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Take What You Like, Leave The Rest

June 4, 2009

This tenet from Al-Anon and AA has become my constant mantra (so to speak) the last five days in school.

Maybe that’s not accurate.  I’ve actually been repeating that to myself for the last four days.  On the first day of classes, I was enamored of everything about my teacher training.  Every teacher, ever lecture subject, everything resonated for me across the board.  I even found myself getting emotional during lectures on my first day, so overwhelmed by the confirmation that I was in exactly the right place.

Thankfully, I’m still convinced I’m in exactly the right place (and as I’ve said, I firmly believe we are always in exactly the right place), but the shiny coat of paint is beginning to chip away.  The foundation underneath is still pretty awesome, but there are some aspects to this program that have me squirming a bit.

Issues I have with the make up of the studio itself I will keep to myself, but one thing that has come up a few times now in classes is seriously bothering me.  There seems to be rampant misunderstandings of and – more disturbingly – distaste for Buddhism.

I always thought of Tantra (the particular lineage of yoga I’m currently studying; and no, it’s not all about sex) and Buddhism as working in lovely synergy with one another.  In my personal experience (which in both schools of thought is ultimately the only thing that matters) my study of Asana (the physical practice of yoga), Metta (compassion meditation), and the Buddhist Dharma (essentially a suggested framework for happiness) have always worked hand-in-hand to inform my spirituality and world view.  But in class, Buddhism is talked about like something to be ignored and subordinate to Tantra Yoga.

Certainly, as a Buddhist (though I vacillate with my comfort in calling myself as much) I’m offended at the intolerance, but furthermore, I think it is a sign of weakness in the program that instead of drawing parallels between modalities, it has erected walls.

I’d be lying if I said my frustration with this wasn’t effecting my practice and my studies – it certainly colors my mood and my ability to garner the more esoteric of the lectures.  I’ve found myself skeptical to subjects by which I was previously fascinated and to which I was open such as Chakras and Ayurvedic Doshas; it’s sort of my brain saying, “oh yeah? You don’t like me? Well I don’t like you either…LA LA LA I can’t hear you.”

But I think I need to look at my relationship with this studio like the folks in Al-Anon talk about relationships with the addicts in their life: you can’t solve their problems, and you can’t fight their battles.  If my school is going to be ignorant on a certain subject, but still nourish me in other ways, then I have to figure out how to love it, love its flaws, and absolutely know, love and trust myself first and foremost.

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