Sunday, February 19, 2006

The I Maker

It is rare that I look forward to a magazine column but one that I enjoy very much is the Wisdom column by Sally Kempton in Yoga Journal.

The March column is called "Sophisticated Ego" and there is a line that made me laugh out loud today when I read it… “The ego, which loves any form of self-improvement, is especially eager to take on projects for getting rid of itself.”

“In Sanskrit, the word for ego is ahamkara, which means “the I maker.” Ego differentiates itself among the mass of sensations that come your way and tells you that a particular experience belongs to the energy bundle you call “me.”

She goes on to paraphrase her guru, Swami Muktananda by saying…

“A truly healthy ego, in his terms would be one that did its job of creating necessary boundaries and kept us functioning as individuals. But rather than seeing itself as bounded up in the personality, or identifying with its thoughts and opinions, this ego would know the real secret—that the “me” who calls itself Jane or Charlie is just the tip of the iceberg of something loving and free that is living as “me”.

I thought that last line remarkably poetic and was not at all surprised that later in the paragraph she mentions Walt Whitman.

In church today our responsive reading was a poem by Marge Piercy, two weeks ago it was a poem by Mary Oliver. I am always amazed at how we quote poets all the time and yet they are not valued in our culture unless they are “needed” to say something profound about things that matter to us…but that is a side track.

What I really wanted to talk about is the cool present from my sister I am sharing with my most marvelous great niece who is the only other person in my family that practices yoga. It is a book that comes with CD’s called The Language of Yoga Complete A to Y Guide to Asana names, Sanskrit Terms and Chants and it is by Nicolai Bachmkan. (Amazon Link to product info.) Even though it is geared towards the Astanga Yoga practictioner (which I am not) I still find it remarkably useful.

I read so much Buddhist and Yogic material and I know an amazing amount of words and phrases that I have no idea how to pronounce.

Another resource I use to help me learn how to pronounce Sanskrit words is the website for Yoga International which is the other yoga magazine I read when I have time.

Ah, time…something at a bit of a premium in my life these days she says wistfully…


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