I just rediscovered Angela Jamison’s pdf titled “House Recommendations” at a time when I believe I am more ready to hear it than I was at the time I first read it, about 4 years ago.
“Practice and eating are not separate. Eating affects practice; practice changes your experience of eating.”
As an emotional eater, these lessons do not come easy to me. But then it was David Garrigues who wrote recently that there is more value in the hard lessons than in the easy ones, so I’ll just keep pushing my heavy stone up the mountain and try my hardest to get a little further this time.
I recently read a book by William Gibson called Spook Country. It’s the first time to my knowledge that Gibson has included a character who practices yoga. That’s really a side note because it wasn’t a major part of the book. More interesting is Tito, the “IF” or “illegal facilitator,” a young man of Cuban/Chinese and possibly Russian origins who is part of a family who trains to, well, I guess to facilitate illegal activities. He seems to have specialized knowledge of martial arts and how to blend in and be anonymous. He can slip in an out of places quite easily and use tremendous balance, coordination, strength and grace to extricate himself from dangerous situations. What’s interesting is that Gibson shows us Tito’s mental process, how he keeps himself focused in difficult situations.
Somewhere along the line Tito has studied the Orishas, what I understand to be deities or semi-deities of African Origin. He focuses on them so intently in various situations that they guide him and he even feels at times to be inhabited by them.
It hit me then, during practice yesterday, that it’s not unlike the focus we develop during practice. The concentration on breath, bandha and drishti, the presence of Ganesh in the room, the study of Hindu deities from the Bhagavad Gita and other sources, these are all methods or ways of connecting our inner reality with something larger. In other words, the focus on the qualities of Ganesh that help a yogi to stay connected to her breath on the mat are not unlike what Tito is doing as he navigates a world of renegade CIA agents and other obstacles. Our obstacles our different for sure, but our methods? I see a resemblance.
I think I’ll reread the book from a new perspective.