Functional Anatomy Exam on Monday, but I am in this shot with Leslie Kaminoff
Nirāčārya: Jack of All Trades and Master of None
No one can claim mastery of anything, because absolute mastery is a misrepresentation. An individual can only, within reason, demonstrate competence within a role-based scenario.
I base this essay about being nirāčārya on my actual challenges as a creative designer, and my impetus for transition (sandhyā) from one role to another, in a troubling and uncertain economic climate. I claim the non-glamorous title of being nirāčārya – a Jack of All Trades and a Master of None. I am a generalist who derives innovation from dispassion (vairāgya) from modality. In my experience, being nirāčārya involves a dynamic and pragmatic quality of, typically haptic, engagement, which I define as mindfulness (a.k.a. flow).
Flow = Mindfulness
Mindfulness is not meditation, although it can be an object of meditation, e.g. mindfulness meditation.
The practice of mindfulness can be a means (upāya) and an end (upeya) in itself.
The term “flow” is being used in creative circles to mean mindfulness, which is the experience of being in the zone where your creative juices flow, unabated.
Massage therapy, which I am currently studying and practicing, involves the flow of partner communication between therapist and client.
Mindfulness supports the capacity to learn and adapt to challenge.
The value of higher aspiration is an inseparable part of being human. It is both a blessing and a curse. Without it, there is no creative spark for progression. However, the higher your aspiration, the bigger the mousetrap (or risk) you set yourself. Whatever you want to do in life, by all means, start the initiative, and grow and change with your business, but please do not chase an idealized version of yourself, by falling into a huge debt that you cannot afford to pay, because that idealized version of yourself is going to change, as the world never stays the same.
Should you be spending your life as a modern slave, to service a debt for a previous goal that is no longer within your sight in the here and now?
Should you keep investing in manufactured yous, one after another, with all of the bells and whistles for “future-proofing”, or be satisfied with the one you already own?
Should you sell one of your kidneys, for example, to purchase the new you that now comes in gold? What will you do, when the platinum model of you comes out next year? Yes, you.
I realized that I am seriously weird. I also realized that I cannot change the fundamental nature of who I am as a real obstinate person. What I need to do, though, is change the supporting environment around me.
There are certain things in life that the dissenting voices of society tell us particularly not to do, just because those things do not create income, or serve a function in a corporate economy or oligopoly. I shall not be swayed by such voices that contrive, as it were, “to put me in my place”. The problem is that I just don’t fit into mediocrity, or any pigeon hole, for that matter, of the social ruling class. I simply prefer to be authentic. It is those special things in life that I deliberately choose to do, that define me.
I prefer to divulge Jñāna Yoga in its original Sanskritam, because that is what I do.
The Unicorn Paradigm of Siddhi (Accomplishment)
The concept of entitlement (also known as the unicorn paradigm of siddhi) is as ingrained in society and culture as its corruption. It forms the basis of division and recruitment of labour, and the educational system. It artificially elevates the importance of prestige and privilege, and inevitably creates a socio-economic underclass.
The concept of entitlement and the motivation myth work together in lulling and deceiving the mind into a false perception of stability where none exists. Note that the stable structure of a pyramid frames Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
In the discourse of Jñāna Yoga, self-actualization (or vijñāna) exists on a living continuum. We must practice mindfulness to challenge the bullshit in education.
I emphasize that it is utterly stupid and conceivably immoral to deny any, if not all, of the values described by Maslow. The great deceit of the motivation myth is, to convince people that they lack some of the values that they cannot live without, and to claim that these will be withheld, unless people actually care enough to earn them. The challenge with androcentric indoctrination is the onus it places on each person to apply his or her own self-suppression (or self-censorship according to Christopher Hitchens) based on the authority of the institution. Even worse, the delusion of the unicorn paradigm of siddhi is compounded by motivational imagery.
A hamster does not insist on claiming higher aspirations of mind. It does not mind being deceived or misinformed. It simply does not give a fuck about its running deficit, or that it may, or may not, look good in its next performance review.
If you feel insecure about yourself, then becoming a debt slave in the misguided hope of attaining recognition of status and privileged education will not make you any less insecure about yourself. Entitlement does not necessarily match with esteem.
You can prevent yourself from investing any more of your valuable time and energy in the dualism of the motivation myth and the unicorn paradigm of siddhi that are both equally contrived to keep you playing with the same hamster wheel.
The Pink Cow Paradigm of Siddhi (Accomplishment)
Seth Godin’s “pink cow” articulation of tribal marketing resonates with me. The “pink cow” represents the deliberate scarcity of knowledgeable resource in a sea of inconsistent information.
The intended consistency of knowledge that people seek, is known as “world view” (darśana), which hosts the spiritual space for uninterrupted attention (vṛtti-nirodhaḥ). According to Seth Godin, as world views become more extreme outliers from the norm, groups of people form distinct tribal units. People who share common, characteristic tribal interests naturally create and develop interactive connections enabled by technology. Do not confuse tribes with cults. Tribes do not involve top-to-bottom leadership or hierarchy. Participation in tribal communities represents a grassroots (bottom-up) paradigm. Whereas a unicorn (top-to-bottom) paradigm requires decisions to be managed by a committee and a mantle, or title, to be given, the tribal (grassroots) paradigm allows any individual to take the mantle. Tribal relationships serve to empower the individual, whereas the purpose of a committee is to suppress, or regulate, free expression, in one way or another.
World View and Value Proposition
I assume the following world view, that over-entitlement undermines the quality of a profession, or industry asset, by removing scarcity of services, as more competitors crowd the same industry to provide the same services. Mediocrity is characterized by an inability to instigate change out of fear of rejection or criticism.
We live in a market society comprised of many over-entitled professionals, many of whom offer advice without having direct intimate application of knowledge relative to their selves. In a society where there are many competing world views, any advice pertaining to an experience that falls outside of the boundary of its world view, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Moreover, the world view of a market society conflates the concept of academic discipline with industry and profession, and creates a social stigma of those who choose to learn and practice an academic discipline without the entitlement by a professional institution. For example, neurophysiology is an academic discipline, and a neurophysiologist is a practitioner of neurophysiology. By definition, the term does not mean a professional regulatory body or entitlement, unless the bias favours the world view of a market society.
If you take an opposing world view, then you should not be reading further, because you would only contribute a voice of dissension. My exclusive information is not intended for everyone, but for the creative individual who is seeking to validate, and participate in, a compatible world view. The searchability of my website is the means by which my personal information can be shared, and collaborated, with participants in a tribal community (saṃgha) in tune with a movement of creative innovation and being deliberately authentic.
My value proposition is that I have suffered various chronic pains for the past four years and, during that time, I have learned to deal with the pains and to rehabilitate weakened muscles. My challenges included: injured knee ligament, tight iliotibial band, destabilized piriformis, injured rotator cuff, levator scapula pain, scapula pain (depressed shoulder), weakened rhomboids, tight upper trapezius muscle, scoliosis, inflammation in neck and jaw, Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), and nerve pain. I have a direct intimate knowledge of chronic pain, and I will continue my training of natural therapy. I developed my intuitive training method based on my personal experience of healing, through trial and error.
Your perception of life must change with life-changing events, such as ageing. The market society that raises expectations to an unreasonable level will not help you achieve the best in your life, and you must help yourself by demanding the impetus for change from within yourself. You need to take the helm and choose to matter in the lives of other people like yourself. The scarcity of making relevant social connections demonstrate the real value of being deliberately authentic.
Do you want to matter, my friends? Start by owning the weird you.
“Parampara” refers to both the source and the stream of a “living tradition” of knowledge (jñāna), in the sense that “traditional Yoga” is not merely a matter of emulating community-shared rituals, forms and styles. On the contrary, the authentic pedagogy of the parampara involves cultivating the innate, intuitive learning capacity to practice, evaluate, adapt, own, improve, and disseminate, changeable, linguistic knowledge that lives with the person, throughout her whole lifetime. Every student in the tradition of Krishnamacharya represents the living bearer of the soul, or jīvātma, of the teachings for future generations. “Living” means experiencing conditions that will change over time, therefore the essence of parampara is to be the change that you want to see in your world.
The parampara, which is the legacy of tradition, is based on, and transmitted by, language, the cultural tool of communication that encapsulates and reinforces communal ideologies and sociocultural identity. The following diagram (Husu 1995) highlights the key objectives in the pedagogical framework.
Common language usage is also the means by which human beings rapidly learn to participate in, and contribute to, changing trends and technologies, as well as the perceptual separation among people, in its various forms, e.g. the loss of socio-ethical dignity, as ecology devolves beneath the pressures of economic idealism.
“The cultural task, it seems to me, is preserving what is divine, what is inspirational, transcendent about the human achievement, while rather guarding it from supernatural and superstitious claims. I think that’s a cultural achievement that one can spend a life working on.” – Christopher Hitchens (Divine Impulses, 2010)
Parampara and epigenetic legacy
Habit patterns or tendencies indicate the ingrained impressions (saṃskāra) that support the function of memory (smṛti), defined as the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience. A person clings to a notion of identity through a collection of memories.
Every organism has the genome that remembers a complete set of genetic information to encode and control the proteins that allow the organism to create differentiated cells and to regulate cell function. No organism is completely alike, because of genetic differentiation.
According to a new study in the science of epigenetics, researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that unhealthy lifestyle choices can affect the biological legacy of future offspring.
Parampara and the human condition
Suffering is an intrinsic part of the human condition.
Afflictions (kleśaḥ) represent the self-destructive psychological responses to suffering, e.g. self-loath (e.g. dysmorphophobia). Taking cherish-or-perish as the dichotomy that determines survival of the fittest in a changing environment, any self-destructive affliction is bound to perish, whereas harmonious relationships thrive above all.
The parampara suggests that self-discipline (temperament) through the practice of austerities is the true measure of strength and character in the individual. Moral and virtue are to be nurtured, as they are not part of nature. The loss of traditional values means that the philosophy of morals and virtues will disappear, and the latent afflictions, such as cultural obsessions with over-indulgence or over-consumption, will manifest.
There is a socio-ethical need to cherish dignity and responsibility in a human being compared to inanimate objects, machines and animals that can possess no knowledge of moral or virtue. Who are you, but a bearer of traditional values? Do you deserve to be cherished?
The ability to convey and interpret meanings taken with moral and value judgment in any creative context is what makes human being human.
In the traditional system of Āyurveda, the sapta dhātu (seven support) model describes the structural constituents of the body.
|☉||Sun (Sūrya)||Hot||Pungent||Bone Tissue (Asthi)||Pineal|
|☾||Moon (Čandra)||Cold||Salty||Blood (Rakta)||Thymus|
|♂||Mars (Maṅgala)||Light||Bitter||Marrow (Majjā)||Adrenals (& Pancreas)|
|☿||Mercury (Budha)||Hetero-geneous||Savoury||Lymph Tissue (Rasa)||Pituitary|
|♄||Jupiter (Bṛhaspati)||Heavy||Sweet||Adipose Tissue (Meda)||Gonads|
|♀||Venus (Śukra)||Oily||Sour||Reproductive Tissue||Thyroid|
|♄||Saturn (Śani)||Dry||Astringent||Muscle (Māṃsa)||Prostate/Cervix|
|Digestive System (Anna-vāha)|
|Respiratory System (Prāṇa-vāha)|
|Lymphatic System (Rasa-vāha)|
|Haematopoietic System (Rakta-vāha)|
|Muscular System (Māṃsa-vāha)|
|Adipose System (Medo-vāha)|
|Skeletal System (Asthi-vāha)|
|Nervous System (Majjā-vāha)|
|Reproductive System (Śukra-vāha/Artava-vāha)|
|Excretory System (Purīṣa-vāha)|
|Urinary System (Mūtra-vāha)|
|Sweat System (Sveda-vāha)|
|Lactation System (Stanya-vāha)|
My article highlights the difference between the tradition of Krishnamacharya and the teaching style of his son TKV Desikachar.
Tradition of Krishnamacharya
The multi-disciplinary practices in the tradition of Krishnamacharya as transmitted by his son TKV Desikachar comprise of posture (āsana), breathing (prāṇāyāma), meditation (dhyāna), and Vedic chanting.
Krishnamacharya’s popular signature style is Vinyāsa Krama, the vigorous and dynamic sequencing of postures with breath, incorporating the control over muscular contractions, bandha, which support the optimal movement of energies, or vitality.
The key to Yoga meditation in the tradition of Krishnamacharya is contained in the āsana of mahamudrā (the great seal), and not in padmāsana (lotus pose) as the mainstream market is misled to believe. Mahamudrā is the authentic seat of meditation because it demands the skilful, directed energies in the holding of āsana and bandha, whereas any flexible person with no Yoga training can take padmāsana.
Teaching Style of TKV Desikachar
The teaching style of TKV Desikachar is the only secular humanist style of Yoga that provides the tools to destabilise indoctrination. Other traditional schools of Yoga conform to orthodox theism such as nondualism (Advaita) or dualism (Dvaita), whereas popular mainstream fitness Yoga instructors conform to the exercise- or posture-oriented mindset of the fitness lifestyle market, which favours physical body image, motivation and prescriptive instruction (e.g. Yoga Boot Camp). In contrast, the teaching style of TKV Desikachar adopts the path of gnosis (jñāna) to liberate the mind from the trappings of conformist ideologies and from becoming a follower or a consumer.
Conformist ideologies constrain possibilities and manufacture an achievement-oriented culture that breeds indifference to individuality. Innovative and scientific in methodology, the teaching style of TKV Desikachar emphasises the need for individualised (one on one) consultation to assess the relevance and suitability of any type of practice.
The method of absorbing gnosis (jñāna) follows the repeating cycle of three tiers:
- Know the subject matter
- Investigate the subject matter thoroughly and critically
- Find the relevance in the subject matter and relate it to your own life
At the heart of “anti-theism”, or secular humanism, is the belief that morals and values must be intrinsic to the transcendental spirit. This belief underpins Friedrich Nietzsche’s übermensch suggestion that human beings have the innate capability to overcome the deficiencies of herd mentality.