Big Sky Country. And just like that, I’m back in Montana. This time I flew into Bozeman. Montana is quickly growing on me. On the flight from Salt Lake City, I met a fascinating individual. He’s a fellow road warrior who lives West of Yellowstone. He made the move to Montana 4 years ago from the South of Illinois. As travelers we briefly spoke of airports. I was fascinated as he told me of the airport in West Yellowstone. He told that once during some less than favorable weather his wife picked him up on a snow mobile at the airport. He lives 3 minutes away from the West Yellowstone airport via snow mobile (aka the forest). The more time I spend time in Montana, the more that choices like owning a large, sturdy vehicle and meat consumption make sense to me. Life is hard up here. Up here because earlier today as I was driving to my hotel (from Bozeman to Butte), I drove past the Continental divide and wow – it literally took my breath away (also metaphorically). The altitude was a little lower than when I went to the Rockies a few weeks ago, but certainly above sea level (~6900 ft). Anyway, back to sea level San Diego tomorrow after my visit.
I don’t really have any deep nor controversial thoughts to share today. I’ve mostly been spending the time focusing on work (as always!). I’d like to close this off by sharing some words from Professor Brooks’ book Poised by Grace: Annotations on the Bhagavad Gita from a Tantric View (which I’m currently reading):
“It is not the case that yoga has so many different ‘meanings’, but that the central meaning is a complex one that in English is not exhausted by one equivalent. He goes on to say, “Yoga is always someone, in something, with something, for some purpose…” and “…implies (1) the process of a difficult effort; (2) a person committed to it; (3) the instrument he uses; (4) the course of action chosen; and (5) the prospect of a goal.”
“Receive your freedom as willingly as you accept your responsibilities, and the divine promises to provide everything you need.”
“We are never truly alone even when we choose to isolate ourselves: Krishna makes it clear that yoga needs to be learned and can be taught but that the divine that creates our opportunities never forsakes us. We are always connected and have always been connected. Yoga creates the power to experience that connection fully, deeply, richly, and with all the complexity that human embodiment promises.”
“We must learn to listen and focus our attentions on what is essential.”
“Thus the body becomes the place where paradoxical experiences meet, such as passion and disinterest, anger and patience.”
“We must look for life’s meanings wherever we find ourselves and whenever such opportunities arise. We will have to focus our attentions in the midst of whatever calamity or chaos (or, for that matter, joy) presents itself to our immediate experience. We must be willing to enter the challenges of intimacy, however importunate, if we are to have a conversation that goes to the heart of matters.”
“Ritual is a way of recognizing our situation, telling a story about our lives, and coming to clearer moments of realization. Ritual invites us to evolve our awareness about seemingly ordinary acts and so we see deeper truths within them. Krishna and Arjuna are about to embark upon the ritual of battle, for this cruel confrontation is not without its own protocol and implicit rules.”
“Yoga is ubiquitous, inevitable, and all embracing, for it describes every possible kind of meaningful relationship and engagement. The question is never whether we are practicing yoga but rather are we practicing yoga well.”
“None of us believe that everything is as good as everything else or we should actually tolerate or endorse every choice or behavior.”
“You are every character in the story – all of them are some feature of yourself.”
As a side note, Dr. Brooks also recently published a new book in addition to the one quoted above: The Bhagavadgita in Translation with Introduction: Student Edition (Publications of the Srividyalaya Institute) – in case you’re interested.