from ॐ // vintage psychedelics …
“Holding on to anything is like holding on to your breath. You will suffocate. The only way to get anything in the physical universe is by letting go of it. Let go & it will be yours forever.”
Really enjoyed reading Stretch – The Unlikely making of a Yoga Dude by Neal Pollack! He’s so honest and blunt about his extensive journeys through yoga practices, workshops, conventions, that – as a guy and newbie to yoga – it was hard to put the book down. Over and over again in the book, he skewers the phony “open your heart to the possibilities of the universe” and “feel good” culture of western commercial yoga inc., and finally comes to resonate and find inner-peace in the deeper guidance of Richard Freeman and in-depth analysis of the ancient yoga texts. Drug-use, fart and sexist humor aside, I learned A LOT about yoga!
Last night I sat together with my 6 y.o. son at a kirtan in our yoga shala listening, clapping, chanting and singing along with Girish and his band. My little guy is something of a yogi himself – even though we’re both newbies to yoga. (At left is his drawing of yoga class.)
At some point during the performance, as we sat together on the floor and the vibrations pulsed through us, I looked down at his gentle innocent face – and it suddenly dawned on me – why I’ve been feeling so compelled to expose him (and his younger brother) to kids yoga classes – not to mention kirtans.
Someday, I’ll be long gone from this world.
How will my children find me when I gone?
Where will they look?
How can they find comfort in time of distress? How can they connect with “me” – my heart and soul?
There amidst the chanting, it became clear – that yoga, being a form of spirituality in its barest, stripped-down most primitive form – is a way that folks come to know their true selves, heart and soul.
Suddenly I realized that, someday when I am long gone, my sons will be able to find “me” - my own self, heart and soul – RIGHT HERE! On the bare floor – wherever they are – between their own hands, in the place where their own beads of sweat fall. They will find their own selves – hearts and souls – in their practice – and know that their dad found his true self, heart and soul right there – in the very same place – where the sweat falls from the brow.
It felt so wonderfully comforting to realize that there IS a way to stay connected. To share a living, breathing bond that survives long after the body. There is a path! I think doing yoga with my kids is a way to build a passageway – through space and time – to find each other again – long after we leave this world. I will never forget that moment of clarity.
I’ve seen many great dads in my town, and I think they all feel the same way – whether it be baseball, football, basketball, soccer etc. Yoga – although a deeply spiritual endeavor – does not have to be special in this regard (you should see some of the fanatical baseball dads in my town!). Perhaps, we all imagine that someday, our kids will play and teach their own kids in the same way we taught them. Perhaps, many years from now, they’ll stop for a moment and think fondly of us – about the simple joy they shared, and – in that instant – realize that there is a living bond that cuts across space and time.
Whatever you LOVE to do –> teach it to your kids and you will forge a bond that survives long after you are gone!
Posted in Mindfulness, tagged Arts, B. K. S. Iyengar, Breathing, Buddism, Central nervous system, Consciousness, Emotion, India, Jonah Lehrer, Meditation, mindfulness, New York Herald, Patañjali, philosophy, Poetry, Proust Was A Neuroscientist, Psychology, relaxation, Religion and Spirituality, soul, Walt Whitman, William James, World Literature, Yoga, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali on June 24, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
I’m enjoying some summer reading of Jonah Lehrer‘s Proust Was A Neuroscientist. Chapter 1 does not disappoint! – on the life and poetry of Walt Whitman who was among the first modern western artists to reject dualist notions of a dichotomy between mind and body that stemmed from early Christian writings and the philosophies of Rene Descartes (1641), and rather, embrace longstanding eastern notions of a synthesis and continuity of the mind and body.
This may relate to the ancient yoga sutra II.48 tatah dvandvah anabhighatah “from then on (after the perfection of asanasa), that sadhaka (yoga student) is undisturbed by dualities”.
Whitman’s poem, I Sing The Body Electric captures some of his youthful ardor for the unified human body-soul and the human condition. Just 2 lines from Chapter 1, line 10:
“And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?”
Ideas with such eastern influence earned him accolades as, “a remarkable mixture of the Bhagavad Ghita and the New York Herald” in his contemporary 1850′s press. Lehrer also traces the birth of modern neuroscience to early pioneers such as the psychologist William James, who, it turns out, was a great admirer of Whitman’s poetry.
A wrong turn with Descartes in the 1600′s, steered back on track by Whitman and James in the 1850′s!