Pratikpaksha Bhavanam • 29 July 2009

What if all teachers are actually robots? It’s true. The first time you say the chant in front of a group, your brain is suddenly transformed from squishy grey matter to an empty supercomputer.

So actually, any particular instruction means nothing. It has as much “meaning” as much as the temperature in the room, the ambient sound and the quality of the floor. The instruction is part of the furniture.

Maybe the furniture in a room is more conducive to those wonderful, focused practices; maybe it’s more conducive to rapid, deep opening of the hips; maybe it’s a little disorienting like waking up in a hotel room with bad feng shui. Now and then, there is a room that feels like home due to the taste in furniture. That's good. If the furniture causes backaches, not so good.

In any case, the furniture says nothing about the interiority of the teacher. She is not a bad person. She’s also not some genius with some kind of “gift.”

Neither critic nor healer nor blithering idiot nor magician. None of it. Just a cipher for you.

So in this situation you just work with what you encounter in your environment.  With the furniture.

The more you practice, the less you give a shit about changes in the furniture. You just adjust accordingly, don’t make up stories, avoid founding yet another new religion, and keep moving. Paying more attention to the rhythms inside and around you, less attention to the robot in the corner. Robots don’t have intentions, plans, viewpoints, biographies or psyches. You don't have to wonder what hidden meaning or feeling lies in their actions, do not have to interpret anything or look for signs.

If right foot is changed to left foot, or forward bending is changed to back bending, or long vowels are changed to short vowels, whatever. Arbitrary. It’s just one of infinite ways to hold that room solidly together, so it doesn’t fly to pieces in the astral winds of chaos.