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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Second Time Around

Do you remember college?

I do.

(Sort of.)

As a youngster I was shy.  The only child of parents who mostly kept to themselves, other kids were something of a mystery to me.  I didn't want to play tag; I wanted to play, "I'll be Dorothy and wear the shiny red shoes and you can be a monkey, or something". 

In grade school, I couldn't fathom the skill, or the appeal, in attempting to swing at, kick, punch, or dodge a ball of any kind, particularly one that was speeding straight toward me at 60 mph.  I was a lot like Hermione:  I endured gym and loved book reports.  To this day my wrist still aches with the tendinitis that first appeared in grade school where I perpetually held a book too heavy for my little hand. 

I was a pretty tautly wound little nerd.  

Fast forward to college, where, unsurprisingly, I went a bit wild.  I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I did a bunch of stupid, boundary-testing stuff, all of which was interesting, and most of which I don't regret.  It wasn't the sort of education my parents had in mind but it was good for me, nonetheless.  I learned a lot; I just didn't learn any of it in a classroom. 

Today, my inner geek and my inner troublemaker are no longer at odds, and cheerily co-exist.  I don't undervalue the experiences I had in college but I do wish I'd immersed myself in study when I had the chance.  For most of us, the opportunity for undivided focus upon education is a luxury we won't have again. 

I like learning.  I have, at times, wistfully considered going back to school.  Several years ago, in a fit of longing to deepen my studies, I confided that sense of missed opportunity to Douglas, who reminded me that there is opportunity still.

In that spirit, I'm very much looking forward to beginning the Srividyalaya courses.  In recent correspondence, Douglas and some of the team chatted about the vision:  SV shall truly be an educational project.  While the Rajanaka view will be included, this isn't about signing on, or signing up for, the Rajanaka lineage.

As a spiritual university, SV classes will shine a light upon many of the great traditions and their substance:  we'll hold the great traditions side by side, and look at texts, practices, and histories. 

I've been studying ten years, which is long enough to know that, while I've been fortunate to have access to more teachings than the average yogin, there's still an ocean of yoga tradition left to drink from.

As my smartypants friend Harrison Williams says:
"The way to deepen the conversation of yoga is not to merely tow a party line or hold only one point of view, but rather to step gently and self-consciously into the stream of yoga:  to learn to detect a hidden current of history or theology, to subltly feel beneath the surface for the line of an argument or for an elusive pattern of deepening insight.
A lineage does not emerge from nowhere.  Without soil no tree will take root.  Without roots no tree will blossom.  Without blossoms no tree will fruit.  Without fruit no new roots will descend back into the fecund soil of history to sprout again anew—distinct but not different."
For me, Srividyalaya represents a second chance at a formal course of study.  My inner nerd couldn't be more thrilled that, after all these years, I finally know exactly what I want to major in.