High Octane Myth • 12 December 2012

Stop the self-congratulation train, I want to get off.

Talking to you, Elephant Ashtanga. And you, yoga teachers with bios written in the third person and featuring the phrase “is a dedicated practitioner.” 

Should we really be talking so loudly this about how our practice is so searingly honest, and so radically no-bullshit, and so relentlessly badass?

How badass is that? How much room is there for the hard questions in the, like, seventh- series- smug narrative? Vulnerability? The still small voice?

Let’s save the self-massage for those aching intermediate series quadriceps.

I’m remembering the history of the ashtang-o-sphere tonight. I can see four distinct eras and the rise of a fifth.

1.0 was a yahoo group. Burned up in a flame war featuring pre-crash hedge fund managers. Still out there, Senor Pinche Wey?

2.0 was the EZBoard, rising out of those flames. Solid gold, with a little snark on the side. This lurker read every word. And so can you. I suggest it. The ashtang-o-sphere was never better.

3.0 was blogs. Remember those? Blogspot all the way. Practice journals. Whole people. Big questions. Relationships. Much funnier flame wars. I visited fellow bloggers in Seattle, Santa Barbara, Encinitas, Portland, Boston, Scottsdale, Austin, NYC, London, Toronto… where else? Oh yeah, Ann Arbor. We called it the cyber-shala.

4.0 was when entrepreneurs figured out that posting every day could generate some newly coveted internet energy. And following the media experts’ lead, ashtanga teachers discovered the same thing. Bling. Content got more frequent, more shallow, more driven, and more naked. Not a bad thing. I just bore easily.

5.0 is coming. It is partly small groups in chat-rooms. Did you know? Yes, it’s totally happening. It’s the EZBoard with gate-keeping and way better technology. From cyber-shala, to cyber-sangha. Thank you, skype and google hangouts.

But, for all the sparks in the splinter groups, 5.0 will be more about what emotions… what driving questions… what thrills… what spiritual turn-ons… what images… what community slang… we bring out of ourselves in “public.” In the feeds anyone can see.

What are our values now?

I dunno. Let’s start again. Here’s what I’ve been missing around these parts.

Brokenness. Not-knowing-ness.

Slily-enthusiastic-awkward shit. Stupidcrazy openness.

Surrender to what is. And of what is not.

Like, don’t break your spirit. Do break your exoskeleton.

The jyotish charts say tonight is the end of an era allright. And goddam these crusty old yoga myths can be useful.

12.12.12 is staked out in the myth – from the best we can decipher – for a massive karmic burn.

Of old identities, old defenses, and especially old grudges.

Pull it out of the gut. Ughhhh. Yes. Write it down on a piece of kindling. Get a match.

Forgiveness is coming.