoas, the sacrum, and yoga and the emotions. Today was dense and inspiring. Doug is a former professor, so I could easily pretend I was back in school, seeing the world open up before me. I know I enjoyed a workshop when I come away wanting a new career. This time I want to be either a sage who just plays with spiritual practices and writes about it all day or an ayurvedic doctor. : )

These are some of my notes and responses to today’s talk on yoga and the emotions; there’s much much more but in the words of Levar Burton, “don’t take my word for it."

-“You have permission to have a spiritual experience in your own way…Peacefulness doesn’t work for everyone.”

-We got a comprehensible overview of the evolution of different traditions and how they eventually led to hatha yoga and ayurveda. Schools of thought have alternately rejected and embraced God/Brahman as a deity. The body as well has been either rejected or embraced as a path or an obstacle to samadhi. Kashmir Shaivism is my favorite school of thought because according to Doug they accepted the world in all its everyday realism and duality but also believed that underneath that is the unified spiritual layer. They accepted all the previous traditions as real and true. I love this. I wonder, would it make any sense at all to say my new stance on God is “I believe in God and I don’t believe in God” ? Both seem incredibly true at different moments. It's not agnostic confusion; it's perspective.

Doug quoted the Dalai Lama, who said that if you just give up your previous beliefs too easily, you become "homeless in your own heart." I teared up in meditation tonight thinking about that. I can be a yogini without giving up my intellectually acquired existentialist leanings? And I can be an existentialist without giving up my previous Catholicism? It’s all good. In order of appearance, my spiritual life has consisted of 1)Wholehearted Catholic Faith, 2)Less wholehearted Catholic dutifulness, 3) Existentialism a la Camus, 4) I’d Rather Just Focus on Getting through College than think about this nonsense aka the Mind is the Only Truth, 5) Zen Buddhism, and 6) Yoga (but mostly as a physical practice and self-help at best, if we are honest with ourselves). With varying "schools of thought" in each of those overarching epochs. Being in love always overrides them all, too. I should probably be less flippant and more edited when talking about this stuff.

-Humans relate to/communicate with the universe through sacrifice. Fire/agni is the medium between heaven and earth. (fascinating to connect this with Ravi Ravindra’s thoughts on Christ and sacrifice as necessary for the cosmic order)

-"Sound and light are two sides of same coin, so sound can make you realize you are light."

-There was an atheist sage! Kapila rejected Brahman and religion and the caste system. He did believe in eternal souls so I don’t know if I’d really call that atheist but he does get lots of atheist cred for rejecting Brahman. Bold.

-Rasa is the most essential flavor of an experience. Emotions are the rasas of our everyday lives. Good works of art make us feel all the rasas, or all the flavors of life, without necessarily going through the actual experiences being depicted. In this way we safely learn and mature. I was glad to hear confirmation that my taste in culture can be a part of and not contradictory to my yoga life. Watching Revolutionary Road last night was just part of my practice.

-We get stuck in emotions because our body produces certain chemicals that build up over time, thus creating an endless cycle. But we can make the choice and say to ourselves something like, “I don’t want to be an angry person anymore.” And we can change surprisingly quickly. The INTENTION goes a long way towards creating change.

-It is the MIND (manomaya kosha?) that asks if life is worth living when things are rough. We have many other layers. I wondered if then someone who is facing this question could be made aware of all these other layers of identity (annamaya kosha, vijnanamaya kosha, etc) so that the mind doesn’t dominate so much. So many people ask that same question. It’s a central theme to a lot of great art. So why are so many of us asking that question? I take it so much for granted and even expect it; I often distinguish good art from bad by whether it addresses this question. Like, “wow, that movie or book went so deep.” When really it only went to the Mind Layer. Theoretically. Again, Revolutionary Road is a good example.

-The universe didn’t start with a thought; it started with a feeling, a “movement in god’s heart.” (spanda in Sanskrit) The Spanda Karikas is a collection of meditation practices that allow us to feel that spanda sensation. I believe he said they were from the Kashmir Shaivism school. Seems worth a gander.

1 comment:

alain said...

I enjoyed and appreciated your candor in this post... maybe someday we can share questions & demand answers from the Heavens! :-)
peace be with you Guardian of the Livestock