|This is a Fennec. And this is not really a post about foxes.|
And if I learned anything in natural history classes -- meaning, in hours of field trips on beaches, in woods, zoos, museums -- it's that notes taken are so much more valuable when you go over them again within 24 hours, fill in the connections while still fresh, reinforce with a colored pencil (or two) what the essential lessons were.
So here I find myself at the kitchen table, before 5 on a Saturday morning, notebooks and pencils at the ready. And yes, I said notebookS on purpose, since I pulled out last year's with its notes of other Douglas lectures, for reference.
I am wide awake, not just from the coffee, but from the sheer excitement of listening to Douglas, of knowing that I'm sitting in exactly the right place at exactly the right moment learning exactly the right things from exactly the right person. That's pretty great at any moment, but most especially and particularly right now when we've been so devastated by the loss of Jasper. I'm so grateful and eager for more. And so glad I'm getting it, in just a few hours.
I've rhapsodized before about Douglas as a teacher. I love him, all right -- it's really just that simple. Last night, in speaking about yogic traditions that place their emphasis on extricating ourselves from the bondage of human material existence, Douglas said their theme song was The Animals, "We Got to Get Out of This Place." And ever since, when thinking about the topic of the weekend and about its spirit, I can't stop destroying The Doors by singing. "S/he's a Twenty-First Century (Tantric) Fox." It's idiotic, I know that, but I can't get it out of my head. The only thing that could make it even better for me would be to be able to work that crazy nastyass Honey Badger in there, too. ;>
Nuggets from last night?
- Life is not a problem for which yoga or transcendence or enlightenment is the solution. A paradox, sure, but not a problem. Our birth is a rare chance, exceptional in so many ways. There is no gift beyond the one we've already been given. There's nothing to get that we ain't already got just by virtue of being here.
- This yoga we practice is not about finding a state apart from the state of ordinary existence. It's about the virtuosity of becoming oneself, about how we may live more fully, how we may in fact entirely commit to living the life we've been given.
- And we do that in relationship, in intimacy, which is the middle place, the mudhya, the paradoxical point of complete freedom at a clear boundary.
- We are unfinished and the yoga is a process of delving into this unfinished-ness, not to finish it, but just to delve, and most importantly to connect.
- And adhikara, my favorite word? Adhikara is more than studentship, or what I think of as the avidity (if that's a word) for knowing. Adhikara is about what you can do, what you're able to do that's like what we all can do, like what some of us can do and like what only you can do. Oh, favoritest part of all: adhikara means that what you can do IS who you are.
And that, ladies and germs, is just about as FANTASTIC as it gets -- that you are what you do and what you do IS who you is. This is what I'm jumping around about this morning (quietly, so as not to wake Joe). I knew this before, but I needed reminding, and damn if this doesn't feel like great fucking news!
Nothing to seek, nothing to shake off or escape or reject. Just endless opportunities to connect to others and the world around us, as a way of delving deeper into the gift of our existence on this earth, right here and right now.
This kind of learning truly is a reveling, a tapping into a deep wellspring of joy. I am made so happy by the sitting and listening and scribbling and thinking. And so happy by the people I'm learning this all with and from, in the room and in relationship, twenty-first century tantric foxes all!