Blog #2: Crimes Against Wisdom: A Yogi Gone Bad, Consciously!
This is the 2nd blog in an ongoing series of a yogin’s intentional “crimes against wisdom.” This series will highlight my experience of purposefully ignoring 10 years of training in yoga, meditation and ayurveda in favor of performing typical current cultural behaviors of modernity. It will catalog all the negative symptoms endured, explanations of the principles broken, insights gained along the way and the entire “recovery process” as I return to a life based on staples of natural wisdom. You can find the 1st introductory blog here, and you can sign on for the RSS feed, here by choosing the appropriate link in the top right corner of the page. Please also feel free to “like” our FB page: here follow us on Twitter, here and share the fruits of this experiment with your friends.
The Choices We Make
There is a principle of natural wisdom that says when we are out of balance for more than 3 months then our appetites will be for that which furthers our imbalance rather than for that which nourishes our health. Five weeks into this experiment of intentionally knocking myself off-kilter I still have the impulse to reach for what I really need. But, it is getting ever easier to just indulge in what I want!
I wonder, if I keep this up will I lose my wisdom compass completely? Will all of this training I have undergone for years be rendered useless by the power of unchecked compulsions? I am firmly aware of the law of reality that the physiological state of our being directly inspires our mental, emotional and spiritual experience. So, if I continue to treat my body like crap will I get to the point of no longer choosing these “crimes” but rather falling prey to the unconscious drives dictated by physiological imbalance?
Of course the answer is, eventually, YES!!! There are very radically enlightened dudesses and dudes out there whose heart-minds are not swayed by their physical situations… but, for most of us ordinary folks trying to make a decent experience of this life a balanced body = joy, ease, contentment, success; while imabalance = the myriad of ways we suffer.
Last week I was on an airplane. I realized that it is the little choices we make, day to day and moment to moment, that dictate the integrity of out spirit. These decisions, which seem minor and may often be made rather unconsciously, amount to a lifestyle. A lifestyle amounts to a life. And life quickly turns to death, leaving us wondering why the hell we are losing our crackers!
Instead of taking the time to make it a priority to prepare good food for the flight I ignored my internal reminder and stayed busy with tasks that weren’t important enough for me to remember them 5 days later. So, a few hours into the flight – hungry and thirsty – the stewardess came by and offered me some nuts and ice water. Normally, I would avoid both of these things on a plane trip.
Flying greatly disturbs the wind element of our experience. (I will be regularly referring to the 5 Elements in these blogs, if you’d like to bone up on a very basic understanding of this theory, you can do so, here) Briefly, aggravated wind causes anxiety, fatigue, constipation, etc. and is said in ayurveda to be the “spearhead of disease”. Qualitatively speaking, wind can be whacked out by experiencing anything that is rough, cold, dry, etc.
Nuts and ice water are not a good idea in an already wind-disturbing environment. Natural wisdom tells us that we should consider our environment, internally and externally when we choose to feed ourselves in any way. This principle doesn’t tell us that anything is ever inherently wrong, but rather must be assessed based on the considerations of “for whom and when.”
Some might fret that always figuring all of these variables into daily life choices would be quite a drag. But, when digested appropriately these principles are… well… natural… This means that when we make a practice of removing un-natural habits from our life, natural wisdom is revealed as inherent. So, you don’t have to sit in the grocery store scratching your head reading labels. When one is fairly balanced intuition can be trusted and is rather effortless. In a state of disharmony we should remember that like attracts like and we are often drawn to what will mess us up more.
I’ll tell you what the real drag is: ignoring this natural wisdom and this 5 element view of life! I have never felt so damn restless on a plane! High wind element is also responsible for the phantom phenomenon called “restless leg syndrome” or “RLS.” Can you believe that we have gotten to the point where we call such things syndromes? And we try to medicate them with prescriptions drugs! Folks, this is ridiculous.
As I munched on one crunchy snack after another and washed ‘em down with big gulps of icey-cold water I felt bad for the readers in this forum that I just couldn’t bring myself to drink cup after cup of coffee like the uber-successful business moguls next to me. I watched in astonishment and wondered, don’t they feel how dry a plane trip makes them? Don’t they feel how drying coffee is? I can’t say for sure if cup after cup was ill-advised for these men. “For whom and when”, right? But, if you will allow me the liberty to make some assumptions for the sake of making the point, I’d appreciate it (but, really, even on a plane coffee might be the right presciption for someone).
Trust me, I dig a latte like the rest of us and I wasn’t judging their characters (which was actually quite impressive)… but… man, maybe these cats have never gotten constipated from a plane trip, or maybe they’ve never considered that this type of constipation comes from dryness and that they could balance the inevitable of effects of flying with a more appropriate diet and routine. What is more, I bet they’ve never considered that aggravating the wind element in little ways, over time, after years eventually results in serious disease.
Even more damaging, though, than the physical repercussions of these moment-to-moment choices is the erosion of spirit that ensues from prioritizing shit that doesn’t matter over shit that does. Before the flight I probably chose to answer some emails or write some stupid blog rather than make myself a decent meal that would help me to stay internally “moist” and therefore more sane on that plane.
One of the biggest traps I have seen since being back in the States these last 5 weeks is that we actually get caught up thinking that the stuff we fill our lives with is important! We literally choose to harm ourselves in these little ways all the time and then we wonder why we end up diseased and scared shitless of death which comes “too early” in life.
Alzheimer’s, when boiled down to a natural perspective is a serious disturbance of the wind element. This dries us up and causes a major lack of water element, which is responsible for, among other things, “holding” our memories and sense of a cohesive self together. Cancer does not just appear one day without a chain of events that begin NOW! Heart attacks are not as spontaneous as they appear to be. Yet, we insist on waiting until it is possibly too late to prioritize what really matters in life: slowing down, doing less, enjoying more, breathing big, loving unconditionally, experiencing our spiritual core and making moment-to-moment choices that enhance the joy of our being over and above everything else.
(p.s. for the skeptics among you: this is not a recipe for a life of no-achievement, inability to support one’s self and one’s family, lack of resonsibility, etc. It does not take long to see that prioritizing our lives in this way is actually not selfish, either, but is rather a source of compassion enabling us to care for others rather than needing to be cared for by family, community, government, etc.)