January 4, 2011

A Headache at Kripalu.

been thinking about
thinking about thinking, and
winter’s closing in

Massachusetts was a lot colder than Philly’d been so far that year. Saw some white on the mountaintops driving in, as well as remains of a snowman…snowperson…snowbeing…on Kripalu’s back deck. Still, particularly since the only other time I was there the whole place was covered with a sheet of ice that kept everybody inside, I had to get out and take a brisk hike down through that chilly air to the lake upon arrival.

Already irritated early November sinus passages just about screamed.  And, wonderful as the weekend was otherwise—I practiced yoga, ate far better than I do at home, and took part in Tara Brach’s program on radical acceptance—the pain wavered in form and intensity, but didn’t go away. Intense as my experiences in guided meditations and discussions on embracing oneself and one’s reality as it is, this harsh, constant irritation seemed to stand resolutely in the way of fully experiencing it all.

Of course, it wasn’t just the physical symptom. It was the serene expressions and positive vibes radiating from the people around me…even when they were bursting into tears…having the kind of deep, authentic, pure spiritual and emotional experience I myself might enjoy if it weren’t for those damned sinuses.

Then, the next day, in one of the program sessions, heard somebody mention casually that his head had been hurting all morning.

Seriously, it never occurred to me that I might not be the only person in the entire place with a headache.

In a totally mellow spiritual holistic type setting like that, you just tend to assume that everybody else is positively blanketed in wellness and good feeling. At least I do.

Then, I also tend to think I’m the only person in the yoga class thinking about lunch instead of fully inhabiting whatever asana experience we’re supposed to be having…the only person at the party feeling lonely and out of place…the only person on the sidewalk lost in worry instead of striding purposefully toward success success success.

The irony of which is that I’m anything but alone in feeling that way. In fact, it’s probably that, more than anything else, that connects me to everyone else around. And the same goes for all of our headaches, our awkwardness, our doubts. And, certainly, if there’s one thing we’re never, ever truly alone in, it’s our loneliness…

The author will be attending yoga teacher training at Kripalu this winter. He’s gonna be totally feeling great the whole time he’s there. Like, really…

*Expanded from a shorter version at Yoga for Cynics*

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