Rehabilitation of a Yogi: Wisdom and Power on the Path

May 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

What is wisdom?  What is power?  Prajna, true seeing or discernment, is available to us in each moment.  Sometimes working with strong emotions can be a powerful tool for connecting with one’s innate wisdom.

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The Wisdom of Anger

Fierce KaliI’m annoyed.  The world is fucking annoying.  Angry painful thoughts, voices shouting inside my head.  Might be better off dead.  Can’t stand it.  Hurting myself again and again, emotional masochism.  Whips, chains, handcuffs, vicious instruments of torture, shackles, unkind words, slap of the palm on the flesh, my subconscious oozing venom from every orifice.  Gushing forth hate and fear, anger and sorrow.  Until tomorrow.

When I wake up to face the day, unafraid.  Content with the fear, awake to the Truth, the ultimate Dharma, the reality of Oneness.  There is no separation between us except for that which we create, our ideas of “me”, “us” and “the world”.

This post is brought to you by Mata Kali, the God of Anger and Transformation.  She is anger and righteousness manifest.  I am angry.  I am Kali.  Something got stirred up in me yesterday, a tight anxious unsettled feeling.  Like I never get what I want.  Why is that?  Nothing ever works out for me.  And why can I never get exactly that experience which I want?

I want.  I want.  I want.  Longing.  Fucking longing.  The painful empty clenching grasping knowing groaning yearning.  For what?  Just something different than what is.

As a Buddhist I think that’s pretty silly really.  As a Jew I think we never get what want.  As a Christian I think, please Jesus save me!  But these are all just thoughts.  I’m floating on top a giant wave of anger, tidal forces lifting me up toward the moon. Do Buddhists swear?  Is it ok?  Fuck yes!

That’s the beauty of free will – I can create my life or I can fuck up my life all I want.  And I can do the same with countless lives along the back-and-forward stretch of time (if you believe in reincarnation).  No one can stop me from making a royal mess of the whole thing.  Or a royal treasure.

The Power of No

In my daily morning meditation there is ample opportunity to practice refraining, the power of No.  As seductive sweet tender noisy thoughts appear, I practice “touch and go”.  Touch the thought, and let it go.  Often there is a strong pull, that’s shenpa coming into focus.  It can sound like, “damn, I really want to think this sexy thought”.  Or, “it’s imperative that I keep thinking through this work issue”.  Or, “I must get to the bottom of this terrible fearful thought”.

It doesn’t actually matter what the content of the thought it, in meditation we get to practice (very gently) saying “Not now” or “No thank you”.  We recall that the practice, just for this short period of time, is to come back to breath. Notice the thought, touch it, and come back to the breath, to present moment body awareness.

During the morning sit, my dog Hershey often gets impatient.  She makes little whiny noises like, “Come on! Aren’t you done yet?  I want to play!  I want to play NOW!”

When I don’t respond to the keening she comes around to sit right in front of me, blocking the spot on my yoga mat where my gaze is stuck… er, resting.  This gives rise to tension, anxiety, I notice small internal explosions of exasperation.  And I stay.  She sits and stares at me with longing, with disdain, with frustration, with hope and finally she puts her head down onto her paws.  She waits for me to finish.  We wait for the timer bell to sound indicating the finish line for this period of meditation.

The breath is there, the dog is there, all the possibilities in the world are there of jumping up, making coffee, taking a shower, having breakfast, picking today’s outfit, and going for a walk (Hershey would like nothing better).  But instead of doing any of those things the two of us stay on my purple yoga mat until the timer goes off.

Then we’re off to the races… cuddling, wrestling, running, jumping, dancing, singing, stretching, shaking it off, a perfect storm of physical action after a short period of relative inaction.

The power of no is in connecting to the truth of what is really happening.  If we recognize the Divine as simply What Is then saying no to habitual action, saying no to distraction, saying no to old thought patterns, saying no… well it’s actually saying yes.  Yes to now. Yes to what is.  Yes to the breath.  We practice saying no in order to embrace the truth of our divine wisdom and power in the really real right now.


rehab_logoRehabilitation of a Yogi is the story of my quest to find contentment with reality and embrace self care. I battle the demons of Should, Must and Have To as I search for the truth, the Dharma of my relationship with self.  Contact me with questions.

This article was originally published at The Interdependence Project Blog.

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