- Today’s question: What are you rushing through? What would happen if you applied the idea of “slow reading” to this thing you want to finish quickly, want to understand “now,” want to be “done” with?
- Today's suggested practice: Day 1 of this month's practice, a “grounding practice” with Leroy Gordon.
- My practice: 4:15am; 60 minutes of yogic practice, pranayama for kundalini, and meditation for healing
- My vulnerability practice: I commit only to this: to loving this moment, and to her, exactly as she is, exactly as She is, right now…
Hans Peter Meyer
Olivia Laing’s Every Body is still reverberating. I’m also thinking of how much Elaine Scarry’s book, The Body in Pain, meant to me as I puzzled through the impact of authoritarian regimes (another word for fascism, which is becoming a popular political persuasion, again…). And especially after yesterday’s conversation.
I wrote an essay once on Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. I don’t remember much about it, except this: I’d used an anthropological piece on the “choral dance” as a foil for exploring our essential alone-ness. I also remember that the professor, a very difficult and challenging man, liked it very much. At the time, I liked it too. In recent years, however, I’ve disowned the basic thesis of essential alone-ness. Today, I’m embracing it again. I’m going to let that change of heart sink in before I say much more. There is a lot to dwell on here. And I’m drawn to Nietzche’s “slow reading” as my guide. (Yes, lots of names dropped here this morning. Forgive me. Or, seek out the names and references and challenge me on my reading. That would be useful, and appreciated.)
When something —someone’s body, let’s be specific here!— has been sealed with force, with trauma, then perhaps only the gentlest of forces and the most patient of presences may know the treasures that are locked away.
We have a culture that celebrates conquest. In other words, we have a culture that celebrates trauma as the force to reveal truths —and treasures.
She has asked very little of me. She has asked the hardest of things of me: she has asked me for patience.
She has spent her lifetime learning to protect the woman she is, because she is too sensitive, too tender for what we routinely offer as the low bar of our (very masculine) culture.
This low bar asks only one thing: to be hard, impervious, unfeeling. A stone to the world’s wonder, to Her wonder.
This is how we confirm ourselves as men. It is how we lead our sons and nephews and all the young men who look to us for guidance. This is how we lead them astray.
This is how we continue to f*ck the world. Truly.
We f*ck the world for Her treasures as we f*ck our women for theirs. And then we wonder why we struggle, why these things called purpose and meaning and health, why they seem beyond us. Why we lose what is most dear, from the wilderness that we think we love yet we desecrate, to the womanhood we abuse or discredit or fail to see and hear and know in our daughters and nieces and all the young women and girls with our culture of hypersexualized expectations and demands.
Become patient. Become still.
Feel into Her sorrow, Her sacrifice. Feel into her sorrow, her sacrifice. The woman, the child, man before you who feels it all, feel into this, the divine feminine, and make of yourself an offering. Become willing to sacrifice all that seems to be who you believe yourself to be as a man. And yes, this is my practice: to sacrifice all that I’ve been trained to know of myself as a masculine-identified man in this culture. Burn it away with this practice.
To discipline myself with daily practice, burning away all that is dross about this manliness that conquers and humiliates and will not know, and become more of myself as a man who is willing to know the unknowable.
Practice does not make me perfect. It does, however, prepare me to shine, for my brothers and fathers, for my sons and nephews and all the young men who are groping in their darkness. All of us, so needing to be held, guided. All of us, so poorly led.
🌀 Living life with zeal and sincerity, the purifying flame is ignited (Tapas), revealing the inner light. (Yoga Sutra 2.43, Niyamas 3)
🌀…we are friends of the lento, I and my book. I have not been a philologist in vain — perhaps I am one yet: a teacher of slow reading. I even come to write slowly. At present it is not only my habit, but even my taste — a perverted taste, maybe — to write nothing but what will drive to despair every one who is ‘in a hurry.’ (Nietzsche)
🌀 The old transactions of fixation on reasons will be forced into new standards of greater trust without reasons.
… introduc[ing] the constant use of trust without a measuring tool...the completion of total surrender. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀The discipline you have brought into play to stay true to your commitment… is an inner fire that helps you to burn away ‘impurities’, the stuffy layers that diminish your deeper contact with your inner self, the layers that create a veil between a direct experience of the present moment, your ability to feel Santosha, contentment.
This inner fire that grows stronger through the bellows of discipline in the Yoga tradition is called Tapas. Tapas is the third Niyama and it is the essential transformational heat that can come into play when we feel a burning desire to drop what we are not, what no longer serves us. …
[It is a]…spiritual fire that reveals your inner light. (Kundalini Yoga School, Detox sadhana, Day 20)
🌀The Conscious Warrior is committed to developing strength of the mind, physical body, and nervous system through dedicated physical, yogic, and meditative practice. (John Wineland, Precept 6)
🌀You are beautiful. (My beloved, my Oracle and my Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED PRACTICE
Day 1 of this month's practice:
Please read through first, then ...
- Today, set two alarms, one for the early part of your day, one for late afternoon when you may be feeling low energy.
- When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take less than three minutes to do this short practice with coach Leroy Gordon:
- When you’re done, stand for a minute and breathe long and deep, consciously and slowly filling and emptying your belly.- Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed.
- Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.
Ps. Thank you for reading. I write these chapters for me, but I invite you please leave your comments as I appreciate hearing from you. If you’re on Substack, your comments are welcome, as are any Notes on this small offering I make to you.