I have a spiritual name now…

I went to the Golden Bridge yoga studio to get gonged by Harijiwan. I have been checking him out on and off since 2004, when I was checking out all kinds of different yoga styles. I must admit, in my first kundalini yoga class, I was definitely thinking, “Oh shit, I joined a cult. How did this happen?” But when I found Harijiwan, there was something different. He was funny and irreverent and every time I mention him on twitter, a group of Sikhs respond, telling me about his criminal record. What they don’t seem to realize is that is one of the things I like about him. So stop e-mailing me, please.  Let’s face it: at this point, most yoga teachers I know have predispositions towards criminal behavior anyway. One man’s crime is another man’s… path to abundance.

Anyway, I was standing in line to sign up for class. When I got to the register, the guy behind the counter said, “Hello, Daniel,” which surprisingly still spooks me. He said, “I used to take your yoga class.” I teach in a very transient community so people are coming and going all the time and I try to learn their names but there are things I did in my youth that have impacted my memory and sometimes I need a pass. So I said, “I’m really sorry, I don’t remember your name.” And he said, “I have a spiritual name now.” I didn’t know what to say. The pause seemed really long. I heard a lot of things in my head, like… “I just told you I don’t remember your name. Why are you telling me you have a spiritual name now? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.” So he tells me his new spiritual name. (Sorry, I forgot it.) But I remember thinking his parents are going to be pissed and upset when he tells them. They will definitely think he joined a cult. Truly, I get it. The pissing-your-parents-off thing goes way back. I always want to be real forthright and honest with people, but I’m learning it just doesn’t always work. So I say, “That’s GREAT,” and smile.

I get everywhere early. I hate being late. So after I paid, I waited in the outdoor café area for a while, sitting alone, which has been how I always like to have these experiences of spirit and exploration. Eventually “they” tell us to line up and I’m a little confused about where to put my shoes but I figure it out and walk in the room that is already mat to mat. How the hell did this happen?

I find a small spot behind a woman that is dressed just like Harijiwan. She has a blanket laid out in a place that could fit 3 yoga mats. I ask her if she could move a little of her blanket so I can put my mat down and she doesn’t say anything. So I ask her again and she looks at me, avoiding eye contact, and says NO. I thought about asking Harijiwan to ask her to move some but he was running around trying to get things straight because it seemed like maybe they had promised him more space or a bigger room for the night than he was getting. Plus, I figured since this woman was dressed like him, she was probably a big-time groupie that sleeeps on his front lawn and attends every one of his classes… unlike my lack-of-commitment, once-and-a-while deal. So I fold my mat in half and sit down. I look at the back of the woman taking up 3 spaces and I see she has a rash on the back of her neck that is bleeding a little from scratching it. I think about leaving and trying to get my money back but I feel a little bad for her and Harijiwan, who is running around all smiles. He’s a pro.

Harijiwan always talks before class. Like I said, he is funny and also informative. I think he’s been doing this yoga teacher thing since ’74. Which means he says a lot of stuff that if I heard another teacher saying I would only believe about 25%, but Harijiwan definitely has me nearer to 75%. He tells us about a planetary alignment and talks a little about Bob Dylan. He is very engaging and I hope he gets his own reality show. Russell Brand interviewed him once on TV, so it may only be a matter of time.

When the gonging begins, we have to lie down. So I fold my legs up so I can lie down and fit on my half mat. Good thing I’m a yogi. Mr. Jiwan delivers as he always does. I know it seems like a strange thing to go lie on a floor with a bunch of people and listen to a guy hit a gong. But I enjoy it almost more than lying on my floor at home listening to Exile on Main Street. Both are truly moving—if not spiritual—experiences. As Mr. Jiwan gongs us, I have many moments of realization. I think about all the things I did to piss of my parents and I realize how they caught on so much faster than me. I knew that if I changed my name to a spiritaul name, at this point, they would both pause and then say, “That’s GREAT,” and smile at me.

You can get your spiritual name today. Just click here: http://www.3ho.org/spiritual-names

If you don’t already have Harijiwan’s album or Exile on Main Street, you should definitely pick them up. A spiritual experience can be had anytime. Enjoy.

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1 Comment

  1. Nancy said,

    April 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    That wasn’t a rash on the back of her neck. It was where she’s been repeatedly punched for not moving her fucking blanket. No spiritual name for her!


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