Has Yoga Driven Bob Bonkers?

Do you think Yoga is driving me crazy? 

Brooks Hall, who has become one of our most popular Elephant bloggers, writes a beautiful, thoughtful, sensible comment on the latest Gita Talk, and I respond with a semi-delirious Yoga rant about the infinite wonder of a bank account! 

In response to my usual Gita stuff about the “infinitely wondrous universe”, Brooks wrote:

We are such a materialist culture that I think that words like ‘infinite wonder of the universe’ might definitely keep some people on the outside. Where is the ‘infinite wonder’ in my bank account? (for example) Where is the ‘infinite wonder’ in my bill payment options? And so on…

The way of yoga for me includes exploring limitations. I am a hatha yogi so I suppose this makes sense. Even though philosophically we might think we understand the concept of limitlessness, in our bodies there are limits, and as we explore this there is potential to understand beyond our limitations. Somehow I do believe that studying the limitedness of the way our bodies and minds work is a way to move deeper with yoga.

It’s definitely more grounded to consider one’s self (including limitations) in the grand scheme of yoga, otherwise these expansive words like ‘infinitely wonderous’ can have a really out-of-body (or fantasy) sensibity. I want to participate, and bring my full self to this process: body and mind. And it might be too big of a leap to the land of ‘infinite wonder’ when I have to do my laundry.

For where I am in life, I resonate with the Gita’s thoughts on work, right action, and choosing the right path. I prefer an emphasis on the present moment rather than ecstatic states.

This poem by Korean poet Ko Un (found in the book, Yoga for a World out of Balance, by Michael Stone) says it for me right now:

Some say they can recall a thousand years

Some say they have already visited the next thousand years

On a windy day

I am waiting for a bus

A beautiful comment, right? 

I responded:

Hi, Brooks. 

Ah, but that’s the beauty of the Gita isn’t it! It understands that people are different, and embraces everyone from the wild-eyed ecstasist (I love making up words) to people who prefer a more practical mentality, and doesn’t see any contradiction between the two at all, just a difference in focus. 

In my own life I actually do what the Gita recommends–I think about both of these aspects of life simultaneously all the time, the practical “LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH LOVE AND PURPOSE” part and the starry-eyed “EXPERIENCE THE INFINITE WONDER OF THE UNIVERSE” part, and I see them as two sides of the same coin, not contradictory in the least. Yoga and the Gita, in particular, has helped me learn to do this. 

Ok, now I’m going to get way too sappy for some, but as long as we’re baring our inner souls (we’re baring our inner souls, right?) I personally do see infinite wonder in a bank account. I see infinite wonder in the very fact that my brain cells can even perceive the concept of a “bank account”. I see infinite wonder in both the elegant simplicity and mind-boggling complexity of money and economics. I see infinite wonder in each atom that makes up the paper on one of my checks. I see infinite wonder in the paper clip on my bank statement (see in which I explain the startling similarities between a galaxy and a paper clip). 

See what I mean? See what Yoga has done to me? Do you think I need help? An intervention, perhaps? Do you think there’s any hope?

(Truth in advertising–You probably thought that’s me
in the picture, but it’s not.  Here’s the original: 
More (really) Extreme Yoga.)

15 replies on “Has Yoga Driven Bob Bonkers?”

Thanks Brooks. I'll send these people in the white coats in front of my house away.

If one had to choose, the Yoga of Action (Karma Yoga) is far more important for the well-being of the world than any other Yoga, particularly Jnana Yoga (the Yoga of Excessive Noodling)!

I really did like your comment on Gita Talk.

Bob Weisenberg

Thanks, Bob… I was wondering if the comment wasn’t welcome.

Here’s more:

Arjuna has to make a really tough decision in the Bhagavad Gita. He is in a battle that includes family members, and at first prefers not to fight. But then he realizes that it is his life path and duty to fight. This is yoga. We have to fight for what is right. Hatha Yoga–physical yoga practice–is a way to align with what is right for individuals. It’s not what others are telling you–it’s what you know for yourself. There is a lot of confusion and fear to sort through for most of us. Yoga can help us sort through (and release) some of the emotional stops that keep us from knowing ourselves.

And transcendent experiences while on the yoga mat or meditation cushion, gazing into someones eyes, looking into a flower, or wherever this kind of thing happens (…) can help to fortify our resolve to do things better than they have been done before.

I love all your comments, Brooks. I'm poking fun at myself, not your comment! I agree with everything you just wrote, too. Yoga is exactly like that for me, too. In my particular case, I am also saying to myself, if I am divine, why shouldn't I enjoy that almost all the time, even when I'm going through hard times.

Great discussion. Please keep writing whatever's on your mind.

Bob Weisenberg

No doubt: yoga offers comfort through difficult times! However my understanding is different in that I see myself as a small reflection of divine wholeness. I, by myself, am not divine in my human personality–imbalances are present. I am skewed by my education, culture, fears, etc… And, the divine also includes death and horribleness (not just love and light–as you know). From the Gita (Easwaran):

I am time, the destroyer of all; I have come to consume the world. Even without your participation, all the warriors gathered here will die.

So for me aligning more with the concepts of equanimity and compassion in life work. I am seeking balance and a caring mind in life rather than clinging to the light–that just makes me more fearful of the inevitable…

Yoga has honed your focus. You notice more, appreciate more, and experience more. You are now tuned to a higher frequency, hearing tones others may never. Not bonkers, Bob, blessed. Blessed, aware, and AWAKE.

Bob and YfC,

I am so glad to find out that I am not the only Yogi out there who is out of his/her mind!. There is security in numbers and somehow it makes me feel a little better about my own crazy spirituality to know that there are others out there.

The truth of the matter is that of all the things I've ever lost, I miss my mind the least!

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