Thursday, May 28, 2009

102/147 -- The Wisdom of Evolution?

Wednesday Off.

The day 146 meditation may just be too deep for me.  I'm having a hard time figuring out whether I even understand it.  I can say with some assurance that I have not experienced what Gates is talking about, though it sounds cool.

First Gates talks about the subconscious.  He says that we can access the "intelligence" of the subconscious by quieting the mind.  I've read a little Freud, and some other psychology, and I don't think Gate's notion of the subconscious has much to do with Freud (or Jung from what I've read.)  On this point, I will defer to my brother, who actually did study this stuff in some detail.

Even if its bad psychology, I think Gates is absolutely right about yoga naturally quieting the mind.  And I've even had glimmers of the result of this quieting:  a kind of access to some form of reliable intuition.  So far I don't think the waters are either that deep or murky.

Then we get to the parallel idea:  finding peace in the body and accessing the "wisdom of its cells."  I saw Altered States.  I have a very passing familiarity that our DNA contains traces of every stage of our evolution.  Gates seems to say that asana practice gives a kind of tour through our history of evolution.  He then radically jumps from this idea and equates it to having access to the "power of creation."

This sounds an awful lot like the idea that we somehow become a fish when doing fish pose.  I'm not a big fan of names.  Personally, I like the response I heard that Bikram gave when asked why Camel was called Camel:  "Somebody a long time ago thought it looked like a Camel."  So I don't think this is what Gates means.  

But I can safely say that I have not experienced feeling like a fish or a vine when doing these poses.  That may mean that I'm not at peace enough yet.  It also means that this meditation, at best for me, falls into the category of one that I may come to understand sometime later.

There is one point at the end which I fully agree with.  Gates says that we should treat asana practice with the same intention as any other meditation.  My teachers make this point in every class:  its a 90 minute moving meditation.  If you can meditate, still the mind, and find peace in the Bikram torture chamber, then you are many steps ahead of the person who needs a candle, some incense, soothing music and no disturbances to get to the same point.

1 comment:

Bosco said...

I do believe we have the capacity to receive enlightenment from sources other than the mind, but I don't know about all the different sources of intelligence that Gates talks about: the body, the subconscious, the cells, evolution? My experience and belief is that such enlightenment comes from God.

After 8:00 am class today I was pleasantly exhausted and, for the first time ever, walked outside immediately after class and laid down on a little section of grass just outside the entrance to the studio. It was about 70 degrees with a beautiful blue sky, and a light cool breeze. I lay there looking at the sky and feeling the breeze and listening to my body. I was filled with peace and gratitude. Someone from somewhere was speaking to me in a still small voice.