Imperfections R Us

Via Jay Winston
on Mar 27, 2010
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…said sorry, not feeling quite myself today…though knowing that simmering misery is at least as much myself as anything else I might be feeling…

`I can’t explain MYSELF, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, `because I’m not myself, you see.’
Lewis Carroll

…been reading this book called Just Kids by Patti Smith, about herself and Robert Mapplethorpe as young artists in NY in the 60’s…listening to Blonde on Blonde and Beggars Banquet over and over, but too broke to go and see rock concerts…young artists aware of the legendary Andy Warhol factory scene nearby but lacking the cache to get anywhere near it…kind of funny, in a way…later on, Patti Smith asked should I pursue a path so twisted?…a line I’ve always liked…perhaps because the straight and narrow has only ever tended to get me hopelessly lost…

…one thing none of the yoga books say is that there’s probably no better time for a neti pot than when you’re sick-drunk….or that there’s no better cure for a serious hangover than a really intense vinyasa class…the kind that makes you silently chant what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger

…another thing they don’t say is that getting sick-drunk might indicate that you’re in a very different…perhaps less placid…state of mind than you might have been telling yourself…

…recently read this book called Letters From the Dhamma Brothers…about a vipassana meditation program for inmates in a southern maximum security prison…(which, like the Dhamma Brothers movie, is worth checking out)….in one place, the point is made, in reference to participants who’ve been addicts, that meditation shouldn’t be used as a substitute for drugs…and I get that…these techniques were developed with higher goals than another addictive behavior or a buzz…just like yoga wasn’t invented for killer abs and firm butts…but, at the same time, can’t help thinking if somebody’s looking for a buzz, wouldn’t it be a whole lot better to get it from meditation than from heroin?…or, would it be better if the yoga-as-exercise crowd joined the 40% of Americans who don’t exercise at all?….all in all, am inclined to think that if people are replacing something unhealthy with something healthy, that’s a good thing…even if it’s a watered-down version of a better thing…

…I useta use all kindsa crap to dilute my coffee before finally learning to enjoy it black…

…(yeah, I just compared yoga to coffee)…(but, ya gotta admit, better that than crack)…

…still not so sure, though, about the food co-op employee heard a couple days ago proudly proclaiming that he smokes organic cigarettes


*cross posted at Yoga for Cynics*


About Jay Winston

Jay S. Winston, founder and proprietor of Yoga for Cynics (, has a PhD in English, making him the kind of doctor who, in case of life-threatening emergency, can explain Faulkner while you die, is currently (semi-)(un-)employed as a freelance writer and editor, teaches creative writing to homeless men, tutors recovering addicts in reading, was recently certified as a Kripalu yoga teacher, gets around mostly by bicycle, is trying to find an agent for his novel, resides in the bucolic Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, State of Mildly Inebriated Samadhi, U.S.A. and, like most people who bike and practice yoga, used to live in Boulder.


One Response to “Imperfections R Us”

  1. Organic cigarettes? You've got to be kidding me, right? Tell me that's a joke.

    If you go deeply enough into the ancient Yoga texts you find that "herbs" or "Soma" are considered a legitimate alternate path to realization. Hell, you don't even have to go that deep–it's right there in the ubiquitous Yoga Sutra.

    That doesn't mean we should endorse drugs as meditation today. We can forgive the Yoga sages from thousands of years ago for not knowing that drugs achieve their results by destroying brain cells and truly damaging a person's ability to perceive reality. But they did put the experiences in exactly the same category as the high one gets from meditation.

    A more relevant and provocative question for today is, does advanced meditation achieve its results in the same way? Is meditation to extent of drug-like stupor dangerous in the same way drugs themselves are?

    There's a guy at University of Wisconsin who has been studying the brains of monks in advanced stages of meditation. He probably knows the answer to this question already.

    Bob Weisenberg