General Jack D. Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first… become… well, develop this theory?
General Jack D. Ripper: Well, I, uh… I… I… first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue… a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I… I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.
General Jack D. Ripper: But I… I do deny them my essence.
I am not sure if I made this clear originally when I spoke to people about coming to this ashram, but I am actually completing a course here. Ostensibly this is to facilitate the teaching of yoga, though I remain completely unconvinced that I want to do that. It is nice to have something in my life that I don’t have the responsibility of teaching, though with the horror stories I hear of the job situation at home, I suppose there is no way I can be too prepared.
To that, or those ends, I am spending quite a bit of time learning about the theory and background of yoga. I must admit, I wish I was doing a little more yoga, but then again, in looking at it, I am managing about 4-5 hours a day, of which about two hours are pretty intense. The other more subtle elements are probably good for me and my wound-up self anyhow. We are learning about asanas but also pranayama, meditation, kriyas and a whole lot about the particular spiritual bent of this ashram (Vedanta-sutras and Swami Vivekenanda.) I am interested in this stuff because one of the things I noticed about yoga when I started doing it was that it made me feel different… better really, than any other sport or exercise I had participated in over the years. And I wanted to know why.
Well, one of the big theories is the movement and management of “prana.” Prana is defined as our Life Force. And right here I lose it. I can only visualize General Jack D. Ripper discussing his precious bodily fluids and his essence. Every time. [This does mean that I am not managing to control my mind to the degree that a more advanced yogi does, because I should be able to block that extraneous information out… but I swear to Krishna, every time one of our teachers starts talking about the flow of our prana, and the importance of it, I feel like Lt. Mandrake. At least I do not laugh out loud.]
Still, the lessons are valuable and the fact is that when we manage our minds which is most tangibly done by managing our breath, things seems calmer, better, more manageable. So that is a total win, right?
The Complainer is still rocking her issues daily, and these complaints are manifesting in very interesting ways. Like she is having all sorts of problems. I wonder if maybe she might want to look at some of the lessons we are learning about managing our minds. But I am not here to teach, so I will let her work that out on her own. I feel like I am getting something pretty worthwhile out of this and even if it is not what I expected, or at times what I want – 4:30 a.m. wake up everyday??? – I think it is worth it, and a nice intro into India in an easy and user-friendly way.
We had a crazy storm here the other night; thunder like I have never heard anywhere… not just on us but enveloping us. And a torrential downpour. We lost power for about a day and things got pretty messy. But in the end, it was just another day at the ashram. Hardly anything to get worked up about. The food is good, but I am tired of carbohydrates. [A sentence I never thought I would say – ever.] And everyone seems completely fascinated by my age. Like, everyone asks me how old I am all the time. I cannot tell if this is a compliment or an insult, or in the more yogic perspective, just a question. Either way, they all seem shocked by the truth. New high? New low? I dunno.
Another funny thing that has happened is that I have been required to do assignments in a truly Asian fashion. By this I mean, the report cover matters more than the report. For real, yo. It is totally about style. And DO NOT THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. This has been a real experience for me… But is a strange way, rather meditative as I meticulously copy the exact text they wish to see within the carefully drawn on page borders. Perhaps that is just another part of the lesson. I remain convinced that the more empirical, individual, trail and error method is superior… but that is probably just my inner-Western Imperialist shouting out. Time to go calm down that part of my monkey brain.