Ok, a while back on another site, I posted that "something's coming." Now I know what it was. The freakishly deep, dark, impenetrable depression that was the first week of April. What fucking hell. Now that it's clearing, I see a sort of realization about all of the loss and mourning, like a last, deep-felt, inescapable squeeze of that bad business before it loosens its grip.
The boy is chatty, cruising (which is pre-walking, walking by means of furniture as prop), pink-cheeked, pleased, interactive, cheerful most of the time. It's prime-time to sell out to the "Awww" affect. In a way, we have ARRIVED as parents, who can still have a kid AND potentially still have lives. True, we're still totally pinned between job and parenthood, but I see life peeking through the darkness, all over. It's a real springtime now. I think we might make it through. This is very good. Let me not underestimate the TOTAL SERIOUSNESS with which I thought that this might NEVER EVER HAPPEN, over the last eighteen months.
I cannot fake the funk when I write; it's simply not in me, because I began writing in college, mostly first-person stuff, life-sorting stuff, and I rely on writing heavily for sorting out my shit. That's why this blog is private (although if you look for ashtanga and Indianapolis, you get me, more often than not, as the first 2-3 hits). So it's not that I'm honest BECAUSE I'm private (Foucault would fucking hate that, anyway), it's that I am private BECAUSE I am too honest about my stuff (particularly my emotion-driven exaggerations of my own experience) here. So I would love to have some "yoga blog" where I talk about the inner world and being centered and all that lovey-dovey idealist peace shit, but that's NOT HOW IT IS. There is stuff in here that I don't even say at home; there's stuff in here that fewer than probably ten people in the world know. Nonetheless, writing for me is very much secondarily communication, and it is primarily sorting, reflecting, looking, studying, and particularly so when I'm in pain about something.
Tangents from last time! They look heavy to me now; that's ok, they were written with heaviness.
I think the ego is a tool, a real live practical tool. This is to distinguish it from being some magical disembodied thing that is either "in us" and inseparable (can you imagine saying that your shovel is PART OF YOU, MAN???) OR that it is this separate thing that "can be burned." You don't REALLY want to burn your ego, you want to burn your EGOTISM. Your ego serves a purpose, dude: it's to keep your "self" contained, until you are ready to HANDLE being egoless, or even wading in those waters. You and I NEED the ego until we are ready to move beyond it. Just like training wheels.
De-centering is more profound to me than centering, by which I mean the "sense of self," that some people refer to as a center. You know, the "power cave" stuff from Fight Club, "Go to your cave!" Yeah, and Durden's reply carries over too, "Don't run from this!" In 2002 most my identity fell to pieces. In 2008-9-10 this happened again. I wanted to lose 2002; I took vengeance on it, pushed it over the cliff, gloried in its flames. I agonized about the death of 2008910, I mourned it for months, it fucked me up quite substantially to feel that slipping away. And the slipping away, the LOSS, is much, much more profound to me than any kind of "retaining center." So who am I? My practices, pretty much. Not yoga practices, but daily practices. One could say, "I am bottle-washing, I am teaching, I am bending, I am baby-tending," WITHOUT saying, "I am a parent, I am a householder, I am a yogi, I am blah blah blah."
In a way, I am (blank) which is usually a nominative, is much more ACCURATE if we make it into, I am (blank) which is GERUNDIVE. I am -ing, I am -ing. Time-based, and historically specific. Sure, it's easier to--look at it--NOT LIVE IN THE PRESENT--by turning that into a TEMPORALLY INSPECIFIC category like "yogi," "parent," and such. I think of this as Jnana Yoga, take one. Turn the wider category, the broad temporal categories, into shorter moments, closer to INSTANTS. It freakin' echoes insight meditation.
And moments, unlike Sartreian existentialism, do not ADD UP to one's identity, but they also don't mysteriously establish some "place holder" identity which is then "threatened" by the moment-to-moment contingency of living closer to the actual flow of time and experience. This is something that has historically annoyed me about the ways that language puts identity crisis: "I feel x, oh the agony, oh!" Look dude, if you REALLY feel x, then you ARE x. It's like the ways that Native Americans apparently do not dance FOR rain, but ACTUALLY, THEMSELVES, RAIN.
"They are raining."
One puts a placeholder on experience: I am doing x, I enjoy y, I suffered z. No, don't half-ass it, don't step away, DON'T RUN FROM THIS. But Durden comes with the goal of negation, massive almost admirably deep negation, which turns into fascism because the line of flight (per Deleuze) leads to darkness and only fascism (or perhaps ART--Nick Zedd, Isidore Isou, Arthur Rimbaud) can save a deathtripper from destruction.
I retain an "I," but I'm not sure who "I" is, in terms of what "I" preaches. I is, as Rimbaud put it, "an other," but that's also not true. The I who acts, the bottle-washer, is fully I, insofar as bottle-washing is the present. I type. Ok, same. Those "I's" are not Others, but they are historically contingent (i.e., I am not always washing bottles), and so insofar as "I" is gerundive, those I's form a TEMPORAL SEQUENCE of I's, a sort of trail of footprints where "I" is each and every footprint, SEPARATELY AND INDIVIDUALLY. Who is to say who the stepper is? Some print-leaver has left us a TRAIL OF INDIVIDUALS.
And "I" does not do that, not in this mechanism as (haha!) I understand it. Basically what I've done is subjugate the subject to temporality rather than seeing the subject as something that moves through temporality like a river (which is the usual metaphor). Here, "you can't step in the same river twice" not because of the river's movement, but because "you" cannot in fact step AT ALL without leaving "yourself" in the footprint. Then there is "you again" and you leave "you again" in the next print, and so on. One always is, but one is never what one was and there's no continuity (well then how do we have memories?).
I believe that the "sacred yoga text" answer is that time isn't linear, but that requires us to toss our understanding of physics out of a very complicated little window.
The ego is a tool that keeps one from going crazy confronting things like that, until such things aren't confrontational. So "do you have a central core personality that weathers change?" No, not exactly; better said, I don't understand change to work like that.
I thought I knew what I was, in the negative, and then I thought I knew what I was, in the positive. It doesn't matter; one is ALWAYS WRONG. But that wrongness need not lead to months of suffering unless (in my case) I insist on understanding "what I am" in terms of BEING THE ONE WHO DOES THINGS rather than in being THE THING DONE.