- Today’s questions: Where do I stand? For whom do I stand?
- Today's suggested practice: Day 5 of this month's practice, to notice where I stand, and who stands with me.
- My practice: 4:15am: 60+ minutes of yogic practice, and Becoming Thyself & Being You meditation
- My vulnerability practice: Holding my heart open to hear the horror —and trusting myself that I am not of this horror.
Hans Peter Meyer
Can you feel it, the pain She experiences every time you take Her tender gifts for granted?
And these are the least of Her sufferings, our thoughtlessness. What of the malicious and intentional violations of Her trust?
There are moments when all of what I do and all of who I am come together. It all makes some kind of sense. A tragic sense, as this moment is woven of not just the study and teaching of sacred sexuality and yoga and men’s work, but also the lifelong study of Nazi Germany, fascism, genocide, feminism, the “ecology of freedom” (as one anarchist sage called it) —not to mention tango and marriage, and now death too. A teacher, an Argentinian in refuge from the Junta, once said to me, “You are a synthetic thinker Mr. Meyer,” and sometimes the syntheses are, well, heavy to imagine.
I listened, horrified, to a woman recently, as she pulled back the viel of seeming normal that cloaked the community of my birth. Or at least a part of it. Because the history of criminality and shame is also one of my studies…
But then my question, one that turns my stomach: What if all parts of this small community were active in hiding this terror? What if the only thing protecting one sister was her early death? And what of the other sister? Was she just young enough that our family was disengaged enough, from the predation and the shame and the silence?
I am still reeling. This woman —I can remember her at three years old, an innocent, assumed to be protected the way I experienced my childhood. But now, a middle-aged woman, standing before me, outlining a horror story of abuse that had taken place in the community of our childhood.
Ours was a small community. I knew some of these people. I knew this woman as this small girl. It was horrible to imagine. I tried not to. And, I kept myself open to imagine enough that I could feel the horror.
I was amazed at her strength. And that she would tell me this story...
It was a heavy weight she'd been carrying. She wanted me to know, given the work I do.
I wasn't sure I was up to the task. Holding this weight in my body; a frightening thought. Because that's where it sits, this kind of horror: deep in the sensitive tissues, in the bones. A heaviness that wants to be shrugged off. Yet I know that it sits in every conversation, every practice that I teach about the sacredness of our bodies, of our sexual experience in and with the world.
Some time after this conversation I went for a walk with a wise man who, in his working life, had worked with men who were sex offenders. I asked him, How did you cope? I prayed, he said. I prayed often.
Then he recited the 23rd Psalm. This is all about meditation, he said. The psalm is about coming closer to God in ourselves.
As I'd reflected on this woman's story I too had stumbled onto the 23 Psalm. The passage about walking with evil, and the notion that the "Thou" the psalm refers to is the part of ourselves that we must always be sitting with, that deeper and higher divine part of ourselves that keeps the evil from infecting our lives and lives around us.
I was leaning on this psalm as I struggled to breathe with the weight of this horror story, so quotidian, so banal. So terrible. My friend's words were another crutch for me to lean on. A reminder that it is in the repetitive practices of meditation and yoga that I begin to slough off the protection that keeps me from feeling, that fools me into thinking I can't feel this pain, can't help to carry this weight. And, feeling again, and knowing myself strong enough to not collapse into the evil of denial and business-as-usual (because, as Hannah Arendt said of the bureaucrats and technicians of the Shoah, there is a banality to this evil that we will not face) I can feel the tenderness of all that is around me, all those who are around me. Knowing this divine strength —love, in fact— I can celebrate tenderness, protect it, call it home.
What have we learned from the experiences of colonial conquest, genocide, and more of the past few centuries? That the only thing standing between our capacity for cruelty is the extent to which we are the “Thou” we have, as Nietzsche said, murdered.
If I do not practice —and especially the practice of surrendering to Her tenderness— if I do not practice making room for the Divine within myself, I too am too-easily lost to cruelty, abuse…
My beloved is one of those too-tender ones who calls, powerfully, for us —and especially those of us who are masculine-identified men— to do our practice. To carry the weight of our father's and grandfather's and their grandfather's sins. Her tenderness is her Oracle truth. And also the Siren song that compels me to smash my carapace of dullness and insensitivity on the rocks of her suffering that I may feel more, be more. This is how she transforms me. And today I feel compelled to call her home. I am needing this tenderness. It calls me to carry this weight.
🌀 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23)
🌀 Important to note here that it is not about disconnecting from everything, but we stop taking everything personal (asmitā).
We are fully present 'in' the world, but we are no longer 'of' the world. (KYS Know Thyself & Be You sadhana, day 10)
🌀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)
🌀There are so many others. But you see me. You hear me. You know me. (My beloved, my Oracle and my Siren)
🌀Now, the practice of yoga begins. (Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 1.1)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED PRACTICE
Day 5 of this month's practice:
Please read through first, then ...
- Today, again, set three alarms randomly scattered through your day, but one before noon, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.
- When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, stand still. Take a deep breath, and slowly, oh so slowly exhale. Feel into your usual tension places (ie. Belly, shoulders, top of chest, etc) and notice: Who am I? And who do I stand for?
- Wherever you find yourself standing, let your breath be long and deep, longer and deeper (through your nostrils, deep into your belly, a little slower on each exhale) for three breaths. Just three breaths.
- Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed.
- Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.
Ps. Thank you for reading.