NomadYogi: Let Your Self Go
I spent the month of March in Pune, India, two weeks after a bomb exploded in a popular cafe. Soldiers and police were stationed every few streets and several roadblocks were set up to stop traffic. Ostensibly, this increase in security personnel was meant to provide more, um, security. In truth, however, it was an incredibly disorganized system (like everything in India) that enabled police to focus on their specialty: the extortion of passing motorists. Police harassment is the norm here and will continue to be until the government pays its police force a living wage.
And while I could go on and on again about how rough India is, I’d rather talk about something else. But, the thing I want to talk to you about is going to be difficult for me because, really, there are some things in life that are not even worth trying to describe. Their very nature defies description, like staring at photos of deep space or narrowly escaping your own demise. They are mind-blowing.
And, like describing outer space, it’s hard to find a reference point. Do you remember the first time you saw a picture of the Milky Way galaxy? Do you remember the way if felt when you realized that our little planet was in there, somewhere?
Here, do it now. Have you ever glanced at the timeline of evolution or the history of Earth and came to know your insignificance? Or, have you ever been confronted with your own mortality? It’s difficult to emote the experiential quality of facing your own death; it is so visceral, so personal.
And yet, here I am, attempting to do so. Or not, actually. I’m just explaining why I can’t.
I went to Pune to deepen my meditation practice and, one could say, take a few more steps down the spiritual path. I attended a course, of sorts, led by a Zen master named Dolano, who has been holding Satsang 6 times a year for the past 15 years. It is very underground and very, very radical as her methods are sometimes questionable and her approach is mercilessly direct. It is certainly not something that I would recommend for everyone.
Throughout the month, we covered a range of subjects that touched on the question of free will, the theory of Mind, and, essentially, the nature of consciousness. It challenged a few of my epiphanies; It upset most of my thoughts about life and death; It devastated all of my beliefs about my Self. If it all sounds really serious and deep, it’s because it is. And yet, at the same time, or perhaps, as a result of it, my understanding of these subjects has become very un-serious. The theory of Mind is a waste of time, free will doesn’t really exist (more on that in a future entry), and the nature of consciousness, ultimately, well, anything that can be said about it is no longer it. So while it is certainly interesting to wax poetic, opine philosophic, and otherwise create stacks (and circles) of thought in an attempt to figure out the why and how of everything, it’s much more rewarding to sit quietly, directly experiencing life, itself. This, you will note, is a marked departure from my previous philosophical inquires.
The foundation for the course, upon which everything else builds, is answering the question, “who am I?” For many seekers, this is where the search ends. For Dolano, this is where it begins. Dolano’s strategy is essentially this: spiritual seekers walk the path until they arrive at a cliff… and, well, she pushes people off of that cliff. No, I take that back. Shethrows them. And yet, it was the greatest and most difficult birthday present of my life. Still, I could not describe what I learned last month, even if I wanted to. It is not something that can be spoken. It’s a bit difficult and, uh, paradoxical: I have attempted to know that which cannot be understood. Do you know what I mean? Probably not.
I mean, I have tried. I’ve tried to answer my friends’ questions about what I did there but, most of the time, I find that my explanations leave them with blank faces, confusion, and disinterest. Maybe you’re even getting bored reading this.
So, rather than try to tell you about it, I decided to splice audio from a few of Dolano’s public satsang recordings in Pune, India into my latest 90-minute mix (for those of you who’ve been waiting for my new CD). I think it’s better for you to hear clips of her message directly from her, rather than my interpretation of it. Besides, it’s some pretty slamming tech-house.
So, take 90 minutes and listen to this mix in your headphones (most of the sound effects are imperceptible in your car or home stereo system). So, do that first. After, you can listen to it wherever you want, as you desire.
***This is a pre-release, due to slow upload speeds in Thailand. I am still working on mastering the volume levels throughout the mix. The real version, which will have more Dolano audio, will be uploaded when I get to LA in June.****
The set list is given below. All tracks are available on BeatPort.com
1.Aundy - Claude Von Stroke
2.Do what you want - Innocent Lovers
3.Sister Supreme - David Panda feat Cecilia Stalin
4.Balans - Darko Esser
5.Whatever I do - Andre Lodeman
6.Conscious movement - Harado
7.Desperately in love - Andre Lodemann
8.Ease your mind - Inland Knights
9.On my way - Nick Curly
10.A chico a rhytmico - Loco Dice
11.Immortal feat. Pirica - Kiki
12.Adelante - Alex Kenji
13.Ride with me - Roberto Rodriguez
14.Friend feat. Justin Taylor - Beatsstyles
15.Deviate - Manuel Tur, DPlay
16.Vertigo - Booka Shade
I’m now back home in Thailand, where the jungle meets the ocean. There is tremendous civil unrest in Bangkok, but I’m nowhere near it. Everything is fine where I am.