A New Yoga Discovery, Handel’s Messiah, Gift Giving In Prison and a Nice Dream: Merry Christmas!
"Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright oh yeah/Jesus is my friend.”
It’s 3:30 a.m. Christmas morning and I just woke up with that classic rock song playing in my mind. I think I’ll spend the day writing a type of Christmas Day Diary. My good Jesus-hating Atheist friends will have to cordially pardon me but I’m quite filled with holiday cheer.
3:35 a.m. Breakfast just arrived. We only get decent food—which includes an apple and an orange—twice a year on Christmas and Thanksgiving. I just put the fruit in my bowl to save until I finish morning yoga…
4.45 a.m. Kirtan, meditation and about 25 Asanas and now I’m ready to embrace the World today! While meditating I vividly remembered a beautiful dream I had last night.
My dreams are so very eccentric, whimsical, and otherworldly that I could never even begin to properly describe them with words. I’ll give it a try though. Imagine my point of view as the most advanced video camera in existence, one able to zoom in and out within the span of a millisecond. Picture that my Consciousness is a thousand, no a million of these video cameras that are able to turn on or off quickly. Now imagine my senses dramatically enhanced, my ability to smell, touch, taste, hear and see heightened to the extreme and imagine my sensory perception as all-pervading.
So, I was looking out over a luxuriant field that was full of Life. At the far end of this field was a beautiful Tree that was pulsing with radiant Energy, its branches reaching toward the sky like arms with open palms begging to be kissed by the Sun. The brilliantly green leaves were flowing back and forth and flirting with the wind.
The Energy of the Tree reached out to me and I began breathing in the Essence of the Natural World. This feeling, this warm comforting feeling, coursed through me, and the Tree began to change. The deep earthy browns of the bark swirled together like paint mixing on its own. The luminescent greens of the leaves danced as the browns disappeared into their brilliance.
As the colors changed to only shades of green the Tree began to morph into another form, a human form, my gaze was transfixed on the wonder before me: the Tree which had become a mass of gracefully flowing eurythmically dancing green leaves took on a feminine shape. Imagine a cross between a living version of the ancient Nile River Goddess statues and depictions of The Green Man.
The transformation was complete. Before me stood a breathtakingly beautiful woman covered in leaves, formed from vivaciously lively, animate leaves that were cheerfully pulsing with Life. Her sensual curves exuded Life-affirming Energy. This Energy, which came from the very Essence of Nature, spoke to my Consciousness, whispering sweet words of Love and Life. And then it was as if all of the lenses of my million-video-cameras slowly closed and my Consciousness merged with this Energy to form a warm beautiful Synergy. At that point I woke up this Christmas morning around 3:30 a.m. feeling vibrant and alive. Quite a nice dream!
Pomona was the ancient Roman goddess who presided over the orchards. She just came to mind because of my dream and also because of the fruit that is over in my bowl beckoning to me. Time to make a fruit salad! I just chopped up the apple and the orange with my spoon. Apple first, mmm, I love the way the palpable thick yet smooth texture feels on my tongue. A sweet, yet rather serious fruit—a fruit that when first approached offers a stern yet beautiful continence (?countenance?) which upon more intimate association gives way to a deep sensual sweetness.
I’m reminded of when I was a small boy, before my dad was murdered, when I would go visit my grandma and grandpa Will. My grandma kept one of those little kid “sippy cups” for me that I would drink apple juice out of. I’m also reminded of the apple-smelling lotion an ex-girlfriend of mine used to wear. This apple tastes wonderful! Orange time.
Cha! Cha! Cha!—A mambo of tangy, tantalizing sweetness is dancing on my tongue. Man, this orange is delicious. The little bursts of pulp are like minuscule explosions of savory energy. I just mixed the pieces of apple and orange together and…Ambrosial bliss—the taste and aroma are intoxicating. This fruit medley is wonderful, absolutely delicious. Ah, very nice. I’m about to brush my teeth and clean up a bit…
6 a.m. This orange peel is just going to have to stay on my sink for a while because I can’t bear to throw it away. I’m rubbing a piece of the peel between my fingers as I write. The outside is wonderfully sleek with a slight grain that massages my fingertips as they glide over it. The inside feels roughly smooth and earthy. I’m just about in love with this orange peel!
The news is on. Some crazy woman attacked the Pope. Wow. In his recent speech the Pope said that “the Prince of Peace reminds the world where happiness lies!” Jesus as symbol of the need for Peaceful Coexistence of Humanity sounds good to me! Another news blurb was just on talking about how “self gifting” is up 41% this year. I wonder if our society is going to evolve —or I should really say devolve—to a point where people only buy gifts for themselves at Christmas. Certainly not—or at least I hope not!—but that was the thought that came to mind when hearing the news piece about “self-gifting.”
7:02 a.m. I just finished wrapping up a Christmas present I am going to give to a dud over here who I am cool with. (And one whose social consciousness I’m helping uplift.) I have this thing I do—I like to take popular concepts into the palm of my hand, re-mold them and toss them into the air and let their newly evolved energy permeate throughout the environment.
Guys don’t really give each other Christmas presents in prison. There are all types of social norms in prison concerning race, gender roles, sexuality, and all sorts of other things and those norms generally aren’t challenged. These popular concepts—which really amount to conditioned moral imperatives—are quite interesting, from a psycho-sociological perspective. Well, yeah, dudes don’t exchange gifts in prison on Christmas. Here’s what I’m going to do though: I’m going to send the dude a Henry David Thoreau book and tell him something like this:
I know you don’t have any homophobic complexes that are so very prevalent in prison and I know you don’t have any of those crazy-ass repressed emotional themes concerning your “manhood” and all that—so, I know you won’t get to trippin’ and have an episode thinking I’m trying to check you or punk you or something by giving you this book. We’ve been on this Shaolin Warrior monk vibe lately, right? Well, I read a story about how a Buddhist convert from Europe went to the Shaolin Monastery and met a Shaolin monk. They exchanged gifts, a necklace, and a bracelet and then they began a process of exchanging gifts of knowledge that has lasted years and years. We’ve been holding dialectic and exchanging knowledge, so I think of this book as a small material gift from one warrior to another. Also, I think of it as a manifestation of the symbol of Jesus as the Prince of Peace—Jesus was after all a warrior in his own right. H.D. Thoreau was talking about something back in his day also. I think you’ll enjoy this book.
Back to washing.
7:35 a.m. My neighbor just banged on my wall and hollered at me with this ole sad Christmas Day blues stuff: “I don’t feel all that good today so y’all may have to count me out of today’s workout.” I replied with: “You know that little donkey from the cartoon? Winnie the Pooh? Don’t front, you know you used to watch that show when you were a little kid. What was his name? Eeyore or something? Well, that’s who you sound like right now and I ain’t trying to hear it. We’re in the middle of the Festival Of Yule, it’s Christmas Day, Kwanzaa starts tomorrow—get up out of the bed! You know Red River Radio is going to have something good on today and we are going to work out in a few hours. Get up, do Yoga and embrace Life!”
He said, “Yeah, I think I’ll do some Yoga” and now I’m back to washing…
7:50 a.m. I’m done washing clothes and cleaning up for the day. All of my clothes are washed and hanging up on my clothesline and my cell is nice and sparkling clean. I’m about to work on a letter to a compañero of mine while breathing in the nice aroma of this orange peel.
8:45 a.m. I gave the Thoreau book to the dude and talked with him for a minute about who Thoreau is and what the book is about. Then, I went to the shower and just got back to my cell. Now back to my letter.
9:01 a.m. The “cold” Christmas tray just got here. (They give us two separate Christmas trays, one “cold” tray with desserts and one “hot” tray with regular food.) Absolute gluttonous debauchery: a tray full of cakes and pies. I shall shamelessly partake in such debauchery later though! The texture of this disposable try is interesting; experiencing new or rarely felt sensory stimulation is always interesting—a testament to the deplorable power of sensory deprivation.
9:45 a.m. I just finished my letter and hollered at my neighbors: “Workout time in fifteen minutes!” Yoga stretching first…
10 a.m. Workout time: Dips and Trunk Twists…Back-arms and Cherry Pickers…Push-ups and Side-bends. (Jujitsu Time). Form Punches and two styles of Kicks.
11:02 a.m. Whew! Done! That was a nice non-stop one-hour workout. We’re all feeling energized and my neighbor got off of his boo-hoo-whah-whah Eeyor-esque Christmas blues trip. The “hot” tray just got here. Time to eat…
11:49 a.m. I’m 6 ft.2 inches tall and weigh two hundred pounds and I don’t really have any fat on my body but right now I feel like a great big FAT MAN. Eating like this only twice a year isn’t all that bad I suppose. I was going to give a description of the experience of eating the various foods but that would take many pages—my senses were just about overwhelmed.
Some beautiful classical guitar music is playing; a show is on called “Classical Guitar Live”. This is the first time I’ve heard the show and it’s awesome. George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is about to come on. Let me holler at my neighbor to let him know and see if he will do a bible study with me while jammin’ this Handel…
Damned Jesus Hater! He wasn’t trying to hear it. I used to have a strong aversion to Christianity and all other forms of religion. I used to consider myself an Atheist before I realized how absurdly illogical—and not to mention terribly boring—Atheism is. A lot of Atheists really seem to have a hard time thinking in the abstract and understanding metaphor, allegory, and symbolism. Well, I’ll just have a Christmas Day bible reading while listening to Handel’s Messiah all by my lonesome! (B.T.W. I have read and continue to read all sorts of religious texts from various religious traditions.)
Quite nice. “People have seen a great light.” Ah, yes, Light, Lux, symbolic of the upliftment? Uplifting? of Consciousness.
I am the Light of the world,
whoever follows me will never walk
in the darkness, but will have the Light
Imagine if all people professing to be Christians followed in Christ’s footsteps, lived in his Light, his image, as the Prince of Peace. Imagine if they embraced that Light and let it shine out over the vast expanse of Humanity.
While I am in the world, I am
the Light of the world.
Imagine if, on a daily basis, all of those who consider themselves Christians strove toward keeping the peace-loving and Life- affirming teachings of Jesus in the world. This music is certainly nice. It reminds me that for thousands of years there have been a countless number of Christians who have dedicated their lives to fighting for social change—their dedication brought about by their Christian faith. Jesus-haters should really keep that in mind.
1:30 p.m. I continued to do some reading and finished listening to Handel’s Messiah. Now I’m about to write another letter…Done.
It’s 4:41 p.m. and time for some more Yoga.
5:19 p.m. I know absolutely nothing about anything: that’s thought came to mind while I was doing some Asanas just now. Interestingly, the older I get the more that thought comes to mind.
For months now I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into my Yoga studies and practice. Not long ago a compañero of mine sent me a book entitled “Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual For Students, Teachers, and Practitioners” by H. David Coulter. The book is essentially an Anatomy textbook, which details the correlation between Hatha Yoga and modern science, specifically Physiology. At 600 pages the book is thoroughly detailed and exhaustive yet not overly didactic.
Studying the book has helped me better understand how my body works—and how my body works while doing Yoga—as well as giving me a better understanding of general Anatomy and Physiology. So, I was just doing some Asanas and really feeling how my various muscles and tendons are working and paying close attention to how my organs were being affected. I noticed how very slight adjustments can cause different muscles to be worked and can affect pranayama (breathing). It would take me forever to give a detailed explanation of the little discovery I just made, but basically I just realized why a very common muscle pull occurs and how to prevent it.
I remember when I played football in school people—myself included—suffered from this type of muscle strain. The traditional stretches said to help this type of injury mostly stretch the muscles around the muscle that is particularly susceptible to strains. There is a Yoga position that especially stretches the muscle prone to injury. I’m about to go share this info with my two workout partners because we were just talking about how that particular muscle pull is common and how two? of us always experience soreness in this area after doing Jujitsu Kicks. I’m quite sure I’ve discovered how to prevent this particular soreness (and possible strain). Yoga is truly amazing.
6:32 p.m. I’ve been up sine 3:30 a.m. and I’ve had a nice, full productive day, a nice Christmas Day. Finding good somewhat recent—meaning written within about the last 30 years—fiction has become quite a Sisyphean task for me. I’ll laboriously push my boulder of literary inquiry up the hill. Just when I get to the top and think I’ve found a brilliant work of fiction I’ll clap and hop about in a frenzy of biblio-fanatical glee and BAMM—It was all a mirage: what I thought was a good fiction book is nothing more than the foot of the hill. I go to where my boulder of literary inquiry rests in a particularly mocking stance.
Well, hooray for me—I do believe I may have discovered a good fiction book: “The Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel (2001). I recently started reading it and I am about to delve back into the book for a while and then get some rest. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
With Peace, Strength & Love:
*12.26.10: Ugghhh. I feel terribly tired and slothy today even though I got plenty of rest. The culprit of my condition: All of the horrendously over-processed, perfidiously salty, and treacherously sugary foods I ate yesterday. No wonder so many North Americans suffer from depression—they eat like that every day! Oh and the “Pi” book was quite good.