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Showing posts from June, 2011

Untrust Us Emotions

Awhile back I was doing a lot of babysitting for these awesome yogi  parents. One night after the kid was sleeping, I picked up their copy of The Yoga Sutras and dug in. It was a long overdue date with the philosophical basis of my spiritual practice and became the foundation for some important study over weeks, months and, now, years. That night I jotted down some tidbits of wisdom in my notebook and this was the first bit, which would later become part of one of my rad, hipster tattoos: "As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." It's an old Sanskrit quote and I find this explanation to be even more enlightening:
"The entire world outside is based on your thoughts and mental attitude. The entire world is your own projection. Your values may change within a fraction of a second. Today you may not even want to see the one who was your sweet honey yesterday. If we remember that, we won't put so much stress on outward things."

Lately…

Sweet Jesus!

San Francisco has turned me into a scrounger. I consistently watch the ground passing under my feet, as it often turns up fantastic treasures. My most recent finds were $5 in a Valencia St. gutter, a debateably real Chanel scarf and a copy of Deepak Chopra's Jesus. The $5 bought a Mission burrito, the scarf (which is fabulous, real or not) will be worked into my Pride wardrobe, and the book became my weekend reading material.

In Jesus, Chopra sets out to create a 'map of enlightenment' through a fictional account of Jesus' life during the "lost years" between age 12 and 30 that are not covered in the New Testament. He believes that Jesus was indeed a sacred savior, but that he was not innately divine- he had to discover this potential and special destiny, and learn to fulfill it. The story does not contradict anything that Jesus taught, it seeks to understand how he came to be who he was (and is) to the world.

The assumption that Jesus was innately divine- th…

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

The other day I saw a friend I hadn't seen in a while and asked him what was new. His reply: "Everything! All the time!"

And of course he's right. In the continuous flow of life, change is the only reliable element. We lose track of this basic reality when life takes on predictable, safe schedules and routines, and it doesn't seem like anything really is new or changing. When something tragic or otherwise momentous occurs, we are brought back to the truth that life is actually pretty chaotic and we are never far from moments that will de- and re- construct our lives completely. Even when it's not obvious and dramatic, we are all still always changing.

When you are in a period of rapid, massive overhaul, change is the new black. Destabilization of normal routines becomes so normal and routine that one can almost become jaded to it. ("Newness? How completely ordinary! Yawn.") Yet even in this space of reliable unpredictability, there still lurk surpri…

If you try sometimes, you just might find

Last night I got some disheartening news. I spent the earlier part of today feeling pouty and impatient with God. "Seriously," I thought, "What's the hold up? I know what I need so why am I not getting it?? Now." After mildly sulking all day, I marched off to teach yoga, still feeling deprived and slighted. I distractedly started teaching, deciding to change sets at the last minute and (feeling like I was) barely getting through the class.

When it came time for the students to relax and for me to play the gong, I was relieved. The gong and I are in relationship and the experience of playing has always been rapturous and enveloping. As usual, I was enveloped, but there was no rapture to be had. For the first time ever while playing, the gong schooled me. Wrapped up in the raw, primal sound current, I was stripped of my nonsense ego antics and a clear message came through: "You know what you want. You don't know what you need. God knows what you need and…

Working Those Edges

If you've been a student in enough yoga classes, at some point an instructor has probably told you to "work your edge." If you're a yoga instructor, at some point you've probably said this to your students. I've said it as an instructor, heard it as a student and only vaguely understood what that actually means until now.

See, for someone who doesn't like running I noticed that I do an awful lot of it. Anytime I hit an edge, when I start to feel incompetent, challenged beyond what I innately know or am comfortable with, I bolt. If there is any chance that I will fail or not look masterful, my wretched pride intercedes, my defenses go up and I contract away from the source of discomfort. I am better about "working my edge" in yoga because I have someone else there to push me past my own resistance. In my life off of the mat, I don't have as much discipline. However, I have managed to overcome my own fear of looking dumb and done all kinds of …

Compromising.

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While in the process of packing and cleaning our tent at Burning Man last September, I "borrowed" my best friend's Osho Zen Tarot cards. I consult the deck fairly regularly for graceful wisdom and am often visited by a few of the same cards. No card haunts me as much as the 6 of Rainbows: Compromise. Here's a clip from the commentary:
"The two figures on this card remind us of the sleazy and conspiratorial situations we can get into when we compromise our own truth. It is one thing to meet another halfway, to understand a point of view different from our own and work towards a harmony of the opposing forces. It is quite another to "cave in" and betray our own truth. If we look deeply into it, we usually find that we are trying to gain something--whether it is power or the approval of others. If you are tempted, beware: the rewards of this kind of compromise always leave a bitter taste in the mouth."

These two fine fellows visit me so freque…