“Ordinarily, if an average man comes face to face with the nagual the shock would be so great that he would die. The goal of a warrior’s training is not to teach him to hex or to charm, but to prepare his tonal not to crap out ... You call it explaining. I call it a sterile and boring insistence of the tonal to have everything under it’s control. Whenever it doesn’t succeed, there is a moment of bafflement and then the tonal opens itself to death. What a prick! It would rather kill itself than relinquish control. And yet there is very little we can do to change that condition.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

City Images

n

Image1: It’s 05:30, I’m lying in bed, the screen of my cellular phone goes dark from. Dull gray, blue-ish light is seeping into the room through the half revealed window.

Image2: It’s just past 07:00 and I am pouring a cup of food into her plate, hidden under the outside stairs. She isn’t there.

Image3: I have just switched trains, standing in a queue of 2 waiting to use the bathroom on the train. We will soon find out that we are waiting in vain, all the bathrooms are locked on the train.

Image4: I am crossing the bridge near the train station. The highway below is wet and there are a few puddles on the bridge. Blue is replacing the clouds in the sky. I am carrying a useless umbrella in my hand. I am grateful I left my raincoat in the car.

Image5: I step in a rush into a small white car blocking traffic. Inside is a new person in my life, he is leisurely tailored, tightly wound, kind and curious. Traffic.

Image6: Dodging cars with seemingly violent intentions.

Image7: Road is either in poor shape or under construction. Shabby buildings. A wild mixture of parked of moving cars, hard to tell them apart. A huge truck is making a huge mess.

Image8: Boring buildings covered with promising logos. A horizontal Christmas cane rises to give way for privileged cars.

Image9: Glass doors, another promising logo.

Image10: Confusing winding corridors.

Image11: She is happy to see me, not into hugging, at least not with me. She is less happy to see me.

Image12: A huge black screen. A long green cable from the wall to a small laptop computer cuts the room in half. Another cable makes an effort to reach from a huge black screen to the other side of the small laptop computer. She is facing me. Curious man is on my left. Silence distant man is on her right, a bit distant.

Image13: I am talking. Funny.

Image14: I am in a train station. It feels like the train is facing away from the direction I know it is going. I am tired but composed.

Image15: She is on sitting in front of me. Between us is desk, an old desk. It never had any character, now it has the character of an old desk that never had any character. I am almost seated, some of the things I am carrying have touched a chair to my left, I am already getting up. Relief and ridicule.

Image16: He is standing next to his motorcycle, on the side of a busy road next to a busy junction, parked in the shade of a tree. He knows this spot well. His newspaper is spread on the small cargo box, he is reading and eating his lunch. This is his quiet space.

Image17: She looks tight, cool, solid, collected.

Image18: We are hugging. She feels rugged and fragile.

Image19: We are hugging.

Image20: He is vital, typing with two fingers.

Image21: So many cars, endless rivers, barely moving but very pushing, shining.

Image22: I am standing in the middle of the flood, on the phone. Please help.

Image23: Mercedes hood ornament. Clean. He has a beard, dressed in black and white. He doesn’t care if we crash into that car.

Image24: I know this junction. Almost home.

Image25: He is a soft and welcoming figure standing on the opposite sidewalk. I see him but he doesn’t see me.

Image26: He embraces me tightly. Muscles in my neck let go and my head falls to the left. I am home.

Image27: She is a gentle and quiet spirit. She is curious but also slightly suspicious?

Image28: He is a friendly and jumpy spirit. They are together.

Image29: He is holding his baby daughter.

Image30: We embrace. She pulls away.

Image31: She is anxious, wearing leprechaun green. She is happy and surprised to see me. I am surprised she is surprised.

Image32: Three sinuous shapes, moving together, each from a different universe. They are one and will never meet.

Image33: Flow within flow within flow. Gold and earth colors.

Image34: Sweet child of mine, you’ve been here all this time?

Image35: Nipples and markers.

Image36: Just plain dumb.

Image37: Soft, delicate, friendly, happy, precise face leaning in to me.

Image38: Too much bread.

Image39: Those two girls are listening to me.

Image40: She is barely visible in the shadows of the stair case. She can’t see me, she is waving goodbye, she knows I see her. She’s always known. She has faith.

Image41: She still isn’t here.

Posted in Images, Photography | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Pranayama Exposes Beyond Mind

n

Pranayama requires quite a bit of counting. Counting, repeatedly, for a substantial period of time collects and focuses mind and gives Pranayama a meditative quality. This is especially apparent when each part of the breath becomes longer. But, like most practices, I eventually got used to it. I developed an automated and regulated internal rhythm and my mind would wander off during long counts.

I recently made a change to my Pranayama practice – introducing longer exhales. During recent sittings I’ve experienced how much pure and simple concentration affects practice. If my mind wanders during the shorter breathing cycles, my breath doesn’t falter (I can get away with it). But, if I lose focus and wander off during longer breathing cycles, I come up short and the length and quality of the breath may be compromised. In fact, if I am focused and steady, I can easily accommodate the practice – the challenge is more in my mind then in body.

My focus is improving, my mind is becoming steadier throughout a practice session and now I have noticed something else happening. A new kind of distraction appears, a wonderful distraction. I am experiencing bursts of creativity – ideas and answers to questions appear out of nowhere, rapidly & clearly. New ideas and answers to existing questions flood through my mind, so much so that I am tempted to break my practice and write them down. I don’t. I try to let them pass through me and rejoin the ticking metronome. It’s harder to do with creative thoughts then with plain distractions.

I have experienced this before, but the extended breathing cycles have increased the frequency of these occurrences, so I was able to identify a pattern. I am involved in numerous projects but I have a very spacious day. I am not constantly preoccupied with challenges and questions, I let things simmer slowly and I have faith that insights, solutions and ideas will appear on their own (and they do!). This is to say that I do not begin a practice with disturbances on my mind – I am not actively searching and hunting for solutions. So when insights appear to me in this way I consider them miracles of creation – they come from beyond the mind.

I don’t remember all of the ideas that appear before me. When they appear I don’t grasp at them – I try to gently let them pass and then refocus on counting and breathing. Some of the ideas are available to me later when I conclude the practice. Others disappear, I trust that the ones I truly need will reappear, and the rest will dissolve or remain hidden me for good reasons.

Posted in Breath, Pranayama, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Soft Movement

n

A reflex is something that happens quickly before you are conscious of it. Anatomically it is a process that occurs in the nervous system without reaching the brain: (1) A designated sensory neuron sends a signal to a neuron junction in the spine; (2) another motor neuron linked to the same neuron junction, carries the signal to a muscle; (3) the muscle flexes, resulting in quick movement. This is how, for example, we pull a hand from the fire, quickly, without thinking about it. The brain is not a part of the process, until it gets other sensory information that tell is something has already happened.

One type of reflex is known as kneejerk – this is what doctors test when they hit you below the knee with a small hammer, causing your leg to flex. You can experience this reflex in action by jumping down from a chair. The reflex is activated when you land on the floor, and it prevents you from buckling at the knees – it automatically kicks in to stabilize you.

Such reflexes are engaged a lot in athletic activities. In jogging the kneejerk reflex happens thousands of times in a short period of time. This kind of repetitive activity shortens the muscles and as a result reduces flexibility. The muscles adapt and change – as if they are expecting this kind of sudden impact.

In physical Yoga practices you can consciously choose to reduce or increase the effects of such reflexes. If your practice is dominated by fast & dynamic movements then you are frequently triggering such reflexes and increasing their effect. If your practice is dominated by soft movement and static postures then you are avoiding reflex triggers. Soft and slow movement is better suited for Yoga practices aimed at length and flexibility (it also works wonders for strength – but that is a different story).

Some people have a tendency to approach their physical limitations by pushing harder, as if trying to gain momentum that will hurl them over & beyond their limitations. This is physically ineffective because reflexes kick in and counter their efforts. But there is another subtle aspect to this kind of practice – what takes place in the mind? In the mind this is an attack – an act of violence. Ironically, the reflexes make it a useless act of violence! Even more ironically, when the violence is ineffective it makes way for stubbornness – in an endless self-defeating cycle.

Some of the most substantial changes in my physical abilities came about when I applied & refined softness in my practice. Softness has been a key and recurring theme for all of my one-on-one students. It is an idea I often touch on when teaching group classes as well, though it is more difficult to get across in group-settings. Softness is a great way to introduce Ahimsa (non-violence) into your practice, it is a quality that will serve you off-the-mat as well as on-the-mat and it can take you to surprising places.

Posted in Anatomy, Asana, Basic Movement, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Corner

n

I’ve been switching between listening to 2 Charlie Parker CD’s for over a week , listening to them over and over. Today’s coffee was a companion to the thick booklet included in the small box-set. It’s a rather tedious and unoriginal format so I was skipping through it when I came across this:

Broadway north from 38th St.

Image via Wikipedia

… a new jazz club opened on Broadway… it was dedicated to presenting bepop performances and was named for bop’s reigning king: Charlie “Bird” Parker. The club was Birdland… would become a legend throughout the 50’s … ans as it’s large neon sign proclaimed, Birdland would become “The Jazz Corner of the World”.

Not center. Corner!

Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Ubuntu/Kubuntu Grub Load Error

n

If you had an installation of Ubuntu or Kubuntu and now it won’t load and all you are left with is something like “sh: grub>” – DON’T PANIC! It’s happened to me twice before (which caused me to create a fresh installation), but this time I took some more time to search and I found a solution.

Why did this happen? There is a good chance that Ubuntu installed some updates. One of those updates was probably to a program called Grub. This is a small program that is one of the first to run when you start your computer. It’s job is to properly load the underlying Linux operating system (which then loads the graphical usual interface you were expecting). It seems that when Grub is updated – something in it’s configuration gets messed up which is why you are frantically searching for a solution.

First, take a deep breath, you probably haven’t lost any information and you may be minutes away from having your familiar operating system restored. There are two steps to this process: (1) manually starting your operating system from within the Grub program; (2) manually reconfiguring to automatically update it’s configuration to start properly.

There is one nice feature and trick you will need to do this process. When you type in commands in the command-line, and those commands need to refer to a file, the key “tab” does an auto-complete. For example: suppose you have a file that starts with the letters “myfile…” stored in a folder called “/myfolder”. If you type “/myfolder/myfile” and then click tab it will automatically find the file and complete the rest of it’s name. If it finds more then one file – it will show you a list of options which match – and you can then manually enter it.

Step1: Manually Starting the Operating System

In this process you will need to enter numerous commands at the command line. The actual commands are marked in bold, optional commands are marked in italics, the rest of the text is complimentary comments & explanations.

NTFS is a method for organizing files on your hard drive, and we need to load a module that will be able to read it by entering:

insmod ntfs

Next we need to tell the program where the operating system can be found – this is a reference to a partition on a hard drive. If, like me, you are working with a WUBI installation (I am running Kubuntu 9.10 on a computer with one hard drive and one partition) then Ubuntu is on the first hard driver’s second partition. Numbering starts at 0 – so the first hard drive is “hd0″ and the second partition is “1” and the command you need to type is:

set root=(hd0,1)

In any other configuration you need to figure out which hard drive and which partition contains the Ubuntu installation. You can type an ls command which will show you what hard drives and partitions are currently available.

I am not sure what these two command do, but it seems they create some kind of temporary space for the operating system to load:

loopback loop0 /ubuntu/disks/root.disk
set root=(loop0)

In this next step you are going to need to use the auto-complete feature mentioned above. You will need to enter this command in two steps:
type in: linux /boot/vmlinuz
then press tab and you will probably be shown a number of options. I found “vmlinuz-2.6.31-14-generic”, “vmlinuz-2.6.31-15-generic”, “vmlinuz-2.6.31-16-generic”. I tried to the latest version, the one labeled “16”, but that didn’t work. The one labeled “15” did work for me. So you may also have to try and see what works for you. Complete the command(for example):

linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.31-15-generic root=/dev/sda1 loop=/ubuntu/disks/root.disk ro

Please note that “sda1″ is another way of referring to the first hard drive “a” and second partition “1” (zero is the first partition). You may need to replace this with a reference to your installed partition.

In this next step you will again be using the auto-complete feature to create a command like this:

initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.31-15-generic

I believe that the the numbers, which indicate a version of the linux kernel, should match those entered in the previous command.

Finally, give the command to boot the operating system (this will probably cause the screen to scroll with lots of information – which is a good sign that indicates that the system is indeed loading):
boot

Step2: Updating the Grub Configuration

If you are experiencing relief – that’s great and it means you only have one more thing to do. This is to make sure that the next time you reboot your computer it will be able to load automatically. You will need to open a terminal window and type in the following command:

sudo update-grub

If you experience other problems you may want to continue browsing and reading this thread – which will probably continue to evolve and update as more people encounter this problem in different settings and variations. Good luck :)

# Add the ntfs module
insmod ntfs
# Set root (normally would be sda1, or hd0,1 Change as necessary
set root=(hd0,1)
loopback loop0 /ubuntu/disks/root.disk

# Yes, set root for a second time. I don’t know why…
set root=(loop0)
# Set the kernel. You can (and should) use Tab (twice) to complete entries such as the kernel when possible – type vml and then TAB twice and it will autocomplete to the point where there are two possibilities. Tab complete ensures the path/file names as typed exist. Additionally, if you suspect the new kernel is the problem, you might want to select an earlier one. vmlinuz…. should be a complete kernel entry such as “vmlinuz-2.6.31-15-generic-pae” *
linux /boot/vmlinuz…. root=/dev/sda1 loop=/ubuntu/disks/root.disk ro
# Set the initrd image – complete or tab to get the full name Example: “/boot/initrd.img-2.6.31-15-generic-pae”
initrd /boot/initrd/initrd.img…
# Boot.
boot
Posted in outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours