Thursday, April 21, 2011

Humbled and Grateful...

I do not have a problem with people dying - disease, or accidents or natural disasters. In a way. I think there are too many humans on this planet to sustain a healthy balance and that we prove this every day. I happen to think of humans as just another species and do not think that we should expect to continue as species indefinitely. So, actually, i am OK with the entire human race being wiped out in a flash by a meteor. Why? Because, I don't think we are entitled to life and we are definitely not entitled to life forever. We are just organisms on the face of a planet which is hurried through the Universe at 67,000 miles per hour to imminent destruction. These are the facts of life.

But there are other facts, which are equally present. The fact that suffering exists. The fact that the higher the nervous system, the more developed the brain, the more developed the ego, the deeper, stronger and inevitable the suffering. So, as humans we hold first place in being able to experience suffering. No other creatures on this planet can make themselves so miserable as we can. Mainly because no other creatures on this planet has the well cultivated egos that humans have. That being said, i have nothing but compassion for ALL beings but especially for the beings who experience the greatest suffering daily, hourly and by the minuted - humans.

Outside of being parasites on the face of the Earth, humans are also magicians and creators of the highest order. We are the only species who can imagine and manifest from that imagination. This is nothing short of amazing. This is Godly attribute. And what makes it more amazing is that we always, almost certainly fail to recognize that, so we devote our time and attention to building identities, acquiring things - beliefs and objects that will re-enforce those identities and then we spend a lot of time asserting those identities, fighting over our differences and defending our selves from folks who challenge our identity. Meanwhile, we are cooking delicious meals, creating art, inventing technology, raising kids and not even noticing.

So, I find here and there something i can do, like teach yoga, not eating anything with eyes, support the American Cancer perhaps alleviate some of the suffering, even though i know that suffering is nothing more than the experience of an ego who cannot accept the way things are. Pain is definite but suffering is optional - as we are told by the sages. If we reach a place in time when cancer, or other disease are no longer anyone's concern, we've solved our political dilemmas, or figured out how to build nuclear power plants that don't explode, it is likely that suffering will still exist because humans are masters at finding reasons to suffer.

At the end we shall all be returned to dust and it won't matter. Meanwhile, Ghandi and Mother Teresa showed us that helping people without judging them is a noble pursuit and makes a huge difference while we are around. Humbly, I try to learn from them and others and count my blessings every day because i realize that life is a bitter sweet phenomena, temporary, unreasonable, unfair and that it will never be reasonable and fair, because reasonable and fair are not adjectives that should be used with the word life. Life is consciousness manifested in form.

For me to live something dies every day. But does it? Consciousness is never born, and it never dies. "One man believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain. Both are ignorant." teaches the Bhagavad Gita. Chew on this for a while. Enlightenment is when one realizes this truth and after the Zen folks would say "Chop wood. Carry water."

So, i choose to dwell on the marvel of being here and the opportunity to experience life as this form in this moment and look forward to crafting the next moment equally consciously.  I am grateful for the life forms that are "lost" everyday for this life form to continue it's temporal existence. I always ask "what should i be creating" knowing full well that the answer to this question would, at best, contain only a relative truth with relative significance that makes all the difference in this space-time reality of illusion. This heart beats the words of Ramana Maharshi: The World is unreal. Brahman only is real. The World is Brahman.

And tomorrow is another day and time for a cream cheese croissant, listening to birds, painting the bathroom, getting into arguments and wondering at the stupidity of politicians, why my phone battery only lasts a few hours, when will we finally have the teleport..."chop wood, carry water."

Yours truly....
Valentina Petrova. Call me if you want to know how things are :)))

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Clean cut and color co-ordinated....

So, the Yoga Journal has a "talent search" which consists of sending your picture in a yoga pose and writing a paragraph about your self. Over 2000 people respond. Most of them with less then 5 years of yoga practice experience. A lot of them in postures they can't fit into but trying anyhow. People have to vote by clicking on 1 - 5 stars to show their vote. No telling of how many folks have voted for each person just by looking at each one, but we will be told who wins by the Yoga Journal staff at the end of the round.

This starts me thinking along these lines....

Folks flock to see the celebrity yoga teachers out there and the Yoga Journal apparently manufactures them - the prettiest face on a picture will get to be featured and as soon as that happens, this pretty face is now also a celebrity folks will flock to. No wonder i don't go to YJ conferences anymore. I am not into pretty faces who don't know much about yoga, teaching me what i can learn on my own from books and teachers who have earned the title.

You know how when you want to sell or rent your house, you have to make it "vanilla" so that essentially has no character. The idea is that since you don't know what a buyer may want, you don't want to turn someone away just because they don't like your color pallet. Well, yoga journal models are "vanilla." White background, color coordinated, perfectly representing the woman/man ratio of 70/30 and the white/ethnic ratio (which means mostly white, middle aged females) clean cut, smiling faces, no wrinkles and nice toe nails...

Last time i checked, all the yoga sages were on the scruffy side. Mad hair. Dark skin. Old (most of them). Skinny. Basically on the wild side of life and on the fringes of society. Probably stinky too, but since i never met one that i can remember, won't say anything about that. Those are the folks that left us the greatest teachings, the wisest of scriptures and coolest of practices. All we are going to leave is a hole in the Amazon forest where the trees to print the Yoga Journal's glossy advertising for things we do not need, came from.

Not that we should all aspire to cruffiness or stinkiness, but i find it hard to believe that there are no accomplished yoga figures out there that have more character than the Easter bunny. I mean, yoga is about building, or more accurately, unleashing your character in it's full potential. There's nothing "vanilla" about yoga and there can't be any because this practice gets deep down inside where the shadows lurk and churns your world upside down, if you let it (and you should). Is Ramana Maharshi vanilla? Is Gandhi vanilla? Is Yogananada vanilla? Is Krishnamurti vanilla? How about Aurobindo?

I think i sound like a broken record, but folks have to earn their teaching credentials, not just take a teacher training, or look good on a picture. I look good on a picture too but until you hear my voice, you have to idea who i am or if i am your cup of tea at all. Gymnasts look great on pictures in yoga posture, mainly because their bodies have been beaten into submission from an early age and not without the price of injuries, but they do look awesome in yoga postures. That's not the same as having a clue about yoga.

So, if you also got the "vote for your favorite" from the Yoga Journal, think about what you are really voting for. Next, think about what yoga is for you. Then think of who your teacher is/are. If you are after working out - the gym is very effective and less costly, not that there's anything wrong with working out, because you do that too while practicing yoga. If there's more to your practice than a work out, make sure your teacher is more then a pretty face, entertaining figure or sweat talking son of a preacher-man.
Just a suggestion....

Call me if you want to know how things really are :))