SLII: Ripe Empire • 3 May 2008

The sweetness of every day now is ripe, like it might hurt your sugar-sensitive teeth to bite it. The saturated beauty of these mornings, opening the shala alone for pranayama practice in the sun-drenched, gauzy-curtained space before the silent others come, Patthabi driste as the gayatri mantra drones on and I follow a string of the deepest trances ever day after day; driving down San Vicente to school listening to the hollow rotten economy finally caving on the radio; remembering the brilliance of the university and that my laurels are still—for a while yet—blooming there and my big office window is still framing the whole fantasy; evening walks on the sea cliffs; the nights listening to Hildegaard and chopping vegetables in this old apartment of the years; so many shiny yogis, friendships I don’t want to leave. And god these perfect fucking weekends.

The last days of empire—it’s spring, but it’s also late autumn of this era. I am the walking “what not to do” exhibit from a cartoon dharma talk on micro-emotional states. Because the attachment which increases the joy increases the anticipated pain. Which becomes present pain. And the joy lives on the pain.

What am I supposed to do, Gautama? Cultivate equanimity. Yes I know; and it’s true.

On the other hand, there’s a poetry here. What’s the SAT word for it? Mmmm… “poignancy.”

“Ah, take the cash in hand and waive the rest…”

“The best days are the first to flee.”

“This same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying.”

This particular weekend: the usual, plus both days 1:30-4:30 is a special ashtanga ego-deflation workshop. Intimacy with the modern history seems to file off the most trivial hangups about “doing it right,” or maybe it’s just my teacher’s mastery at chilling out your mind. This is not a "The rules I learned last time in Mysore" workshop but rather a subtle celebration. I am sort of assisting and would love to see you. There are a couple of spaces.

Saturday night, after a birthday party in Venice, long-anticipated modern dance at Royce. Vexingly, the troupe is called Ultima Vez.

Saturday links: Ken Wilber interview in Salon (it’s actually redacted from this great podcast series); naked vacations in the NYT Travel section (A2 says to read this…); also in the NYT, interesting profile of Francisco Ayala; and the metareview on where the whole neuroscience of meditation agenda stands [via].