Culturally Specific Spiritual Work?

So, first, there is this post that seems to be making the rounds, especially the specifics of “David’s” experience. The there is having David Gordon White’s bits about sinister yogis going through my head (he makes the point in miniature in his book on Patanjali). There is the recent post over at enfolding.org about therapy and mindfulness. The story of David, the experiences with mindfulness as part of disruptive reform program, and the history of revolutionary yogis, opens onto a broader discussion of adopting practices from other cultures. There is a common narrative about these that I think we ought to undercut.

That narrative kicks up around the occult scenes in the face of stories like that of David. There is more than a little ethnic Romanticism at the foundations of  self-identified ‘Western’ occultism (both among ‘magical’ and ‘religious’ strands). When confronted by these stories about the dangers of spiritual work, it manifests as otherwise sensible people muttering gnomic warnings or patting themselves on the back about how careful they are engaging with ‘foreign’ or ‘exotic’ cultural practices to which ‘Westerners’ aren’t well-suited.

Continue reading “Culturally Specific Spiritual Work?”

Esalen, California, and Speed

No, not that kind of speed. This isn’t a post about Burroughs. I’m thinking about a different sort of speed, the sort that plays a role in the thinking of Dumezil, of Deleuze and Guattari. The speed of thought, of the spirits that undergird them, of the match and mismatch of the two. Tempo, dancing, find your partner.

More than a little bit of this is about me, about how I found my tempo, but seeing that with a little more of the historical horizon in which that became possible. So, this is a bit of a messy hybrid of reading notebook and autobiography. Continue reading “Esalen, California, and Speed”