Every month, Recovering Yogi picks one writer who exemplifies our mission (or, who we think is really cute and/or funny). This month, we chose Jade Doherty (sorry, Waylon, keep applying if you like, but again you don’t qualify). You can read her other submission, “Spiritual: because sensitive, self absorbed, pious and overly emotional is a bit of a mouthful” on Recovering Yogi.
Originally published on Recovering Yogi on August 22, 2011.
By Jade Doherty
Warning: rant alert. May have interesting points, but I’m not making any promises.
Can a yogi eat meat? Can a yogi smoke? Can a yogi have kinky sex? Can a yogi do this? Can a yogi do that? Enough already with the rules of being a yogi!
The amount of people I’ve met who can relate to and resonate with Hindu and Buddhist teachings, but ruin it by spending the rest of their lives trying to harmonise them with the other, less “yogic” aspects of their day is staggering.
Firstly, none of us are yogis in the truest sense of the word. “Proper yogis” spend all day in transcendental trances; they renounce all worldly goods; they cover themselves in ash; they don’t have families; etc, etc, etc. There’s nothing wrong with not being a real yogi; I definitely don’t fancy it. I love my mum, and ash doesn’t suit my complexion, which somewhat rules out Sanyasin as a post-uni career choice.
Since we’re already playing fast and loose with the term “yogi,” can we please give ourselves a break and not try to yogafy everything we do? Want to have mad sex? Go ahead: have the maddest, craziest monkey sex that you can. You don’t have to call it tantra though. Feel like pigging out? That’s cool, but acknowledge that you’re pigging out and that the only place a state of abundance is manifesting is on your arse.
What a yogi would or wouldn’t do isn’t important. What you are doing (and why) is. I wonder how many tantra students use tantra as an excuse to live out their wildest fantasies, but without having to fully own them or address how they feel about their fantasies? I wonder how many rich spiritual people are just greedy — or, as is the way with these things, coming from the opposite position of lack? Living in abundance sounds nice. Using sex as a connection to the divine sounds nice. Using things or people to fill a hole doesn’t.
Yogi, as well as tantrika, dakini and seeker, have become new titles that our identity can cling to. Why not just be you? I know I’m pretty good at being me (I dare to say I’m the best in the world — nay the Universe — at being me), and it’s certainly easier to be yourself, just as you are, rather than trying to bend yourself into role.
A lot of us are so used to being good at stuff that we apply that same formula to spirituality.
We try to be good at it, to understand it, to win at it. We think if we can just understand this, if we can just have that experience, if we can just master this position or learn to pronounce that word, then we will be ok. Then we can stop. But as long as “I” am trying to be a good yogini, “I,” the ego, is still in charge and will most likely go by undetected. All being good at spirituality will get me is a big, fat, enlightened ego.
What would it be like if we stopped trying to be who we think we should be? If we stopped trying to better, faster, bendier, calmer… and just let go? Relaxed into the awareness that is itself aware of our created images of ourselves. Lent back into the knowing that we are fine as we are, that there’s no “doer” and nothing to do. You don’t have to try to be That, you are That.
How would it feel to stop running, chanting, stretching, pushing and pulling? Acceptance is often the hardest thing to do, but ultimately that is what we must do. Accept ourselves, accept those around us, and most of all accept each moment. Just as it is. Without conditions, opinions, or requirements.
So long as we’re trying, we’re not being. Trying requires will power and creates an inherent separation between the “tryer” and what they’re trying to achieve. Surrender requires us to let go of our will and to totally accept life as it is.
This is no mean feat, but trying to be a better this or better that is keeping us from waking up to the fact that there is no “I” to improve.
About Jade Doherty
Jade is pretty clueless about life, but seems to have gotten away with it so far. She’s worked as a football coach and an English Teacher, but feels that her calling lies in drinking tea and laughing at herself. Having dipped her toe in the world of new age philosophy and yoga, she got scared and scurried back to her cave/bedroom. Her new website is boozalwoozal.wordpress.com, and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter (although she mainly uses it to pretend that celebrities are her friends).