Wandering the halls in the middle of the night I fell upon a number of posts over at fishesandhoney.wordpress.com. The whole phenomenon of our Western fascination–to the point nearly of obsession–with yoga is of course germane to what goes on here at the Cafe, so I thought I would make a post of the stammering thoughts elicited by fishes and honey. Here’s what I wrote:
I’ve just finished reading several of your posts, with interest, and feel a simmering need to write something–but what, I’m not sure. Firstly, I’ve never attended a yoga class in my life, never an ashram or retreat; my yoga and retreats have been behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer driving through the mountains of British Columbia. It has been an eminently Western, continental as well as civilizational, experience–a not going off somewhere else to find or achieve a more integral relationship to self, but a remaining muleheadedly here, smack in the midst of our Western lostness.
Whereas I now and then read the writings of individuals who have gone off and touched a deeper sense of self such as this Stephen Cope relates and of course Thich Nhat, I always question how it relates back to us in the here and now. Thich writes of the gnawing urge: “Don’t just sit there, do something!” To me the discomforting urge faced by all the teeming masses of yoga practitioners is more: “Can I afford the time (and, since yoga often also requires a monetary outlay, the money) required to sit here until such a time as I touch something true and genuine in myself again and from that moment on know what it is I want to DO with the rest of my life.”
Several times, including reading a post of your’s, I’ve come across the notion of “impermanence.” Why, I ask myself, are people focusing, or are instructed to focus, on that which will not last, or will pass? It might serve to free us from fixation on the mind-constructed self, which is impermanent, but does it lead many to an understanding of the deeper, permanent reality of the Life that is flowing through each and every living creature this very moment on this planet and probably beyond?
To me, a more affective and relevant teaching would be that Buddhahood is permanence, the permanence of the Life that is flowing through us all; not the impermanence of the form it has temporarily inspirited.
It’s a bit disjointed, but that’s what you get at 4:30 am, and she’s a pretty big subject I suppose.