Friday, September 21, 2007

the yogi grail

At least for me, the "holy grail" with regard to an asana is doing it right proper in a led class. And today, it happened. As per usual, it was led primary on friday, which is something - need to get used to, but something that is great for my internal discipline, as in, not spending too much time perfecting poses at the expense of the vinyasas. And today, I did each pose, including supta kurmasana, without assistance, binding them all. I even managed to keep my hands glued to the floor in every vinyasa. It was a gold star day for me, for my discipline, for my practice in general.

Yesterday, I went to Sir's new class at the Atmananda place. It was quiet, but not empty. Some new faces. I got assists up to Supta K, and then Sir sets his limits: he eaves the room promptly at 10:30 am. I find that a bit upsetting, especially when he's lounging out in the lobby, chatting. What would be the big deal about a few dropbacks for someone who drove over an hour and paid over twenty bucks to park, just to practice with him? I understand the need to set limits, but this time it felt a bit arbitrary and capricious. It made me feel rebellious too - so after karna pidasana, I wrapped my ankles around my neck and took yoga nidrasana. Na na nana na.

It felt good too.

I like practicing with Sir, but it is going to be pretty unmotivating if a bit of traffic on the FDR drive is the sole difference between assisted dropbacks and me floundering around doing monkey-standups. And no, i cankt leave earlier enough to ensure my timely arrival. I have kids i have to see onto the schoolbus.

Well, we shall see how this all turns out. Meanwhile, i can never forget what an embarassment of riches i have when it comes to places to practice and teachers with whom to practice.

Yom Kippur is tonight. I anxiously await my rabbi's speech because last week he tweaked my brain in a way that it has never been tweaked before. Apart from the summer of love stuff, which was like blah blah blah to me.

Background: i have never been interested in politics. I am not particularly interested in hearing about wars, current or past. Caveat: I do not consider the Holocaust to be within that category. What happened to the Jews back then was a barbaric, almost medieval purge. I do think that any part of wwii that was fought in the name of protecting the world from such horrendous, vicious, senseless hatred and violence was fully justified. More justified than stopping similar holocausts in third world countries? Nnnno, i say haltingly, not fully understanding the implications of what i am saying....the question ultimately being "where do you draw the line with getting involved in the business of other countries?"

Now, the rabbi spoke of our culture's obsession with violence. And i agree with the notion that violence is far too pervasive, as entertainment, particularly. Then the rabbi spoke of war and violence, and what he said was that the vietnam war was violence without justification, but the ongoing violence commited by israeli's for the purpose of defending israel as their homeland IS justified.

My brain just went wild with that. First of all, my impulse was to vehemently disagree with him because i feel that all violence is unjustified. Then i remembered the Holocaust and modified my thinking. Then i thought about the notion that as a Jew, i am virtually NOT ALLOWED to take a view that is not "do whatever it takes to defend israel". But in truth, i ask myself - is it all worth it? Is it all justified? Is all violence used by israel in defending their hold on their land justified? Or is some more justifiable than others? When does a justifiable defense become a less justifiable act of aggression?

Israel was given to the jews by britain after wwii. But it's not like jews weren't there before that. The land is where our entire history took place. And jews were always drawn back. My own grandfather went to live there as a child for a time before it was "israel". The palestinians were always there too. But my understanding is that they made no fuss about their claim to their holy land until britain, with its big powerful military and well-organized presence, left the land to the jews. Then hell broke loose. It strikes me as the class bully waiting until the teacher leaves the room before smacking on the seemingly defenseless smart kid. Of course, the bully doesn't realice that the smart kid is trained in the art of self defense, is shrewdly intelligent and also has very strong friends who are willing to go to the mat for him.

So, yada yada, israel was under attack and remains so to this day. I am hardly sympathetic to suggestions that israel should capitulate because of the above history, primarily, and because also, i believe that the inch and the yard rule has proven to be the actual rule in this case. But mainly, again, i just don't buy the whole "it was mine first" claim against israel. My understanding, as written above, is that it was NOT.

But i digress. The topic is violence by israel, justified or not, discuss. I am at a loss here because i simply do not believe that one can make such a broad statement and expect it to be right all down the line. Sometimes a use of force is necessary. But sometimes it is not. Sometimes, a third party friend has to step in to help defend the small kid. Sometimes, they need to not. Call me a bad jew if you will, but the notion that all violence by israel is justified in the name of defending zion is just not any kool aid that i plan to be drinking any time soon.

Let the slings and arrows fly.



jody said...

I personally dont think the violence is justified. I say that because it seems as though Israel is going beyond defense. I dont think its fair for Israelis to just tear down and lay claim to land that Palestinians have been living on for generations. Meaning that it seems as though settlers are constantly trying to expand the boundaries and displace Palestinians. Nor are the palestinians innocents but Israel is hardly the defenseless smart kid in the classroom.

Also I dont think you can always revert back to the holocaust as a means to justify current policy or behavior. If violence against the jews was wrong then, than violence committed by the jews is wrong now.

the whole Israel/Palestinian conflict is more complicated than that I know but at its simplest the above is true.

I'm sure you've heard of, if not read some of the Israel Lobby. I cant say Ive read it all but it is an interesting counterpoint perspective.

samasthiti said...

I believe that possession is 9/10ths of the law.

Anonymous said...

retardation in nine-tenths of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that a people who have throughout history been forced to assimilate, made to bugger off, live in ghettos, what have you, are now doing the same thing in palestine. The U.S. and many american jews are just fueling this whole mess. The whole Israel thing is an effing mess and I have NO sympathy for Israel or Israelis. Pooh pooh on you, israel, you're mean.

(0v0) said...

"Justified"? G***cide?

Religion can be beautiful when it wants to be, though.

BeBe said...

YC, I regret that you stirred up the anti-Israeli elements. I know you well enough to conclude you were being thoughtful and not a self-hating Jew when you posted.

I want to address some of the unfortunate comments:

Jody, the land you say the so-called palestinians have lived on is land that Abraham lived on. Abraham is founder of Judiasm, the creator of the concept of monotheism, and the first of the three Jewish patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham's tomb is located in Hebron - on the WestBank. Rachel, Isaac's wife, prayed to have a child - her tomb is also located on the WestBank. These are sacred Jewish shrines. The Jews have given up portions of the WestBank along with Gaza and the entire Sinai Peninsula for peace after winning these territories -- only after having been attacked. How can you say that this is the land
of the "palestinians." It is in fact the land of the Jews, which the Jews gave up for peace -- but we didn't get peace.

As for Laksmi, you should study up a bit and think about the fact that the palestinian folks are not such innocent victims. Hamas controls Gaza. It is recognized around the world as a terrorist organization. There are many of what you see as the poor, pathetic palestinians who throw stones and other weapons and are prone to launching suicide bombs at Israelis. Expressing hate for Israel and Israelis in the blanket way you do is nothing more than shorthand for anti-semitism.
Laksmi, you can't really separate us Jews from Israel. Just ask your friend, YC.


Anonymous said...

everyone who is pro-israel thinks that everyone else should 'study up'. Well, obviously you think I am wrong. Whatever. I think what I think, and you have no idea what I have studied in my life, so bugger off.

Anonymous said...

oh, and I didn't
express hate' for israel and israelis. I just don't agree with them.

samasthiti said...

I'd like to add that I am just a self hating human being. We suck.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you've got the self-hatred for me today, s. I'll pick mine back up again tomorrow.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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