Toward a Discourse on Peace and Wisdom

High Tide, From Sougwen’s Etude Op.2, an ongoing series of meditations on form and memory. In the artist’s words: “The Études’ deliberately minimal approach alludes to an abstract narrative of loss and revival.”

The man of yoga who is able to overcome, here on earth, the turmoil of desire and anger- that man is truly happy.

I’m currently in preparation for a month-long yoga teacher training which will take place in September in Montreal.  As pre-work, incoming students have been assigned a comprehensive list of readings to finish prior to the first day of instruction.  Yesterday, over a cup of very very strong coffee, I dedicated myself to 2 hours with The Bhagavad Gita.

In the following excerpt, Krishna expounds on a topic I’ve previously explored in the context of habit and consumption– the alienation of the self through material accumulation– and forms an argument for the causal implication of ‘sense objects’ in impeding spiritual transcendence.  Piecing together Krishna’s advice, I understand the argument as follows:

When the mind constantly runs after the wandering senses, it drives away wisdom, like the wind blowing a ship off course.
[...]
But the man who is self controlled, who meets the objects of the senses with neither craving or aversion, will attain serenity at last.
[...]
Abandoning all desires, acting without craving, free from all thoughts of “I” and “mine,”  that man finds utter peace.
[...]
Nothing in the world can purify as powerfully as wisdom; practiced in yoga you will find this wisdom within yourself. Continue reading

A Glimpse at ‘The Future of Food’

While sifting through portfolios today I came across French Design studio Zim & Zou’s cover art for the 104th issue of Icon Magazine.  Inspired by 3D Food Printer technology, perhaps the very model described in this CNN Money article, the artists’ take on ‘The Future of Food’ perfectly equates the imagined nutritional value of the content with its form.

Continue reading

Reveille

Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven fabric of pure prediction fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up. -Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street and Other Writings, 1978

Good morning “Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head!”

I usually attend yoga every morning at 6:00am.  There’s a cool stillness in the early morning air.  And in this frenetic city of Los Angeles, I relish my silent block-and-a-half walk down the road to Moksha.  The streets are completely deserted.  Overhead, the many air conditioners perched on window ledges in 3rd and 4th story apartments hum softly.  On the corner, Lenin contemplates being balanced upon.  I figure myself a lonely sojourner, making my pilgrimage to the temple as a singular offering to the new day.

By the time I emerge from class at 7:30, La Brea is brimming with traffic.  Greeted by the honking horns of aggressive early morning commuters, I’m still wrapped in peace from savasana and blissfully unaware of what transpires on the walk back home. Continue reading

All That Glitters: A Meditation on the Consequences of Consumption

Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate. -Victor Lebrow, Economist 1955, as quoted by Legosi

16-foot second hand clothing installation in Hong Kong’s Central Star Ferry Pier represents 7.5 tons of textiles or 3% of the 253 tons of clothing Hong Kong throws away each day. Created as part Hong Kong’s 2011 exhibit Redress, aimed at shedding light on the consequences of the 60% increase in clothing sales over the past decade.

Recently, I’ve become increasingly aware of my spending habits as well as the spending habits of those around me.  I’m more aware than I was, say, before I left full-time employment.  Purchases mean a lot more to me now and so do my decisions about how I invest my money.

Today I read a four part series on EcoSalon about the psychology of marketing in the fashion industry. The author, who goes by the pseudonym Louise Legosi, offers a sweeping review of the sociological, ecological, and economic implications of increased consumerism world-wide.  She argues that calculated marketing strategies aimed at creating demand for high-end luxury goods have encouraged the kind of conspicuous consumption that fuels unsustainable manufacturing practices.  Legosi suggests consumer spending is largely motivated by the urge to adopt the trappings associated with the desired object while simultaneously subverting unwanted personal attributes.  Legosi and I are in agreement that in all of this, the central question begging to be asked is: “What are we hiding?” Continue reading

Housekeeping

Zeitguised’s Sample Sample, nanoscopic materials inspired by images of fabric materials.

Listening to the classic Ellington/Coltrane track ‘In a Sentimental Mood,’ I’m gearing up for a particularly productive day.  I woke up this morning incensed by the mess in my house.  I’ve found that cleaning is just the thing to take my mind off Alex’s absence (flown to Korea without me).  It’s meditative in a way and it frees up my headspace for those kinds of transcendental journeys that one only achieves while elbow deep in a sink full of dishes.

WAD 53, The Cocktail Issue, Art Direction by Le Creative Sweatshop

Thoughts of space and intergalactic travel drift through my consciousness.  I’m reminded of two artists whose work I viewed earlier in the week.  Their strange, other-worldly images have commandeered my imagination and we are communicating now on a subatomic level.

“Hot yoga?” I mumble to the man who, even now, is becoming one with a block of water.  “I am Sisyphus,” he replies.  His is a terrific suspension, it makes me uncomfortable to think of it.

Drifting on, through the cosmos I am Zeitguised.  It’s all neons in plaids and navajo and I want so badly for it to be real.  How satisfying it would be to run my fingers over those microscopic grooves; or, perhaps if writ large as a landscape, to lose myself amongst the ridges.  It looks tangible enough but alas, I am merely lost in the figment of another artist’s imagination.

My fingers find the familiar grooves of the handle of a spoon but my mind is still orbiting somewhere in a galaxy far, far away.

It’s Still True

Our favorite haunt

Sitting in bed overlooking 6th from the fourth floor of my apartment building I’m determined to begin the Proustian exercise of recherch(ing) temps perdu (sans pneumonia and, of course, the cork lining).  It has been almost two months since I returned from Korea and yet the memory of it still looms very large in my mind.  Perhaps it’s the extra five pounds which I managed to gain (let’s be honest aggressively pursued, damn ramen) or the fact that Korean fashion has penetrated my wardrobe to such an extent that even now as I write these words I’m wearing my black nylon drop crotch pants, lovingly extended to me as part of my racing kit for the Korean marathon I declined to run (inclement weather conditions, read: negative 7 degrees centigrade).  And now that The Piz is back in his proper place, strong-arming my thigh with all four legs and sleeping soundly, it seems as good a time as any to begin sorting through the dizzying melee that was Korea. Continue reading