I was hoping to polish off the anti-sage meditation posts with a final post, “OBLITERATION OF THE EGO THROUGH PAIN” but I’m afraid that new insights have revealed to me that I have been framing these apparent “anti-zen” endeavours inaccurately. Thanks to my teacher, I now understand these practices to be complimentary expressions of my meditation practice, expressed in everyday life, rather than compensatory ones. We talk a lot about taking one’s practice “off the mat” in yoga but sometimes it’s not obvious what that might look like; in my case, it was not what I expected and I didn’t recognize it at first. In psychology and cognitive science, they call it flow.

Who were you that I lived with, walked with? The brother, the friend? Strife and love, darkness and light–are they the workings of one mind, features of the same face? Oh my soul. Let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made. All things shining. – Terrence Malick



Society6/Måsse Hjeltman

Love is the cheapest, richest high. It costs you absolutely nothing and the intensity of the high lasts for days, weeks, months. You might in fact, never come down.

Like any drug, the first time you experience the rush of infatuation or eros, you probably won’t know what the hell to do with it. You are completely insane, fucked out of your mind on a heady neurochemical cocktail of dopamine and oxytocin and god knows what else, and this can actually be stressful for a lot of people. They’re constantly distracted, unable to sleep or eat and may behave out of character. They lose any and all sense of perspective. The most minor event can trigger even more intense, soaring highs or, if negative, can balloon into ridiculously overwrought and soul crushing lows. Like a dazed teenager puking on the sidewalk after a first round of binge drinking, most people need to learn how to hold their eros. Like any intoxicant, some people will always have a low tolerance for the stuff while others will never be affected very powerfully; some will become completely addicted while others may actively dislike it; so on and so forth.

Society6/Heather Landis

I’ve been falling in love practically every week since I was a teen and I’ve always enjoyed it. I have always been quite cavalier with my heart and I don’t regret a single time I’ve loved deeply. And all I can say is, while being lovestruck affects everyone differently, it gets so much better with experience and meditation. Because you reach a point where you realize that you don’t have to do anything about eros other than to be with it. A crush is just a crush, lust is just lust, and when you have no attachments to any outcome, you can luxuriate in your free and wonderfully rich high without that kind of frenetic concern over how the relationship is going to play out. You can think your silly, lovesick thoughts and be amused by them instead of believing in them. You can sit back and let your brain light up with feel good neurons firing away, and marvel at the fact that all it took to get that sweet, sweet hit of rewarding dopamine was a simple image or thought of your object of affection.


It’s been a year and a half of regular meditation practice and I’ve noticed that naturally, I’ve begun to gravitate toward experiences that I suspect are serving as compensatory developments to the zen. I think that I was getting too deep, too quickly with the meditation for my conscious mind; I always had this strong feeling of my everyday consciousness always scrambling to catch up to parse, digest and integrate new experiences, of always lagging behind and standing on the brink of being overwhelmed. For awhile, my solution was to basically avoid meditation outside the sangha group in an attempt to slow the pace down – not avoiding mindfulness mind you, but any kind of extended, deep concentration. However, lately, I’ve begun to ever so slowly to try to get back into it while balancing it all out with compensatory practices that I’ll call the anti-sage meditations, because none of these practices support the cultivation of wisdom.


via society6/BLCKBTY

Enough preamble. Last night, after a particularly gluttenous omakase meal at one of TO’s top three Japanese restaurants, I stayed out until 3am dancing to Daedelus, whose music I have adored for a decade. He’d tweeted earlier in the day that he was going to try a new sound – I had no idea how different it was going to be. His tracks last night were just as dense as they had ever been, but so much fatter, just a tsunami of sound towering over you to completely own you. His usually clever and whimsical tracks took a darker turn, and with the volume so high, it was almost unforgiving, dominating.