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“I am not (what you need from) my body”: expanding on a yoga meme

 

1. “I am not my body” communicates a felt reality: a review + another possibility

 

It’s been about five months since I called out Cameron Shayne’s use of the “I am not my body” meme to rationalize his DIY libertarian It’s-Okay-To-Sleep-With-My-Students ethics. It started a rich discussion that gave me a lot to think about, and softened up this critical heart of mine. At least a bit, anyway.

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mantra

Initiation of mantra comes through hearing alone. Hearing comes through space element. The elders say that the lowliest villager passing through space by the temple door who happens to hear a mantra is initiated by its rhythm and from then on is beholden to its meaning.

(When the elders become the eldest they sit at the temple door and listen to the songs of children and are themselves initiated anew.)

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the speaking therapy, bookless cooking, and a book

The page bows before orality.*

Ayurvedic worldview is primarily conveyed through oral tradition, which means that it establishes validity in relationship (in dialogue). Ayurveda is learned heart-to-heart, in the home (kitchen, garden, bathroom) of someone who learned about it by living it in someone else’s home. Oral traditions predate the ossification of the written word into stable definition and Platonic ideal – the etching, scribing, and typesetting that fails to mirror the modulations of voice, but changes nonetheless, unconsciously, with the broader sweep of time that erodes the letters and the pages they mark, and now, the technology of the book itself.

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syrinx and systole, first three fragments

The songbird sings from his syrinx, at the bottom of his trachea, where the two bronchi become one. It is a hollow space framed by reverberant cartilage and smooth muscle tympanum. There are no chords to split and differentiate the breath. The tongue does not direct the sound, nor are there teeth for sibilance, nor labia for nuance.

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the creative posture in yoga (beach, shells, fascination)

Study how a child chooses shells on the beach. The precious ones are precious for no reason we can fully know. She reaches for them with a mind empty, but for a little rhythmic song. Her small shivering body forgets cold and snack time. This shell has a fleck of turquoise, this one has thicker pearlescence, this one is a hundred times smaller than the rest. She makes a small pile in the sand, contiguous with the shells beneath it. She’ll have to sort them again when it’s time to go, but with little concern: an hour has shown her the beach is infinite.

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an ayurvedic view of cancer

In the face of the most difficult etiology, cancer, Ayurveda offers four overlapping modes of reflection and support: the descriptive, the preventative, the purificatory, and the supportive/palliative. Overlaps occur because the descriptive in itself has preventative power, while palliation, in turn, will always involve the purification of root causes, even when the momentum of the disease is overwhelming. “Palliation” does not necessarily refer to a final-illness context in Ayurveda: it also generally means “improvement of imbalancing factors”, or, as presented below, it can be thought of as intelligent dietary support during the radical interventions of chemotherapy and radiation. In true final-illness circumstances, all of these modes transcend their physiological focus, to become tools for a celebrative and reconciliatory inquiry into life. The doctor doesn’t give up, but she does change the medicine – from the specific to the expansive.

This brief presentation will provide a basic introduction to these four modes.

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authenticity (yoga happens to you)

You lengthen a muscle. Your breath seeps into a forgotten place. You straighten a limb. A network of unseen contractions disengages. Flesh and thought soften to neutral. Thought pauses its forward rush. The page goes blank in the script of identity. Pain evaporates with a flush of hot circulation. The energy of future concern collapses to the scale of the presently known and felt. You practice yoga, and yoga happens to you.

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homo accipiens

Latin. cont. “The human who learns, receives, and considers oneself indebted.” A neologism for humanity that eschews the oppression of ultimacy.

Life is experience. All experience is learning. Learning is the food of life, its central pleasure. We learn what we do not know. What we do not know is the food of life. We depend on what we do not know to continue living. What we do not know gives us life. We move towards what we do not know, breathing air we have never breathed. We receive what we do not know in every moment. We are indebted to the unknown for this gift of life. We chase the unknown through desire for experience, rendering implicit and baffled praise to we know not what. The familiar is but a subtler texture of the unknown.

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ayurveda-mala, #1-18

  1. We yearn to see the patterns that weave life. Without patterns, we are prisoners in a cosmic filing cabinet in which all the files are jumbled.

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