Wednesday, May 16, 2007

this monkey's gone to heaven

A yoga teacher of mine used to say, "The longest journey you'll ever take is from your head to your heart." It occurred to me, I mean really, that the separation from knowing something academically and realizing it in your bones really can't be forced and there's nothing you can *do* to force this learning. Then I realized that the ego (or, the source of All Things Fear) can't be reasoned with. I know the Course says this, and this is exactly my point. It doesn't matter how many times I read something and think I understand it -- until I can actually *feel* it, its truth remains outside of me. So, take an adage like "the ego can't be reasoned w/." Sure, makes sense. I understand it, or think I do, but then as soon as I eat a pound of black pepper cashews I go thinking I'm gross and a total loser. And then I try and tell myself how ridiculous I'm being and this is all transitory and doesn't really exist, blah blah blah. And guess what? The words have no effect. Why? Ummm because that blasted ego can't be reasoned with. But when I, instead of trying to talk myself into a different state, do nothing but go right into the intensity of the emotion, (I try to connect with where I feel the anxiety physically, in my body), and then I just be with that, and I don't try to run from it by philosophizing, well then it starts to soften and dissipate. And in this way I make the translation from head to heart, not knowing (but thinking I do) to learning.

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Russel Simmons was interviewed a couple of weeks ago in the Times Magazine by Deborah Solomon. She's great. Anyway, you know he's all yoga, yoga, yoga and he just wrote this book called Do You or something like that. So he asks her if she meditates, and she answers that she "read[s] in bed...[t]hat for me is meditation." To which Russell answers (and this is the best): "No it’s not. It’s noise. It’s the opposite. To be awake is to be fully present, no noise, just you and God." Dude that is classic. And so honest, and I love that he just called it like it is. The thing is, I always feel a little bit hesitant to discount anyone's idea of meditation b/c it's such a personal thing, but, I gotta say, there's a big difference between reading (or *doing* anything) and sitting. Reading doesn't bring up your stuff, for one, and for two, it's not like it clears the brain. So it's prob a good idea to have a meditation practice AND read. Reading's good. Just not in place of sitting.

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I just added another class at Equinox! This one is at the Westwood location which is close to my house. Wednesday mornings REALLY EARLY ... but it'll be good to get up and at 'em consistently. The class doesn't start until June so I've got some time to relish what it's like to sleep in past sunrise. This makes four a week, which is what I was teaching in Austin, and I think I'm maxed out for regularly scheduled classes -- meaning occasional subbing and privates aside. I swear I'm ridiculously lucky.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Read Zen and the art of archery. You can meditate and do something. FYI, Nirvana is senseless. MP

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestion. You know I love books.
So , I think acts can be meditative, and meditation can be applied to arts or really, in anything -- but the act of sitting quietly cannot be replaced. Meaning, it's not an either / or, it's an *and*.

P.S. Pixies. :-)

John King said...

I underestimated how hard it is to sit and do nothing until I tried it. Resisting the craving to fill in the space with something, anything, is very difficult. But it gets easier with practice. Usually.