Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well, I can hardly believe we have only one more day of the Immersion. What a week so far. Today we started of with questions and review and began our day with the BIG ONE. By the BIG ONE I mean, the Big Question that always comes up when we talk about the tattvas and about the philosophy that informs Anusara Yoga- WHY? Like, really, why is it that Spirit comes into form and why is it that there is evil and why...?

So we explored that question a bit. Ultimately, I think I avoided the question but I at least owned up to the fact I was avoiding it. I think the thing is that we can learn the why of it from an academic standpoint and depending on the system we are looking at, we get different explanations. But I think the reason the questions comes up no matter how much I try to front-load a discussion and give that answer in advance is that the why for the head does not satisfy the why of the heart.

So I can say the why of it according to Anusara Yoga philosophy and so forth and say "because the Absolute is so free it can do anything it wants. To tell it not to manifest as evil is to limit its intrinsic freedom..." And I can say, the whole thing happens "for the sheer delight of hiding and being found again. I can say it is lila, play, delight." But really, that may sound a bit empty in the face of famine, natural disasters, holocausts and child abuse.

So that's the thing- this is THE BIG ONE because this is what most religions have been grappling with for always. And really, once we have an answer for the head, well, there is still the task of living with that answer in a way that is authentic, satisfying, relevant, and so on. And that is not easy yoga to do. I think the Anusara Yoga vision may seem easy and simplistic at first (It's all Good. Yippeeee!!!) but I think really living that way is something else entirely. Really asserting the presence of God (and a Good God, at that!) in the face of the array of atrocious suffering that exists is not an easy thing. And then really feeling that way, really seeing things as that, not just as an intellectual construct but as a true and direct experience is something else as well.

And so I told the group that since anytime a BIG QUESTION is answered simplistically, I feel unsatisfied, I was not going to attempt to wrap it up in a simple package. Really, I gave that level of answer and so the next thing we each have to do is chew on it, burn with the qurestion, "live our way into the answers" and come to some sense of it within our own hearts.

Generally, I think WHY is a very dangerous line of questioning. I think better we ask WHAT? What do I want to do in response to suffering? What do I see as the positive contribution I can make to lessen the suffering around me? So like that.

So all that before 9:30 this morning!

Then we went into kanchukas and then into some lecture on Inner and Outer Spiral and then into an Inner and Outer Spiral class with lots of deep hip work, and visvamitrasana as the pinnacle pose. After lunch we talked about the malas, the doshas and the pelvis and psoas and took that into a lotus class and ended the day with some kirtan and a long savasana.

It was a very fun day. One of the most interesting things I have observed is that on the day I teach the malas, we tend to have the most fun. So weird. I will have to contemplate that one. Anyway, there is a lot of love in this group and it is so great to see the studetns come alive with the fire for the method, the teachings and the practice. Juanpa is such a good teacher and he and his wife Marienela are doing such a good job there- along with the other teachers- to provide such a sanctuary of healing. It is pretty awesome.

Whew. So now, I am waiting on some dinner and then bed.


KarenF said...

Hi Christina,
I want you to know that I've been reading often from up here in Idaho. This subject of the big question is really on my mind right now, and the way that I'm placing it is also HOW- that is, through what efficaceous practices do we connect head to heart, so that we can look at WHY and WHAT with more members of the team engaged. I'm looking at the loops of the upper body, practices like metta, chanting etc. to try to link these two gateways, that for me, feel somewhat divorcced from each other right now. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this....
Karen Faunce, Moscow ID

mark said...

i remember reading somewhere in the Gurdjieff stuff that "why" is usually a 'formative question'.

mark said...

that was probably ouspensky

Cheryl Chaffee said...

Thanks for sharing this, Christina. The really big questions are such a challenge for everyone! My 13 year old son is struggling with this one right now, so I'd like to share your advice on focusing on the what rather than the why with him.

~Cheryl Chaffee,
Venice, FL

Elephant Acupuncture said...

maybe the reason the day you talk about the malas is fun because talking about them helps us feel lighter as we realize that it's part of who we _all are and that it's ok, even natural to feel the limitations that we feel.