Do Not Read This

 Well hello. I see you've decided to look anyways, despite my warning.

In fact, it was an insistence disguised as a deterrant, designed to draw you near - and I see  it worked.

Just like the ineffable artist below, who scratched out words to attract the eye, I wonder why, what and how we obscure things, in art, life and yoga, to concsiously or subconsciously bring attention to them.

 Basquiat  

Basquiat  

 

What is this innate paradox of human behaviour, to focus on that which is negated or hidden? What is our human compulsion to look at what we are told not to; to find what we are denied; to break rules and conventions?

And what about our lives? Why do we seek to uncover that aspects of ourselves, our lovers and our friends that are hidden from us? Why are we obsessed with the hidden secrets of the lives of others -  fascinated with the places and the things we are told not to see and do? What is this perpetual and seemingly innate quality of subversion? 

There's a huge tome of popular yoga-talk about looking into the darkness, facing our shadow side, exploring our deepest fears. And from from pop-yoga-psychology to Mahayanan monks, there's an understanding that the double-edged sword of repression and fascination, horror and beauty, is necessary, if we are only brave enough to look.

The gorgeous irony, I beleive, is that this instinct to dig, to seek, to look and to crack open, costs us a great deal of comfort and causes an immense amount of pain. Yet, it is the driving force of change, of evolution, of our minds and our souls, and is the foundation of the history of yoga: "Development is evolution; evolution is transcendence;... and transcendence has as its final goal Atman, or ultimate Unity...all drives are subsects of that Drive, all wants a subset of that Want...but carried out initially through the intermediary of the human psyche, with results that range from ecstatic to catastrophic." (Ken Weilber)

Was this great Drive towards transcendence and spiritual evolution, which is the ancient and the modern yoig's quest, not the very same as Eve's desire? To seek the pathway to knowledge, to be brave enough to look and to touch what she was told not to, and inso exapand into the fullness of being human? With pain and joy in equal measure, (the pain of chilbirth and the joy of motherhood) Eve is a heroin as well as a sinner, and therefore, the first fully whole human being.

image.jpg

If this quest for knowledge, at all cost, is not the defining feature of our humanity, then what is? 

 

 Omissions are not accidents - Marianne Moore

In a fascinating secondary paradox, we are more exposed, yet more hidden than ever in this modern life and it's digital incarnation. Some frown on the idealized versions of ourselves that we endlessly craft and self-edit day in and day out, in a never ending thread of images, quotes, ideas and shares, like a reel of film, edited to reflect our unique aesthetic of perfection. This  process, with it's inclusions and exclusions, choices and edits, is art in a way, no? I often think so, because it's an intentional act of creation, to convey an idea of our personal dream of beauty.

Our digital idealized replica of life need not include every single aspect of ourselves, just as a book or painting must exclude a thousand words or lines for every concept or image it conveys. But back to the omissions and strikethroughs, WHY do we exclude some details, and not others? I wonder if perhaps these things are done by some part of ourselves to ask another part of ourselves to TAKE A CLOSER LOOK. 

Yesterday's writer caught every word erased and typo corrected on the ink stained page. Somewhere, there exists manuscripts with scratched out words and sentences, ideas and 'mistakes'. Now, for the most part, our omissions are invisible, lost somewhere in the digital ether. In a way, I mourn the relic of versioning, the visible process of creation, or what a math teacher might have been meaning when they said, "Don't give me the answer, show me your work!"

So what is our work then? What falls through the cracks as we constatly edit our lives, or minds, our art and our spiritual practices? What about all that which gets crossed out? Deleted, omitted? Can we look at what we've crossed out as an integral, invisible part of what we have refined and kept? 

These are the pieces that are the most fasinacting, in a raw, powerful way, the double edged sword of fascination and repulsion, that keeps our eyes peering through our fingers as we cover our faces during the scary parts.  

Maybe these are the parts, ideas, poses and prose that really need to be seen, because what we deny and hide and omit, is as much a part of what defines us as what we ask others and ourselves to look at.  

In yoga this week, I am looking at what Istruggle to keep hidden. 

In my writing, I am seeking the serpet that frightens me.

Fearlessly seek out the knowledge in the darkness, for without the dragon there is no hero. 

This is the juicy substance that penetrates the mind and compels us, for in the shadows, the omissions, we are defined, we are complete.