When I first entered Ayurvedic school, I was so careful with my body, with my diet, with my (physical) yoga.
I was hypersensitive to everything and didn’t really know what was happening to me when I felt this or that. Yet I knew the basic niyamas of the Yoga Sutras, I knew that I was doing good things with my body and deep self. I knew I was getting closer though still at a distance to some notion of perfect.
Then I walked into an astrology classroom and saw an advanced student of Hart’s whom I greatly admired drinking a Coca-Cola.
I hadn’t even seen one in months. The thought of it, of drinking it myself, was akin to swallowing poison.
How could this be? I seriously was stunned and in a slight haze of confusion for the next six months or so over that one act of witnessing.
Eventually I could not only relate but understand.
(gItA, 3 – 6):
karmendriyANi samyamya ya Aste manasA smaran /
indriyArthAn vimUDhAtmA mithyAcAras-sa ucyate //
The one of deluded understanding
who, restraining the organs of action,
sits thinking in his mind of the sense objects,
is called a hypocrite.
After studying astrology more in depth and doing hundreds of charts, I too started to relax my superficial codes of conduct but not my love of yoga. If anything, my understanding of yoga grew correspondingly to an order of magnitude beyond anything I knew when I was acting the part but was mentally far away.
Now, I even have a name for this phenomenon. I call it:
the paradox of partial omniscience.
Astrology allowed for me a route to the truth that was faster, more zippy than any other pursuit. Within months I too could start to predict things that actually would happen or had happened and equally important, I knew when many things would not happen for myself and for others.
I saw myself pretty stark and bare.
This honesty can be dizzying if it happens too fast.
Such knowledge is a taste of omniscience, a little homeopathic dose of infinity.
Now, I learned in college that say, 1/8th of infinity is still infinity. That is what this feeling is like. It’s still infinity.
If you are closely guarding your every move and believing in how good you are because you mostly follow the rules, your mind instead gets blown, your head cracked open to the stars.
You realize a Coca-Cola is not the biggest thing in the world.
And you do still more charts. The knowledge gets overwhelming, the truth adds up. Infinity, homeopathic or not, surrounds infinity.
If you are not living expansively disciplined, say by living with a yoga master, your saadhana, once based entirely on ego, can unfortunately weaken without that daily physical discipline, so easy to do when it was superficial.
It’s like signing up for a nourishing delivery of milk and instead getting major feasts of chocolate out of the air. The attention to the milk delivery may dissipate, although it is still essential, and more important than the dessert.
I am a little bit flailing here in trying to describe what a little taste of infinity is like. I guess my point is, to a small mind, a small infinity is equal to an infinite infinity. Partial omniscience is as wide and scary and huge and important as omniscience itself.
I wonder if this is why astrologers don’t eat as well, or take as much control of their bodies, or are as personally disciplined as other people in the Vedic world.
We study, we work, we practice, we see things, but without lots of attention, we may get imbalanced. It’s so easy to do.
Infinity all at once is a hard gift to accept.
I know that I ask your forebearance, your understanding, and ultimately your forgiveness for not being perfect. I know well enough the importance of what I know, but the vessel is still fragile, basically insufficient for its content.
I’m catching up to myself and am doing the best I can. Thanks.
Renay Oshop - teacher, searcher, researcher, immerser, rejoicer, enjoying the interstices between Twitter, Facebook, and journals.