This podcast takes its inspiration from the following quotation from Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan (1968): "Therefore you must keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions ... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, the path is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you." [Free. 18 minutes.]
This podcast addresses a situation current on planet Yoga in the UK and will be of special interest to UK Yoga teachers and teacher trainers. The situation I allude to is the decision made by a government licensed body [Skills Active] in conjunction with the British Wheel of Yoga to institute a 'National Occupational Standard' [NOS] for a Yoga teacher. This was attempted 12 years ago and didn't succeed, most likely because of considerable opposition from the Yoga Community. I give an outline of the history and the players in this mad game and then demonstrate that Yoga should not be regulated by any governmental agency or narrow interest. Rather, I contend, it is necessarily diverse and therefore beyond the scope of regulation. I then give an account of the Independent Yoga Network which was set up 12 years ago in the face of the first attempt at NOS to defend freedom and diversity and promote Yoga. [Free. 44 minutes.]
In this podcast, I take issue with a couple of examples of a common new age trope that promises the fulfillment all your desires easily if only you partake of this or that snake oil. I assert that this idiocy both exaggerates and underestimates the promise of meditational quietness given that its motivations lie in a quest for profit and influence. The discussion briefly explores will, desire, the tendency to wish-fulfillment fantasy and suggests what the real possibilities for meditation might be. [Free. 18 minutes.]
Energy meditation outlined: as the anti-dote to dogmatism, as the revelation of the dance of things, as the loosening of identity, as the revelation of our perspectival condition. It's role in giving sparkle to letting-be, mind meditation is considered. Focused awareness is compared with spacious awareness. The koan of non-doing is encountered and the passion of life becomes the fuel for easeful meditation. The use of bardos of any kind (including those between moments) to leap into freedom is hinted at. [Free. 52 minutes.]
We started this podcast with no topic in mind. Consequently it meanders from a consideration of the plasticity of mind through the matter of the historical variety of cultures and the character formations they produce and require, on through a story about our current situation in which consumerist capitalism requires hyper-individualism as the preferred human character, on through a narrative connecting discomfort with this plasticity with social conservatism and the metaphysics of stasis. Somewhere amongst this, we remember childhood and celebrate and recommend travelling light. [Free. 51 minutes.]
Here, somewhat belatedly, is the final part of Chaos and Cosmos, a talk given at Parkdale in 2015. The main thrust of this part of the talk is to abstract the practicalities implicit in the discourse thus far for practitioners of meditation and creativity. We also hear about Taliesin's shit-or-bust attempt to win the high priestess.