Obama Pranayama • 12 September 2008

Pretty excited about Obama Pranayama here. “Whether we are doing yoga or just taking our next breath…. let us consciously breathe in the intent for change and help move Barack Obama into the White House.”

I want a breathe-in. Not kidding. I’m going through an extroverted cycle here

But about the OP. On the one hand, ok, it requires the solipsistic worldview of a very small child and hilarously low standard of reality-checking to think you can actually shape external political outcomes by sitting around breathing. The aether theory of consciousness-raising.

It is interesting that we Santa Monicans, whose lives are the most disproportionately blessed in the world by technological advancement and the inequities of global capitalism, hold to the most hocus-pocus explanations for our dramatic privileges. “The Secret,” the apotheosis of the hocus pocus, is first and foremost a legitimation scheme for those who are disproportionately privileged—so they can believe their parking spaces and the SUVs they park in them are manifestations of their own superior mental power.

Yeah; because people in H3s are the smart ones.

We actually don’t get to sit around and will Obama in to office. Ever hear of precinct walking? That’s what they do in neighborhoods a little closer to the reality line.

Onnnnn the other hand, intention does have power. Besides mind-reading and occasional clairvoyance (didn’t just say that), there are no superpowers of yogic consciousness. What looks like siddhis is just the intuition trained to a very high level of self-knowledge and knowledge of its environment. The more you are aware of the operating systems, the more freaky-accurate your reading of the present moment and the better your predictions of what’s to come. Breathing is really good for that: pranayamites have a mysticism about them because they’re hyper-aware. More conscious of the fine details.

A corollary of the idea that you can effect political outcomes with breath practice is the magical thinking that you automatically make the world a better place by working on yourself. If I may part ways with Ramana Maharshi and co., there’s no magic in this either. You don’t sit in a cave and raise global consciousness by some “vibration.” It’s that if you’re more worked out in yourself, you relate to the world in a series of relatively healthy encounters that increase the goodness in the world. Sitting in a cave (or at obama pranayama) doesn’t do that: it just prepares you to do that really well.

Preparing the ground for action is not the same as action. But… it is still a good idea.

So, it’s all good. I’m excited about obama pranayama.

The thing is: I’m wondering about Obama himself. Is he doing the OP and tapping in to the world-soul/ prevailing discourse/ dynamic possibilities of the present moment in a way that’s prepared him to speak with apparently-magical accuracy? Does he have a better map of this territory and where it might lead than the GOP with its tired fucking culture wars?

It might not happen, considering what I’m little I’ve seen of recent days’ politicking but

The guy could bust out. He may have his intuition so finely articulated, and may be so ready for this moment, that he finds the way to speak to these angry ghosts so a margin of them hear him. I only say this because the race speech in March was that. He wrote it himself when the time for it was perfect. The content and tone were the most brilliant political moment in the US in my lifetime. I was amazed.

The guy is carrying some measure of awareness and discursive power. The charisma factor, easy to forget amid this week of dread, is a big deal. But he’s also moving along in the rickety old sinking mothership of the Democratic Party, filled with a crew that doesn’t get it at all. So we’ll see what happens. If he can get some headspace to tap in, and just allow himself to get righteously pissed off, something might happen.