It is a stupid and pretentious title. Something I can order with a latte at Starbucks.
Fuck Starbucks and it s consumerist heroin addicted ethos. Quietly spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on durg fueled coffee, leaking the little bit of cash one is given by ones employers to survive, to find that there is nothing left , after the bills have been paid. Maybe having to forget about some bills.
In my case , I am learning to breathe underwater, an oxygen tank provided by a family member , gasping for air, grasping for straws, breaking my heart, ending up in a cardiac care unit, all while teaching yoga.
How does a yogi have a heart attack? That shouldn’t happen, should it?
But yogis are not paid well. Yogi’s make anywhere from $15-$50 per hour and there is no healthcare, no benefits. Its the so called gig economy for most yogi’s, temporary work, at low pay, living in poverty, unless there is family or another full-time job to keep one afloat. Of course there are yoga instructors who fare quite a bit better but they have been teaching for many years and have finally been able to put together enough private clients to make up for the dearth of income from studio work. I love all the studios who have given me a chance but I don’t love poverty and that is where one ends up unless this is just an exotic hobby or a lifestyle supported by another income.
Yoga currently is for the professional classes or owning classes in the US. Workers are for the most part oblivious to it, thinking of it largely as some kind of elite weirdness. I want to bring yoga to the people, to the working masses. It will take some thinking , some strategizing , how to make it affordable for workers, how to make it compelling – making the health case for it, make it proletarian cool instead of petit bourgeois weird. A subject for another blog, for a full fledged plan.
Yogis in India and in Asia generally were wandering ascetics, who actually made a commitment to live in poverty. But in the US you can be shot and killed by the cops for being poor, for being homeless, for being a vagrant. Wandering, begging yogis, the wandering, homeless monk, would all be summarily arrested in New Jersey.
Ashrams to support the work of a yogi , so she can have a place to rest her head while she practices and teaches ? They don’t exist. At least none that I know about. Perhaps that’s what I should do? Get an ashram together – a yogi collective – a commune! Hmm how would it be supported, we need some millionaires or billionaires to fund it! Ha!
Again , this is just giving vent to the effluvia of non-realization – certainly not the yoga of self realization. But we do have to start with the nuts and bolts of how one survives, if one is to talk about self realization. Money can surely get in the way of spirituality but the lack of it can grip ones throat even more tightly. With money you are just guaranted to become an asshole. Without it , well, we would never have had the blues, no folk music, no jazz, no James Baldwin, no art worth a dime, but without it, it just hurts, to be pathetic, to be made undignified, to count coins at Starbucks so you don’t feel guilty sitting around and writing silly blog entries.
Even my hero , the Trotskyist activist, the New Left darling, novelist and speaker Tariq Ali was the product of an Oxford education , where does a product of the City University of New York go ? To the hospital ! Ha!
Venturing quite far down the path of cynical ranting tonight but gosh it feels good, scratching that itch, giving vent to ones demons, let them fly free, see the demon, observe the demon, but for God’s sake don’t get on its back and go for a ride!
The ancients thought that one must give up the material life, in order to embark on the spiritual life. Gautama Siddhartha ran the fuck away from his royal palace and aristocratic life. He saw it as one huge Maya, one huge illusion that prevented him from seeing reality for what it is, for realizing truth, for gaining enlightenment. It was a big middle finger to monarchy, to hierarchy, to money-power. Im sure his family must have loved it. Dear dad it is told was desperate to prevent his hippie son from absconding to the forest but he couldn’t keep Sid from jumping ship. Dear old Jesus was a working class Joe from the start and was executed by the ruling class for the crime of talking up the “meek shall inherit the earth” stuff. Yogi’s of old have abandoned the household life. Nowadays in uber capitalist America we become homeless kicking and screaming not necessarily because we want to. Sid if you are leaving the palace, can I ask your dad if I can stay in your room? Do you think he would mind? Yeah? He would have me killed? Ok, thanks anyway. Sadhu ! Sadhu! Sadhu!
So still no sign of any self realization. Self immolation perhaps, but not self realization. But I jest! It is the refuge of the oppressed to take succor in humor. Richard Pryor anyone?
Ok lets try again in Part 3