Chapter 14 – The Forces of Evolution
Yoga Teacher – Saul David Raye
Once again, I’m behind with the blogging portion of this immersion by one day. Day 14 was yesterday, Sunday the 30th. And it couldn’t have been a better day.
It started off with quite a challenge. I was fiercely determined to make maha teacher Saul David Raye’s last official class at Exhale early so I could get a good spot. On my way, down my normal route along Washington Blvd, I tried to make my normal right turn on Abbot Kinney to get to Exhale. I was met with parking regulators blocking off the whole street northbound for the LA Triathlon. This was the case for all northbound traffic that was trying to cross Venice Blvd. You literally could not cross Venice Blvd anywhere except on Fairfax Ave or by going around and taking the freeway. I started to get a little upset that I was going to miss this special yoga class as there was no way for me to get to Exhale on time, at all. My choice, it seemed, was to simply give up and go home. Then it suddenly occurred to me to take on the role of an “Amazing Race” contestant and come up with a solution! I had a flash of wisdom; GET A BIKE AND RIDE!
So I did!
I parked my car at the end of Washington Blvd, paid way too much for parking, rented a bike on the Venice boardwalk and rode myself up to Exhale. And much to my delight I made in time to class with time to spare. I arrived a little freaked out and flustered and had to ask my friend Alyssa if I could lock my rented bike up with hers. It all worked out.
This isn’t a story of how clever I am (or is it?…lol) but it is a tale of how there are many solutions to a single problem. Missing Sauls class this particular day was not an option for me. Lots of my friends were meeting me there and it was very much needed so we could really show our gratitude for all the years of amazing teachings that Saul has given us.
This story is somewhat appropriate for Chapter 14 of the Gita because it deals with the many aspects of “the field” and the operation of actions as they take place inside of the three gunas.
Chapter 14 of the Gita dives a little deeper into “the field” (prakriti) that was explored in the previous chapter. It is explored here with it’s relationship to the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. All of our actions and thoughts reside in one of these three modes of energy. Many of the ancient Indian traditions strive towards a satvic life which is the highest of the three and maintains it’s balance in purity and light. Rajas, to me, is the most complicated because when taken too far it comes out in the form of anger, greed and hatred however, it is also needed because passion maintains a healthy place when needed for the healthy ego to flourish. I had an old 12 step friend who used to categorize some defects as “assets running amok.” This is one of them. In it’s natural state it’s healthy and vital but taken too far things fall out of balance.
Krishna states in Verse 11 “When sattva predominates, the light of wisdom shines through every gate of the body. When rajas predominates, a person runs about pursuing selfish and greedy ends.”
To me this is the balance between the healthy and necessary ego and the ego that is attached to false identification or maya. I’ve mentioned this too many times in these posts but understanding this subtle balance is very important when engaging in yoga. What is the intention of the practice?
Some of my friends were complaining to me that my posts have nothing to do with me or the yoga I’m doing and is just me riffing on the Gita. I disagree but I thought that I’d balance this post a little with a personal story. Love love.