Sunday, August 10, 2008

journal entry: june 16, 2008

Yesterday was learning packed on Navdanya Farm.  Columbia's class was consumed by an intense discussion of Jnana Yoga.  The philosophical arguments began once we started talking about "what is knowledge?' and 'what is intelligence?'  People went off on tangents over genetics and quantum physics, at which time I got lost and stopped listening.  I don't like when classes incorrectly discuss things outside their realm of knowledge.  I'm all about interdisciplinary dialogue and learning, but I'm not at all pleased when people who have a basic understand of a topic attempt to make it work to support their argument.  While well intentioned, it usually only leads to more questions and makes the justification even more convoluted and complex, often resulting in the comment "Perhaps that was a bad example... or Lets just assume this is so..."  No I won't assume, because I know it isn't so.

Columbia later expounded on what he wanted us to focus on and clarified knowledge's separation from consciousness, as a physical function of the mind, and pure consciousness, an element of the soul.  What?  I'm so lost.  This discussion of consciousness and unconsciousness only made me think of Freud.  When I think of Freud, I giggle.  When I start giggling, its usually a sign that I'm not taking something seriously.  I digress... 

The class itself made me anxious since I had no clue what was being discussed.  I hate that.  I don't mind the occasional mind-fuck experience in classes, but this was no mind-fuck, this was utter and complete confusion.  While I'm excited and interested to hear the concept discussed more and possibly clarified, I still feel overwhelmed.  What exactly was Swami Vivekananda trying to say when he wrote the piece that prompted the class discussion?  Perhaps it'll all boil down to not being the type of yoga for me.  Not all yogas are for everyone, and as Swami V wrote, "if these terms and concepts confuse you, you were not out to be a philosopher." Since jnana yoga is the path of the philosophers, I'm ok shrugging my shoulders and saying "ok, not my thing."  It's simply too abstract for me.  Perhaps Hanners or Goddess G can break things down a bit better for me.  It is after all their passion and area of expertise.


I went down to the water's edge and was overwhelmed by the cool crisp air and overall beauty of the river our guest house was on.  I slipped off my shoes and gently submerged my toes, feet, and ankles into the shockingly cold water.  The river roared, moving water that tantalized and terrified.  Power and beauty all in one.  My favorite of the goddess's manifestations; strong, wild, free.  I glanced to my left and noticed to my horror all the plastic bags and bits that clung to the rocks all along the bank.  What was modernity doing to this sacred, life-providing, river?  I thought about the dams and exploitation of India's watersheds and cringed.  What happened to valuing the sacred?  What happened to valuing nature?  Why was I surprise?  We do the same thing in the States.  

At times I feel overwhelmed with grief of how such a beautiful world is being destroyed and torn apart by humanity.  This seems to be a reoccurring theme for me.  I get overwhelmed, feel insignificant, and wonder what my role in this world, in civilization, currently is and what it will become.  I feel that I'm not growing and maturing at a fast enough pace to help fight the world's problems.  The I try to focus on the changes I've made to my life, my perspective, my ecological footprint, and my consumption habits.  I think about all the things I'd like to do, but can't due to financial limitations.  I keep reminding myself that change takes time.  Even in my personal life, things take time to change.  I must focus on what Dr. Vandana Shiva said on the farm when we first arrived, "change is going to be slow.  Be patient.  Destruction and exploitation are quick, but restoration and a new consciousness will take time."  Be patient Liz.  Don't become complacent; be patient.  Be the change you wish to see.

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