Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Sunday off.
Monday off.
Tuesday 4:30 pm with Rohit.

I planned to go on Monday, but our plane from New York arrived late. Before boarding, they told us that we had to make a stop in Birmingham to refuel because of bad weather. I'm not sure I like the idea that my plane can't hold enough fuel to handle a little circling. We got home at 3 instead of 12:30, and that meant I would have to go to yoga without eating anything at all. And then there was my cold.

I went into Tuesday's class wondering how long my cold was going to drag on, and how badly it would effect my practice. The answers: It hung around until about Cobra, and after class it was like I never had a cold at all. And it had a big enough impact that Rohit left the room during the long Savasana to find some tissues for me. The amazing thing, and its happened before, is coming into class with symptoms of some illness and leaving with them gone. The only difference today is in how dramatic the contrast was. From coughing, runny nose, and some sneezing to nothing at all.

As for the class: I skipped Triangle only. I still stuck at some of my sticking points. I crash landed out of Locust, dragged myself into Camel set-up behind the rest of the class, and came out of a set of Rabbit way too early. On the plus side, my butt hit the floor in Fixed Firm for the first time in a while. Standing Head to Knee was also better than its been in a while. I came out just a bit early once, but otherwise held the pose for the duration and kicked out for most of the time -- at least on the right side, the left side side not so much.

The day 288 meditation opens with an Indian fable. When the star Svati rises and it rains, the oysters come to the surface of the water and open their shells. They know that if they can catch a raindrop, it will become a pearl. Once they catch some of the rain, they close their shells and hurry back to the bottom to develop the raindrops into pearls. The one telling this fable then says we should be like the oyster, first opening ourselves to experience and understanding, then closing ourselves off and diving deep inside to develop the truth.

I've been trying to come up with some sort of Western comparison to this fable, but I'm getting nothing at all. If anyone can think of something, please let me know. In the meanwhile, I think this fable is a pretty good illustration of the difference in cultures or ways of thinking.

Gates says that when he started his book he also thought he would continue teaching, but that became more difficult than he thought. He took some time off, wandered around in the woods, watching fish in the river, and as he did this the book began to take shape for him.

I really like his description here, partially because it describes the way I worked when I was a student. Before writing a paper, I would first read everything I needed for it. Then would come the time when everyone else thought I was either procrastinating or goofing off. I would wander around campus, chat with people, listen to music, while everyone else was busy writing and re-writing their papers. And then, I would write. Using this "method", I once wrote a 10 page paper in less than an hour. At the end of my senior year, I wrote three 25 page papers in a day and a half. I would tell people that I was composing the papers in my head while wandering around, but that wasn't really true, at least not on the level of sentences. I can't really describe what I was doing, but I think this fable gets it about right, I was taking what I needed it and turning it into a "pearl", even if in my case they were sometimes more paste than pearl.

This process was fine until I started working at a law firm and had to bill by the hour. It's one thing to tell your friends that everything is alright while you seem to be procrastinating. But how do you bill the ruminating process? So I gave it up, and its too bad, because the work I did with it, I think, was much better than anything I did with the drafting and re-drafting process that makes bosses so comfortable.

1 comment:

bikramyogachick said...

I do a little of that too Duffy. I have stacks of things on my desk at work and suddenly I'll pick something up and knock it out quickly. I just know when I'm ready to tackle it. Lots of different projects I'm involved with all at once. I like the oyster reference. Pretty cool.