Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.
James Thurber, via The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. for December 8, 2011
This morning in an Anusara-Inspired class, a teacher shared a fortune, from a cookie, that aptly described what she learned in her teacher training.
Fear is excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.
That, of course, made me remember the Thurber quote I heard in the Writer’s Almanac podcast. The word “tranquility,” of course, is a link for me to what one tries to cultivate in centering before a practice, and what invariably I feel when it’s over, or in any mediation I manage to squeeze off at the beginning and end of my day.
I suppose this is why so many great teachers laugh, and make one laugh. They understand the full range of human experience, the dark side, and practice and offer us some degree of detachment. In the Tantric view, I don’t think this detachment means being aloof, but fully participating in “the world” and what it holds, as a very high spiritual path.
Krishna’s advice to Arjuna about detachment on the threshold of battle, given in the Bhagavad Gita, has been coming up a lot for me over the past few days. An older student in the night class, reflecting on my presentation of Gandhian strategy in the Sociology of War and Peace, said he thought Gandhi’s philosophical stance toward ahimsa sounded a lot like the Gita. The Tumblog YogaPrivateLessons has been blogging a lot on the text. Perhaps now that classes are finished, I am on the threshold of battling the inner demons that stand as obstacles to my ardor of grading and bringing the semester to a successful close, in this already stressful season. Speaking of season, it may well have to do with the reflection that naturally accompanies alignment with the turning of the wheel of the year. Speaking of such reflection, it may have to do with the great watershed this year has been for me in my practice, and in my life.
When I was in Montclair, NJ for John Friend’s “Dancing with the Divine” tour, I bought myself a copy of Douglas Brooks’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita from a Tantric View, Poised for Grace (Woodlands, TX: Anusara Press, 2008).
The time to be reading it is clearly ripening for me.