Keep Your Chum Away From Me.
The Chopra Center set camp on the grounds of my parent’s home by Encinitas at the La Costa Spa. I dropped in for a yoga class. I figured it would be Svaroopa style as that’s the last thing I knew about the practice Chopra had aligned himself with pre-Tara Stiles. But I wasn’t there for the content as much as for curiosity so I took the class which, like all the classes there, was called the Seven Spiritual Laws. Chopra’s same named book was displayed for purchase at the room’s entrance.
There were only three people in the generous space including me and the teacher announced that she was a sub but would follow the general form. This is not a review of the class or teacher.
What forces my hand here is a mantra repeated toward the end of the class. Though the class began with different mantra set to a pattern of repetitive postures, I don’t remember much about that except for the awkwardness of asking three scattered spa people in an over-sized room to repeat mantra without much discussion or connection or background.
It was the repetition of Om Varunam Namah which she repeatedly translated as I am aligned with the universe that got stuck in my craw. (Note: this was her version of his seventh law and this is not a critique of that law or discussion of it but commentary on the power of words.)
I am a patient person. However, this was nonsense and as we rose and fell again and again in a sun salute prompted by the mantra, I wondered what universe she was talking about and what I’m supposed to be aligned with.
Don’t throw your chum into the expanse of my ocean sister! You cannot bait me with a hook!
If you want to say something about a universe or alignment you’d better bring your best game. This is just new age jargon that you forgot to pack up with the 70s and now you’re baiting an overactive mind.
I’m deep into the solid, no chance of subtle as I catalogue every question I’ve ever had about why I am here and what I am doing and what is this thing; this universe! Whose universe, what universe! Am I aligned with reality? Whose reality would that be! Am I aligned with the politics of the day, the business of the day, the social network? Am I aligned with you there in the universe or you there because you and you are not the same! Am I aligned with the planets? Am I aligned with some conviction that the world will soon end on December 21st? No. Are saying go with the flow because lately the flow seems to be circling the drain. I’m starting to get bored with all my machinations. Aum Varunam Namah; not.
I am aligned with the universe: Are we talking a shared vibration because I’m being shaken senseless by every blip beep bump crack crash shift slide and shimmy of the shit and I’m not looking to ride that out through the sun salute today. I need a break.
Every hurricane, death, birth, shadow and sunray is using my ghostly sheath to shortcut through the next soul. Everything feels like my complicity in not fixing what is broken here, allowing myself to be as defenseless as an ice flow to stop the changing tides.
Aligned implies alliance. I don’t think that way. I am not aligned with the universe. I am inside the universe. The universe is in me. I don’t think it so. I feel it so.
Maybe she should have pulled in some Rumi instead:
“Stop acting so small,
You are the universe in ecstatic motion”
On this day of December 9, 2012, I am claustrophobic with humidity lodged in my pores, frizzing my hair, closing my sinuses. Thunderous rain shook the house clammy with 70 degrees in what respectably should be freezing temperatures and a snow storm. There is a mosquito hovering in the corner and I was guaranteed a break from the miserable beasts by pitching my tent in a town that winters over.
Whether aligned or one with, the vibration is not comfortable these days. There is a vibration of poverty of despair, of violence and yes the vibration too of love and birdsong and tree sway but if this vibration is what I’m to conjure up in my yoga practice I will devolve into a puddle of huddled masses powerlessness cowering in the corner until the vibration levels, until the rainbows stay without rain and the earth’s fissures softly close to hold a humanity fed natural food, dancing to native song, holding itself and each of its people close but not too close; just close enough to find an infant’s new legs.
This is not an alignment but a coming into oneself which is not just one self but everything everywhere from all the times. And that is too big to be tossed out like a Hallmark greeting in an un-tethered yoga experience.
Oh Chopra. You who gather so much useful information to share with others should realize how sensitive we have become and give your teachers careful invocations. But thank you for the class that brought cautionary advice! Words have power. The powerful should remember to choose them carefully. I am careless too at times. Thank you for the slap on the wrist. But also, thank you for the yoga offering; it’s my opinion that any yoga is a good thing as there is always a pay off.
Second photo: Jeff Farsai, web. JeffFarsaiPhotography.com
Ed: Kate B.
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