“You see, a warrior considers himself already dead, so there is nothing for him to lose. The worst has already happened to him, therefore he’s clear and calm.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Quick Unification


“What we are trying to develop to bring about unification will, if we move too quickly, divide us into pieces”

TKV Desikacahar – Religiousness in Yoga

The context of this quote is the many subtle details that make up Pranayama (breathing) practices. It is not possible to take them on at once, it takes years of practice to gradually take on one detail at a time, assimilate it and move on to the next (in the right order!).

But reading this echoed deeper inside me … reflecting on attempts (from which I have mostly retired) to achieve unification in the social sphere. In most of the social contexts I encountered in recent years I felt there was over-reach. Maybe this says something about the division that is manifesting?

For varying reasons we seem to expect fast & clear outcomes. It seems we like to reference ideas like “10,000 hours to achieve mastery” but are rarely interested in, or able to put in the hours. Deep experiential learning is mostly monotonous and unexciting … small, sometimes barely noticeable iterations that, over time and mostly in retrospect accumulate into (surprisingly!) substantial change. Maybe some experiential unlearning is a prerequisite for this to happen: a shedding of excitement, importance, achievement, drama and passion. When these are peeled off what are we left with? Maybe a slow and  curious engagement, a kind of mature playfulness where the reward shifts from winning the game to simply playing it, from mighty goals to small, stable steps?

I have lost interest in the “making the world a better place” narrative and, at least for now, have settled on something like “better inhabiting the world” … gradually finding ways to introduce quality on a small day-to-day scale. I am grateful that I was taught this skill on-the-mat (requiring much unlearning!) and it applies well off-the-mat.


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