yoga practice with James

On The Longing For Village and Conversation

Sep 8, 2021 | Council, Communication and Authentic Relating, Most Popular, Whole Life Yoga

I am finding the lack of village more and more painful to bear, the isolation, the lack of engaged, supportive community of shared ethos. I want to live amidst people willing to witness, support, inquire at the level I feel is honest and necessary. This is one of the things I have found so painful this last year: the absence, or at least the misleading presentation of the absence, of honest discourse in mainstream public view, the preponderance of negligent narratives, the wilfull and determined ‘ignoring’ of inconvenient, holistic perspectives, the deluge of propaganda, the avalanche of fallacious reasoning given a free pass and repeated airing on so-called ‘respected news channels’, senseless censorship and an unwillingness to have an honest discussion, to own or acknowledge that we do not know; and with this unwillingness, an absence of truthfulness, of accountability and responsibility. Now some might say that a ‘steered’, directed discourse, a ‘convenient’ and ‘political’ narrative to ‘shepherd’ the populace where ‘we want them to go for their own good’ is the best policy. This does not wash with me. It does not pass my gut check.

Satyam eva jayate – truth alone prevails. In truth, we will find appropriate steps forward, not when we lie and dissemble and smother voices that illumine reality in ways that jar us. Maybe we need to be jarred. Maybe we need to make some changes in the way we relate to ourselves, each other and our ecos, our home Mother Earth. Fixated on an agenda hubristically dictated by some centralised yet tiny, parochial group of powerholders, will we not barricade ourselves against emerging insights? Is being hellbent on adherence to a ‘prescribed’ way not just another way to demonstrably prove that the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

I find it somewhat maddening-saddening: is the drive to dominate, suppress, steer and shepherd not what has brought us here, into this mess?

In this situation, where Mother Nature is howling for our renovated attention.
Is it not the hubristic mania for domination and control that has continued to exacerbate our problems?

Where does this hubris come from, this insane wilfulness to dominate nature?

A few ideas

Is it perhaps at least in part related to fear of death? As Yudhiṣṭhira, in the Mahābhārata, famously responds when quizzed what is the strangest thing in the world? – ‘That death is the only certainty for every human, yet we each act as if it will not come for us’. We cannot control life, we cannot control death. Did some man cower in the face of the mystery of life and death and then act out against life from this wounding, motivated by vengeance, seeking to dominate what we never can?

Did some man find his vitality choked, his strength and ‘prowess’ blown asunder by the mesmerising, powerful presence of a woman inhabiting annd radiating her vital essence? And then, shamed by what his surrounding ‘culture’ has taught him to be his weakness, take it out on the rest of the world, on Mother Nature herself?

Life cannot be controlled. It is an erotic – in the true sense of the word – dance, an erotic dance of mutually alluring and actually complementary forces. The different parts work together and flourish in a dynamic dance of partnership.

Domination, control, suppression, this never works. You cannot kill the spirit. The ingenuity of life and its innate intelligence to express itself in ever fresh evolutionary ways will not be stopped. Try to confine life, the pulsating, throbbing force of creativity? It will come out sideways. It will come out as one of my Indian teachers describes it, as ‘perversion’: ‘each person having their own version’ that is not in keeping with reality, with the greater balance, health, harmony of the whole, that is not in accord with cosmic rhythm.

Remedial Possibilities

  • Can we please start having honest conversations? 
  • Can we make a diligent, committed practice of looking with rigour, discipline and calmness into the places we have preferred, or been trained, to ignore?
  • Can we make the heroic effort: diligent, sustained, daily, again and again, to penetrate through the veils of our conditionings?
  • To decolonise the landscape of our thoughtforms?

We are human beings, amazing creatures. Our body-borne consciousness, our animated selves remain a great mystery. The honest scientists acknowledge this, and that there is so much more that we do not know than we do. Those who assert that “Science’ knows’/that ‘we have it all worked out now’, I would suggest are deluded, trapped in the ultimately self-sabotaging and so often massively destructive and violent pantomine of ‘dominance culture’ and megalomania.

We cannot control nature and life. Yet how blessed we are to participate in life and nature, to be part of it. Verily, we are nature. Born, we will die. In between those two great changes we will experience change. Let’s face the music and dance, with the beauty of the amazing intelligence and life force that we are part of.

We are human beings, with but two eyes. There is always more that we cannot see than we can. Yet we each can see something of the Truth. Council circle practice acknowledges this. Symbolically, truth is in the centre of the circle, in that space where meet the spokes of the whole wheel of global reality. None of us can see even the greater part of it. Yet we each can see something of it. When we share our genuine experience and insights honestly, we can bring light to each other’s blind spots.

Please, may we remember how to have a conversation?

Can we not do so much better than this adversarial ’two sides’ tragicomedy? Divide and rule will only tear us apart. Let us remember. Let us gather, and listen, first to ourselves. When we speak, may we share from the heart, from our own experience, not parroting what we have heard, not talking in generalisations or y’knows, but offering our unique, honest voice.

When we listen to others, may we listen heartfully, with our whole being, so we may hear beyond the words and their sometimes triggering associations to the deeper, underlying sense. May we be lean of speech, let us talk about what really matters. May we be spontaneous: let us surprise ourselves. Really listening, giving up planning our crafty response, allowing ourselves to be the conduit for the emerging configuration of our accrued wisdom and our genuine, intuitive presence.

I want to live in communities where we share and converse like this. I know we can. Who wants to join me?

James Boag | Whole Life Yoga

The yoga of the whole human being. Practical philosophy, storytelling, movement, inquiry, looking in ways that reach beyond our habitual ways of looking.

Listen to James’ unique whole life yoga perspectives on the WHOLE LIFE YOGA podcast.

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