Thursday, March 11, 2010
It started as a minor disturbance. Years ago, when I was assisting Gabriel Halpern in his 10am class on Tuesdays at the Yoga Circle, I had the assignment to present Warrior One to the class. When I was researching the pose in Light on Yoga I found it hard to understand the short version of the story in the beginning of the section devoted to the Warrior poses, and I was perturbed by this, but I let it go for a while as life occupied my attention otherwise.
Then, more recently, I came across the story again in Zo Newell's wonderful book, Downward Dogs & Warriors, and it really came alive for me this time. It is a vivid story that practically tells itself once you have the images and background.
The story has such potency for me. And I wonder if this might be the beginning of my journey with the Warrior, rather than the completion that having already presented the workshop might suggest. The Warrior is not done with me yet!
The story of the great Warrior, Virabhadra, is from a mythological story from India. It is my belief that when we hear stories from mythology that the images have the potential to open up understandings that otherwise could remain hidden. It engages the creative matrix of mind. And I also think that the images might interact with the minds of different people differently depending on what they are available to hear at the time. It is similar to visiting the Art Institute of Chicago: I respond to certain artworks, and others just seem pass over my eyes without much happening for me. And with stories (and poetry) certain aspects will rock my world and other parts I probably will not understand. If you listen to the same piece with me it could be that you will be strongly affected by things that had little affect on me and vice-versa. This perception is also time-dependent. Like when I visit the museum on a different day I find myself resonating with artworks that I wasn't drawn to previously, and similarly when I hear the same story or read the same poem years (or days) later I understand different parts. So the same piece can open up meaning differently depending on how the viewer/listener/reader is oriented at a particular time.