Still not Enlightened / Further Adventures, pt. 1

Being a yoga teacher can be a strange job and a great job. But sometimes I think there can be a tendency for society and me to have expectations of myself and yoga teachers that are unreasonable. I have this hair trigger sense of justice that normally just gets me in trouble and I think a lot of people see it as not “spiritual”. Not that you have to be spiritual to teach yoga.

Today as I walked out of my donation yoga class in the park, there was a woman from Crunch Gyms handing out flyers to my students. Sure, you can look at that as a testament to our success, which I do. But still my moral compass went off. So I say to the lady from Crunch, “I feel strange about you handing out flyers to people as they leave my class. I would probably get arrested if I handed out flyers for my class in front of Crunch.” I say to her, “I think this is really kind of FUCKED.” I look over and one of my students is standing next to me shocked as they hear what I’m saying.

Truth is, I don’t know what being enlightened is. But I think you can be “spiritual” or “enlightened” and still be able to say, “Get your fucking hand out of my pocket.” I mean do you think it’s an accident that Pattabhi Jois never certified any teachers that live in his town of Mysore? I don’t eat at either, but I would guess that McDonald’s is not handing out fliers for Big Macs in front of Burger King. And if these corporate earth destroyers aren’t doing it, that makes it that much more strange and fucked up that someone thinks it’s ok to feed off the hard work of some yogis teaching yoga by donation in the park. Would the Buddha have cared?. I remember some story of Jesus flipping his lid when he caught people doing some shady business in his church. So why is anyone shocked when they see me—of all people—telling someone to fuck off?

I’m not enlightened, but I am working on my personal consciousness day by day, piece by piece. I was dating this girl who was obsessed with becoming enlightened. She had spent a lot of time and a lot of money chasing that enlightenment and teachers promising its delivery. My somewhat passive attitude towards becoming enlightened irritated her. One day she said to me, “Don’t you want to be enlightened?” I said, “The first step to being enlightened is admitting it may never happen.” This pissed her off and she stopped seeing me two days later.

So truly what I’m saying is that it’s all a little confusing. Eckhart Tolle told me that if I order soup and there is a fly in it, it’s ok to say, “Hey, I ordered soup without flies… could you help me out?” The key to this fly-in-the-soup scenario is not to take it personally. It’s just a fly in the soup. It’s not a fly someone put in YOUR soup. (Most likely.) And even if it was, what does that have to do with you? It’s really the problem of said person who added said fly.

All that being said, maybe my moral compass is my big controlling ego. I think that is not good. So how do I say “please get your foot off of my toe” without it being “please get YOUR foot of MY toe”? Is it possible for me and is it possible in our current society to live as an enlightened soul?

So what’s the point of this story? Well I hope it was a little entertaining. I hope you laughed. With or at me, it doesn’t matter.

In closing, I do my best to let people off the hook as often as possible. Whether their action is right or wrong and whether there even is a right or wrong. I do my best to let myself off the hook as often as possible, too. That’s the one that can be tough. I also think from time to time we need to fucking lose it without embarrassment or shame. Just fucking lose it. I think that will be the next Nike slogan. And when I’m losing my fucking mind because they stole it from me—like they stole “Just do it” from a Buddhist monk—please let me off the hook. Or better yet just agree with me and back away slowly. And as Sly Stone would say, “Thank you for letting me be myself.”

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