“What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more ... Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all.”
Susan Sontag

Against Interpretation

Indra Adnan On New Politics, Soft Power and the Feminine

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I am increasingly feeling disconnected from podcasts (and other materials) about subjects I care about (or think I care about!). I mostly feel that ideas are not well grounded and talk about (what strikes me as) disassociated fantasies. The latest wave of disappointment comes from this list from Richard Bartlett (whose work and person I admire very much!). But then I came across this podcast with Indra Adnan who talks about politics from a practical and actionable feminine perspective – a nourishing and soothing listening experience.

There were quite a few shimmering thoughts in the interview, but what stood out and stuck in my mind was an invitation to explicitly re-ask what politics is about – what are we coming together to do when we “do politics” … do we automatically inherit the (seemingly default) work of keeping the economic-growth machine running, or do we want something else … maybe the well-being of our society?

I am not currently engaged in anything political, but I did want to make a note of this so I can share with a few relevant people.

 

Posted in AltEco, Community, Intake, Oameni, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga Practice – Closing Ritual

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I have an instinctual distrust of ritual behavior. Though I can understand that rituals can act as anchors for desired attention and action, my impression is that they can easily default into a training of absence – blind repetition devoid of attention or context. So it was interesting for me to witness over the last year or so, a ritual form at the end of my practice. It is a living ritual that has been changing, growing and refining and may continue to do so. It comes at the end of my sitting practice and before my chanting practice. This is its current state:

  1. Inhale opening and raising my palms up in front of me.
  2. Exhale covering my eyes (still closed from the sitting practice) with my palms.
  3. Stay for a breath or two.
  4. Inhale moving my palms away from my eyes back to an open and raised position.
  5. Exhale placing my hands on my heart space.
  6. Staying here at least for a few breaths … though this is growing and becoming a place I can inhabit for quite some time. It starts by bringing my attention to my own heart, offering softness and inviting healing. If there is something in my body that calls for healing, I spend some time there. After settling in my heart, if I feel called to do so, I open my heart and send it outwards. Sometimes I connect with one specific person. Sometimes I connect with “everyone and everything”. Sometimes I invite connection with people in my life … and I let them flow freely through my consciousness … offering them, as they appear, my heart.
  7. Inhale moving my palms away from my heart space back to an open and raised position.
  8. Exhale bowing forward my head and bringing my two palms together – cupped forming a space between them – to my forehead.
  9. I stay one or two breaths to arrive at this place.
  10. I dedicate a breath to the student in me.
  11. I dedicate a breath to the teacher.
  12. I dedicate a breath to my teacher Ziva.
  13. I dedicate a breath to my teacher Paul.
  14. I dedicate a breath to Paul’s teacher Desikachar.
  15. I dedicate a breath to Desikachar’s teacher (and father) Krishnamacharya.
  16. I dedicate a breath to all of their teachers.
  17. I dedicate a breath to all their teacher’s teachers.
  18. I dedicate a breath to the teachings.
  19. I dedicate a breath to prakrti – that which is eternally changing.
  20. I dedicate a breath to purusa – that which eternally sees.
  21. I dedicate a breath or two to the wholeness held by the preceding breaths – to Yoga. I  imagine breathing that wholeness into a small ball of light cupped in the space between my palms.
  22. I inhale moving my palms away from my forehead back to an open and raised position.
  23. I exhale opening my palms wider and lowering them further down. Staying for a breath or two, I offer the fruits of practice to … all … and imagine the small ball of light growing and expanding infinitely.
  24. On the next exhale I lower my palms to my knees and turn them facing down to indicate completion of the practice.
  25. I stay for another few breaths and gently open my eyes.
Posted in Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to add your comment

We don’t stop the bad, it stops

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“Even when some things are good, we cannot prompt ourselves to do them even by will. Some people try forcibly to restrain themselves from doing certain things. This will never work because the activity of forcing, constraining, and struggling tends to become a distraction. We become so involved in the negative action that we never progress … Someone might smoke sixty cigarettes a day, and he might understand intellectually that he should not smoke, but he cannot stop. Nobody smokes because they like the idea of inhaling tar and nicotine. There is some other reason … something must happen to such a  person that will tell him, “Look here, I can do without cigarettes.” Ideally when we move into the practice of yoga, we begin to develop a process that stops the detrimental. This stopping is not caused directly — we don’t stop the bad, it stops.”

TKV Desikachar – Religiousness in Yoga

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Deeper & Discerning Perception

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This scientific article was not written for me to read, but the essense of it does resonate with me: there is value in learning to better discern between how things appear and what they are, to learn to perceive deeper, beyond surface phenomena to deeper underlying dynamics:

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Emotions & Feelings

n

A few days this thought seeded in me:

emotions are a scent from the past, feelings are aromas from the future

I feel a need to discern, at least for myself, between emotions and feelings (I can think of reasons why, but that may become more clear in the future). The question this seed left in me was: how can I tell the difference between emotions and feelings?

Emotions are intense and demanding. They are extreme – they can suddenly lift me very high or drop me very low. They tend to fill me up and overwhelm me. They want to occupy me completely. They demand attention and they demand it now. They reject reflection and demand immediate action. It is as if they block me out: I become the emotion. They activate mind and make it bounce around considering options, leaving a trail of doubt.

Feelings are soft and subtle. They can be penetrating but not overwhelming … somehow they appear, in a just right intensity, at the edge of my peripheral vision as if to inquire if I am ready for them. If I’m not ready, they go away, they don’t hold a grudge, and if the circumstances are right they appear again. They are not imperative, they generate peace, presence and contentment. They settle in heart, leaving a sense of sweet, clear, vague knowing with a scent of soft confidence.

Emotions erupt from the inside out, consume and burn out wildly. Feelings move gently from the outside in and light a delicate candle that burns slowly and gives good light.

Emotions are social, they seek others, they want to be spoken out, shared, acknowledged and celebrated. Feelings are private and shy, they seek a quiet, undisturbed presence in heart.

The purpose of of emotions seems to be conservation through inhbition. They are an established past meeting an unknown present. They sense change and ask for re-consideration. They ask that what is established not be blindy rejected for an unknown promise. If possible (depending on both past and present) they speak moderately. If unheard they speak louder.

The purpose of feelings seems to be to navigate gracefully into an unknown future. They are stepping stones that appear just in time, forming a path that has not yet been traveled. They are like magical breadcrumbs that show not the way back to a familiar shelter, but a way forward to a new potential.

Confusion seems to live amongst emotions. There is an abundance of not-knowing in feelings, but since they live in heart, they seem to be relatively immune to confusion (which seems to be a capacity of mind). Clarity, not specific, seems to live amongst feelings.

There is a shifting, living relationship between emotions & feelings, (confusion & clarity). An excess of emotions creates an imbalance that leans towards excessive and ineffective action – doing much of little consequence. An excess of feelings creates an immobilizing stillness. Excess emotions create instability outside, excesss feeling create instability inside.

These features are indicators of what is manifesting. I want to be able to recognize when I am emoting from the past and when I am sensing from the future. I want to be able to experience both clearly and know which is which. I want to be held by both: supported by the familiar ground of emotions, levitated by the flickering invitation of feelings.


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