Saturday, August 30, 2008

the story of the blog title, the glory of man

The Minutemen. Also known as the greatest band in the history of the world.

I wanted to find some way to keep this on my main page permanently, but I couldn't figure out how to make that happen. Not today anyway.

Big weekend class this morning, full o' regulars. Nothing unusual, and nothing terrible. Just a class, as always. It was really hot inside and really cool outside. It definitely made for a challenge in monitoring the temperature.

Oh... I did have one interesting situation. We have a diabetic gentleman who comes to the studio as often as he can. He does not live nearby, so his practice is hit-or-miss. I had him faint in one of my early classes, which honestly was a great experience for me to have as a new teacher. Seriously. Today he definitely had a hard class. He actually left the room at one point. Normally I find that really off-putting, but considering our history together I let it slide. He took a while to return, which led me to step out of the studio for a second to check on him. Fortunately he sat right by the door, and took the sight of me as a sign he should (and could) return. So he did. And he proceeded to stay in savasana for the rest of the class (he returned after the spine strengthening series). As I got the rest of the class into the final savasana, I noticed him sit up very quickly and ready himself to leave. Apparently he fell asleep in class. Ha! He told me after he'd left the room, "I didn't sleep so well last night."

I find myself on the fence about what to do in such situations. I wish folks would let go of their patterns (reaching for water incessantly, wiping and fidgeting, leaving the room in the middle of the practice), but at the same time I know it helps to let folks figure shit out on their own. I was inspired in a way after reading (and finally finishing!) Sit Down and Shut Up by Brad Warner. In one chapter he addresses the very American tendency Buddhists have to turn the practice into a "hey maaan, just do what you like maaan... like sit however you want and meditate maaan" type of spirituality. Which is really bullshit. There is a way to sit zazen, and it should be followed.

Discipline need not be a bad thing. It can also be supplanting negative patterns with positive ones. I know I struggle with the notion of discipline (and rules and structure) because its itchy fabric irritates my sensitive anarchist skin. But I, of all people, should know that living life without a little structure can lead to madness or worse.

The key is: how does the tattooed anarchist Bikram teacher express discipline in a positive light?

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