Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More on neutral...

From my friend Daron's blog...

From Mary Gordon’s prayers for the un-prayed for: "For those whose work is invisible; for those who paint the undersides of boats; makers of ornamental drains on roofs too high to be seen; for cobblers who labor over inner soles; for seamstresses who stitch the wrong sides of lining; for scholars whose research leads to no obvious discovery. Grant them perseverance for the sake of your love, which is humble, invisible, and heedless of reward."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I’ve been attracted to neutral lately…not so much neutral colors….I just painted a wall in my kitchen a warm spicy pumpkin color and my yoga room a rich green called “asparagus”….but neutral impressions. I’ve tried to…what is it…slow down? Pay closer attention?

What first got me thinking about neutral was a discussion on Erich Schiffmann’s online community board about introversion. The discussion tried to take a turn toward value judgment on introversion vs. extroversion but that was never the point. The pondering was really about do we introverts need to work against type to be offering up something to society? I’ll leave you to ponder that on your own.

Next I came across Sharon Salzburg’s book “The Kindness Handbook…A Practical Companion”. In it she deconstructs the Metta (LovingKindness) Meditation practice. The gist of it is that you develop your capacity for good will by offering it to yourself, to a loved one, to someone neutral, to a difficult person, to the world at large. This is an over-simplification, but it allows me to get to the point. She had some interesting things to say about the “neutral” people in our lives. These are people we come across daily. We may know nothing or very little about them. Sharon points out that they haven’t had the opportunity to tug at our heartstrings. Yet, they deserve our good will.

I began to ponder our attraction to the pleasing and aversion to the not so pleasing or uncomfortable. “Good” or “bad” they both attract our attention. I wondered if neutral is really neutral or is it just that some people, places, things, sensations just speak so quietly that its easy to miss them in the cacophony created by YES! and NO!

For me, the laboratory where I begin to focus my experiments is my yoga mat. I need to pay attention to the big physical sensations at first to make sure my body is safe from injury, to refine alignment…but once that’s taken care of…can I reside in the quiet places of the yoga posture? Just like the person with the big voice at a party draws our attention, the big sensations draw me in, but I choose to look around, to be in the midst of the “party” but to draw near to what is quiet. I’m not sure what I’ll find here in this place. It's human nature, perhaps, to turn toward the flashy stuff…the loud, the bright, the horrible, the exciting. I’m wondering if there really is neutral. Maybe it will come down to the difference between ATTRACTION and AVERSION and attraction and aversion.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Erich's talk

If you had trouble viewing the video of Erich's Ojai talk, he's posted a transcript of the talk here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Erich's Big Picture Talk

Couldn't make it to the Ojai Yoga Crib this year?

Not to worry. Here's an opportunity to see and hear Erich Schiffmann's Friday evening talk.
This photo is of the room before people began to arrive.
Imagine yourself entering the room.
Then watch the video...poof! You're there!