Monday, June 1, 2009

104/150 - Boredom?

Saturday 9:30 am with Sherry -

I had a solid class, with good stamina.  I actually don't remember all that much about class.  The woman in front of me went down several times early in standing series.  At first, I was a bit annoyed again (at least enough so that I remember it).  But unlike last week, I let it be, and simply focused on myself.  And my concentration took over enough so that the people dropping around me didn't really suck away any of my energy.

The day 149 meditation talks about dealing with boredom.  Gates says that instead of fighting it, or trying to supress it, when he is bored with his practice he simply includes the boredom as part of the process.  I see this as a timely meditation, because thats basically what I did with the woman in front of me who kept dropping to the mat.  I went from being annoyed, to simply noticing it, to not noticing at all.

This idea reminds me of something Jerry Garcia said in an interview long ago.  He was talking about how sometimes the energy is simply not there and you feel like you just suck.  And he said that sometimes its OK to suck.  When it happens, you just go with that too, because sucking is part of life too.  (This is a really bad paraphrase, and I'm not even sure it's close to what he said, but its what I remember after 25 years or so of what he said.)  I think Garcia and Gates are talking about basically the same idea.  Gates brings boredom into the process, as Garcia brings sucking into the process, so that  Gates' yoga, and Garcia's music, can become a "meditation on the infinite." 

I will say that I'm a bit surprised about Gates finding boredom in his asana practice.  I haven't been doing this for that long, I realize.  In the last 14 months, I've had many negative reactions on the mat.  I've been frustrated, angry, impatient, peeved, scared, exhausted, disappointed, etc...  But I don't think I've ever been bored.  I know there are people who find the 26 postures a bit limiting, and say it becomes boring.  But for me, I don't see how I could put in the concentration, both physical and mental, that a Bikram class requires, and be bored with it.


Bosco said...

Boredom has never entered my practice either. The only thing that might be boredom is the thought I have a had a few times, in maybe the third or fourth breath in the opening pranayama breathing: "I can't believe this is just starting and I'm going to be going through this for 90minutes!" Come to think of it, this is really much closer to fear than boredeom.

I love what you've said about boredom, both by Gates and by Jerry. I think maybe the point is that if your mind takes note of boredom you can either say "crap, I'm bored" (and thereby create an internal struggle over it) or just note "yeah there's some boredom here" and let it go. It's the declaration after the boredom is noticed that there's something wrong with the situtation that creates the real problem.

Question: Does anyone know why we have to do the Word Verification below in order to post a comment?

Duffy Pratt said...

The word verification is an image, and not characters that a computer can read. It's to prevent computer generated spam. It insures that the person leaving the comment is a person. Without it, there would be a million sex toy and viagra advertisements following every post.

Yes, I too sometimes get that feeling of anticipation/fear somewhere near the start of pranayama. That's not boredom, I don't think. For me, what that means is that I haven't yet fully committed to the practice.

I think the Garcia quote I mentioned is from the Rolling Stone interview, but I couldn't tell you whether its from the Old or the New Testament. (For the rest of you out there, Rolling Stone, back when it was interesting, devoted two entire issues to an interview with Jerry Garcia. Two whole issues! I hate to be the kind of person who thinks "Those were the days." But sometimes I can't help myself.