Careful what you ask for • 1 May 2009

Exhibit A:

Manifestation gone awry

Exhibit B:

So I’m cornered.

If practice in recent years has been a drilling down through a little sandstone, oil shale, hitting an aquifer or natural gas cave here and there…, well, this week I hit a vein of something black and opaque. Something that bites back.

I finish as usual and find, re-engaging, that I am destroyed. Just after practice, for a while, and again at night. It’s some kind of desolation, some colorless dark. It’s not emotional but it is. And, too, it’s an intuition of all the stuff we don’t, mistakenly, want to happen. And it’s thoughts of dark. Shiva calling on all levels, and not in a joking mood.

It’s impossible not to notice, because this condition is so different from the one in which I awake. It’s also dramatically different from my idea of my internal experience. And… it’s too large and immobile to dismiss. So these days I’m getting on the mat understanding there may be aftermath.

A weird thing is that others don’t see it. Usually I have a transparency problem: could not fake you out if I wanted to. But somehow, with this, I have to volunteer the information for people to know it. At least this inscrutable demon-dark is pretty well-bounded, whatever it is. It’s not something good to put on anyone, so I won't dwell too much.

It’s not a practical problem—I have certain habits built up and can cruise on them while being sort of ok with what’s going on emotionally. My idea is: do not allow the emotion part of this to take control by generating its own (1) self-pity forcefield or (2) “I’m not feeling well” excuse for behaving creepishly. And yes, as I was advised: don’t give this thing any weapons.

A month of vacationing with ashtangis highlighted how analytical we all can get about this practice. I gained 5 pounds because of X. I lost my Mari D because of Y. The teacher scratched his nose while looking at me because of Z. Therefore I need to do A, stop doing B, chant to Ganesh for 40 days, and see my astrologer, and do a cleanse. Practice becomes a project of problem-finding and problem-solving.

Because I’m such a sucker for causal analysis, I’m tempted to disallow it altogether right now. Most if it is the mind grasping for something to explain, or trying to get out of what’s actually the case in the present moment by turning what’s right here now it in to a problem. Making experience a problem and explaining it away.

Still, ok, I do see that the dark is in the jaw, the neck, the occipital region. I’ve been dwelling here so much lately, letting go of this old, hard anger that lives there. If I were dreaming and you asked me, “Owl, what is your jaw made of?” I might say obsidian.

Or mercury. It does feel like the old morphing mercury bead I’ve been consolidating from all over the body and tilting to the back corner of my consciousness is trapped now. I finally am at a point of either stopping because it’s terrible or going on because that’s what I do. This is not the same as a severe back injury or chronic SI inflammation. It’s more scary and ugly but also more interesting than that.

And ok, it might be relevant that I’ve been working the ganda bherunda in a new way, relaxing the jaw there (relaxing most everything, actually), allowing the atlas to move back far on the atlas in a way that feels like it’s healing a neck that I didn’t know was unwell. The posture is, finally, a hideous pride-killing tongue stretch, one that leaves that hidden deep muscle relaxed and long enough to snake up and rest on the soft palate without even working to stay there.

It’s not about working chest now so much as it’s about smashing the jaw into the earth until it gives up. I don’t get to grit my teeth and press on. I get to discard that reflex at the moment I want to rely on it. Or not. I could always go back to 2S, recognize that this is all pointless suffering.



  • V
    Posted 1 May 2009 at 3:53 am | #

    Sounds scary. I would be helpless if I couldn’t grit my teeth and press on. It’s what I’ve done all my life!

  • e&sj
    Posted 1 May 2009 at 4:50 am | #

    Sometimes i feel like cracked porcelain surrounded by jello.

    And sometimes I feel like the external container is firm, solid, grounded an even adamantine and this surrounds a somewhat miraculous effulgent liquid crystal matrix.

    Seems to change a lot. Either way, just the gunas acting on the gunas.

  • Posted 1 May 2009 at 12:09 pm | #

    How long before someone makes a Cormac McCarthy reference here, you think?

    About the various diagnoses and “the reason I got/lost/can’t/did” syndrome: I find myself reluctant now, after practices, to diagnose anything like that anymore. Something about the recent backbending has put me off, made me aware of, that tendency.

  • Posted 1 May 2009 at 1:38 pm | #

    Shadow is manifest. Hmmm. Through the body, bigger hmmm. This is a ‘good’ thing. If its stored somewhere, which it always is, it must be integrated, which is always a pain. And a little (or more) frightening. But you were expecting this at some point, n’est pas?
    But perhaps this is more body related, and my hip flexors are tight, so I am not in a position (nor could I get into one!) to comment. But psyche, she wants to strengthen the ego, so the ego is strong enough to allow the self to take charge. We have to be strong enough for ‘God’. All your inner dark children must be accounted for before that can happen. You’ll be fine. 🙂

  • susananda
    Posted 1 May 2009 at 5:23 pm | #

    ‘The teacher scratched his nose while looking at me because of Z’ .. hahaha…

    But, WOW. Ganda B, fierce.

  • boodiba
    Posted 1 May 2009 at 5:48 pm | #

    I find the idea of the demon being invisible to others the most scary aspect of it!

  • Posted 1 May 2009 at 6:16 pm | #

    Agreed. Right now my sense of what it is to be inside my body is being altered, so it’s freaky that the mirror has stopped working.

    It wasn’t really fierce at first. But then it made it clear how much I have hidden in my neck, jaw, occiput, soft palate, eye sockets. I feel like it would be really stupid not to learn that right now, and perhaps for a while.

    This morning I forgave myself for now figuring this out earlier. It’s kind of awesome, actally. I’m kind of more excited than ever about the system. It can be direct.

    Anyway, it is good to share a little about it. Makes it in to less of a thing. It’s still just gymnastics in a sense though, more now than ever.

  • Jamie
    Posted 1 May 2009 at 8:48 pm | #

    This is a short quote from Rolfer-psychologist Ed Maupin and his tale of the “Body Epiphany”:

    …”(my) body is an ongoing process in the here-and-now; that it possessed an acute intelligence quite apart from my conscious thought; and that how my awareness was distributed in it determined my consciousness.”

    For my part, I’d say epiphanies come in many shades of gray and awareness can be a real bitch. Never seems to turn out pointless though.

    Moreover if you can actually box your ears with your own ankles, smile because you look ridiculous.

  • Posted 2 May 2009 at 12:50 am | #

    The bherunda’s one ugly bird!

    Great passage. Here’s from Dr. Vernon Mark, quoted by John Mumford.

    Begin learning
    to relax the body
    parts that have the most ‘space’
    devoted to them in the brain’s cortex,
    such as the hands,
    and tongue.


  • Posted 2 May 2009 at 12:54 am | #

    Click “HOMUNCULUS” at the top right.

  • Carl
    Posted 4 May 2009 at 1:03 am | #

    I’ve been chancing upon some intriguing stickers here and there, distributed throughout Seattle, but I didn’t know anything about them before now. I found a something interesting today on Flickr and I think maybe you’d like to see it.

  • Carl
    Posted 4 May 2009 at 1:45 am | #

    It’s surprising that you feel your neck might be so unwell. You look as though you perch your head very lightly atop an elastic, un-cinched spine. But I leave my perceptions of your appearances to your corrections.

    I find my greatest benefit comes with elongation of my spine by drawing my occiput backward and upward, such that my chin can settle easily toward my throat. Oddly, I press my chin forward a lot, and when I relax my posture in this way that I mention above, my throat feels as though it closes against my breath. But it doesn’t ever close against my breath — it is a weird non-affecting threat.

  • (O!V!O)
    Posted 4 May 2009 at 4:28 pm | #

    Right. Though there’s a wierdly syncretic sense that that my shrugged atlas symbioses my lordotic pout…so the elastic bolas of my back arch seems to wobble like an oddly disengaged half-helix. So, yeah.

    Anyhow, the amrita. Green like absinthe, not golden like honey, so it seems, as squeezed out by this deft avian press. Saleable in a kinda precogniscant gooey way. Neat and available.

    Worth a little alacritical squinting, no?

  • Posted 5 May 2009 at 5:24 am | #

    Diacritical alacrity, and Carl… that photo project… I love it! Have been awake for 21 very strange hours. More presently regarding all this cervical subtlety, which I will appreciate more when I haven’t just spent 5 hours with an inflatable C-pillow around my neck.

  • Posted 8 June 2009 at 8:59 am | #

    The key for me has been: tongue to palette, and then rolling the eyes up and to the corners for a few seconds. The eyes are linked to the muscles that plague us, I hear, but you probably know. Atlas! It is the bane! XX

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