I stumbled into yoga sometime around 15 – 20 years ago. My practice was guided almost exclusively by televised workout programs for those first few years, and then I took some classes, read some books, took more classes, and read more books. The only shortcoming of my life as a yogi has been my consistency: I might practice for a few years regularly, and then go on an unintentional hiatus for a few more. I even received a YOGA for Youth certification a few years ago, that has never actually come up as a teacher.
A staple of what I’ve learned throughout my practice is that practice alone isn’t what interests me: I’m also fascinated by the philosophy, and more than mere intrigue, I feel genuine attachment to it. Not to say it fills in the blanks of Jewish belief, but at times it seems to, and at other times it shines new light upon familiar scripture. The practice of Yoga, not merely the fitness of it, has persisted even when my exercise has not.
And when I finished reading the Sefer Yetzirah, a cornerstone of Jewish mystical thought, it seemed only natural to focus my gaze upon a cornerstone of the Yogic tradition: the Bhagavad Gita.
I wrote this the other day and figured it was too mentally askew to be worth posting. I was in a bad place–stressed by finals, consumed by philosophy–and strange things happen in dark corners on bright days, you know? So I’ve been thinking about it anyways, and since I’ve had some more time to consider it, to reflect on it, I’ve found there’s actually some merit in it after all.
So with no further ado, I present to you “Dancing Fire”:
Tonight begins Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, the commemoration of the rededication of the Temple hundreds of years ago. Normally I would light candles and celebrate with my family, but tonight that’s impossible: I’m still on campus, hung between finals, and candle-lighting isn’t exactly allowed in the dorms. (I’ve got a friend bringing me his lighter, and then I’ll at least light the candles outside.)
Since it’s been a long time since I’ve last lit any candles, and since it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about the Pirkei Avot, I figured tonight would be the prime time to reprise both.
This weekend was none other than the 25th annual North Carolina Pride. Actually, the event has been going on all week, but it culminated with the Pride Parade on Saturday. I had the opportunity to go once before, and it was a lot of fun and so sunny all my pictures were washed out from the intense sunlight.
Yesterday it rained.
But in this rain, the festivities went on with a crowd as strong as could be, and after the parade I ended up in a lengthy conversation with a visiting Christian who was shouting to all of us that we were sinners and would all go to hell. I hadn’t realized how significant that encounter had been until I reread today’s teaching.
I teased today’s teaching last week when I explained my recent absence from writing and today I bring it back, but before we get to it, I offer a question to consider: What is wisdom? Who is wise? And why would–or would not–wisdom last over time?
It may be beneficial to take a moment to think thoroughly of these things before reading onward, but if you’d rather rush ahead, that’s okay, too–just keep all these thoughts in mind for later.
Once upon a time I met a man, a most spectacular specimen, with a mind as quicksilver and sharp as anybody’s, and we got to talking about philosophy, about truth and belief, what is real and what is merely perception. It was a provocative conversation to all extents of the imagination, and I must admit, perhaps foolishly in so public a forum as this, that the truest way to my heart is kindness and depth, and let me tell you, this man had both.
Then again, such sincerity is hard to feign, so perhaps it’s not so foolishly shared.
Regardless, such a deep conversation got me thinking, what is my personal philosophy? Do I even have one? And after some consideration, or years of consideration if you’d rather go back to when I first began to formulate the postulates of my intensities, I decided I do have a personal requiem of philosophies that I stand by. They are tenets and towers, facsimiles of faith and fiction, the philosophy of the wolf himself.
Yesterday I got carried away with art. I like art. I like it even more since I added another hundred or so plugins to Paint.net. I knew it would happen when my internet came back, but I hadn’t expected to spend so many hours playing with them all right away. Nor had I imagined we’d be going to the laundromat last night, chasing circles after my niece for an hour or so, and then spend a few more folding before, so exhausted, bed was the only option.
And today, my head feels like one red balloon floating to the moon, quoth Enya. Carry on, I dare say, carry on. This one will be interesting. As I feel half Luna and half drowsy, I don’t see it being any other way.