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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Feb 24, 2009

Spiders on Drugs

Now that I'm back to my regular life, I have to decide what to "blog" about. I guess it will not work to be a travel writer anymore, repetitively describing my journey from Post Falls to Coeur d'Alene and back. Although that might be interesting to try.

Hmmmmm......well........I guess I'll begin with what is most interesting to me right now, which happens to include some Yoga philosophy as well as an experience I had in India.

I have been re-weaving myself into my life at home and the process has been a great teacher. I have had to be careful not to do too much all at once or I end up feeling tremendously scattered, overwhelmed and almost sick. The whole thing has me thinking about what it takes, in general, for me to extend my energy outward - how to best do that - in a way that is coherent, graceful and useful - and not scattered. Really my return home and process of re-weaving myself into my life here is just a big, dramatic Bollywood version of my everyday experience of life. I re-weave myself into my life every morning.

Let me interject a little Yoga philosophy here and talk about the way Yoga views the human body. From an energetic anatomy perspective, a human looks like a system of intricate threads, woven together into a web that has the form of "human". (Chinese medicine call these threads meridians or channels; Yoga calls them Nadis). It looks somewhat like a spider's web but with a different form. From the perspective of Yoga and energetic anatomy, our ability to extend ourselves outward into the world with some degree of integrity, grace and power, depends on the coherence of our energetic wiring, or our web.

OK - now let me interject an experience I had in India. I went to the Matri Mandir 3 times. Each time synchronicity just "happened" to get me there at the right time. Doors opened that should have stayed closed. In fact, two of the 3 times, against all odds and certainly not due to our brilliant planning, Eli and I were given the last 2 spots available. It was like that - we hit waves of green lights. So it's not surprising that I had a pretty powerful experience there.

I was sitting in meditation and I saw all at one - very vividly - a picture in my mind's eye of a beam of light moving through me and then outward from me. The whole movement was one of deep wisdom and spontaneous action. It reminded me of watching a good athlete with strong, graceful, hyper-intelligent responses -- just responding to the flow of intelligence moving through her, not thinking ahead.

Right after seeing this, I saw - again very vividly - another picture in my mind's eye. Again the beam of light moved through me and outward. But this time my wiring was not coherent and intact - it was like a spider's web that had fractured and the movement outward of the light was correspondingly fractured. It lacked grace and coherence, innocence and effortlessness.

In fact - what I "saw" reminded me of something I'd seen years ago - a picture of a spider web made by a "spider on drugs". So when I got home I went on line to see if I could find this picture. I found it! (What a wonderful thing - to go on the web to get a picture of webs!) Here's the link - it is short and REALLY interesting.

Well, the internal slide show I got at the Matri Mandir was not wasted on me. Observing myself re-weave into my life, it has been so clear to me that Shakti (life energy or even "Holy Spirit") which, the teachings describe as a coherent, intact, hyper-intelligent stream of grace -- WANTS to flow through me and my life with freedom and power. That's the nature of Shakti. This streaming flow can both "clean house" (purify) as well as unlock sequences of expression and creativity and joy which can then radiate out into the world in the form of Work, Relationship, Beauty and Service.

BUT / AND - Shakti only works with the energetic web or wiring system I make available. Practice - daily Practice - is what keeps my web in good order. Lack of practice, or random, sporadic practice, as well as habits of consumption and activity derange the fine web along which Shakti travels.

At this point in my life my worst consumption habit is coffee. (Yes, I DID see the picture of the spider web woven on Caffeine). But I have plenty of "activity habits". I get too busy or I don't honor and keep intact my practice time or I drink too much coffee (OK - maybe any coffee ....dang it!), or I don't eat well, or I answer e-mails before I do a coherent piece of writing like I'm trying to do now- my web looks like those of the spiders on drugs. And to a greater or lesser extent, my actions in the world will be an expression of that. ("Greater" if I do a lot and "less" if I stay home, climb under the covers and watch a movie.).

Shakti can only work with the pathways of expression that I am. This is not an esoteric idea for me. I KNOW from direct experience what makes me coherent and graceful and what makes me fractionated and staccato.

So - onward to better spider webs. It helps when I can remember the right sequence of things:
  • First integrate, then extend
  • First within, then outward
  • First weave a fine, bright web, then extend outward with wild generosity.
[Traditional Yogic texts describe our energetic channels - Nadis - as being fine as a spider's web. Through steady practice, pursued with devotion, Shakti's life-breath flows through these fine lines with increasing power and grace, finally extending outward from the practitioner as an observable radiance or shine. That's why pratitioners really do seem "bright".

1 comment:

  1. Okay--Now I KNOW what is going on in my students' brain when I am trying to teach them about the French Revolution. It all makes perfect sense.

    Karen--Thank you for all of your blogs. I have learned so much and count the hours until I see you TOMORROW at Garden Street.