Sunday, February 11, 2007

Alternate Realities

This afternoon, Bri and I attended a Heart Opening and Purification Workshop led by Nancy Allen at Lucky Lotus Yoga in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The first hour of the workshop was spent discussing reality and karma, which to me is very interesting stuff. One story that Nancy used to illustrate illusion was this one:

Say you have a pen. When you look at the pen, you see a pen, and you know that it's an instrument to write with. Then a dog comes in the room, and you throw the pen. What is the pen to the dog? It's a toy. The dog knows it's a toy, as surely as you know it's a pen. Then say the pen is sitting on the ground, and a bug walks up to it. To the bug, it's a giant hill. Again, the bug knows that as surely as you know it's a writing instrument and the dog knows it's a toy. And so in that moment, you have three equally valid and accurate realities.

Nancy's point was that nothing has its own reality; it has whatever reality we assign to it. We *give* the reality to the object, or the situation, or the person - it doesn't have innate quality in itself. This comes from Patanjali's Yoga Sutra IV.3:

We must destroy the veil of the quality of things. Then we must become as gardeners.
I guess the point is, next time you see something as having a negative quality, try to figure out how you can change your perspective to change the quality of your experience - that is, don't assume that the quality belongs to the object/situation/person, but that you are responsible for the quality that you see. Then, if you can, plant a seed (that's the gardening that Patanjali was talking about) with positive intention.

I'm pretty psyched about this idea.

1 comment:

Brianna said...

I'm pretty psyched about this idea too, especially since it was one of a select few that did not leave me feeling that everyone else in the room was a freaking loon. Not that I didn't have a good time :)