Articles

It is something like hummus

People who love to eat are always the best people.
Julia Childs

You never know where insight will find you!

I was standing in front of the salad bar at the local grocery store when a conversation pulled me out of my food-induced hypnosis. The two men, most likely from Texas (based on the twang in their voice and cowboy boots), were discussing the contents of a small round container. They held the container in a way that I could best describe as how a caveman would have held the very first flame. As I listened in, it turned out that what they were holding was hummus. I laughed to myself because in Southern California, hummus is about as common as ketchup or mustard. To these men, it could not have been more alien.

 

Shortly after their discussion began, a couple approached them. They had been summoned to explicate the meaning of this far out spread. They kindly described to the gentleman what hummus is, how it was made and gave some very curious ways of using it — hummus connoisseurs indeed. I thought they did a pretty good job of describing it and to be perfectly honest, I am not quite sure what I would have said myself. But the two men from Texas still looked quite distraught.

 

Eventually the couple advised it would be best to, ‘just try it.

 

What struck me is how similar this conversation is to trying to describe yoga. You can attempt it, but you cannot get very far. You can tell someone how we fold forward to stretch the back and bend back to stretch the front. We walk to the top of the mat and other times we jump there. Some practices we twist and at other times we just lie there and do nothing. But this as we know, is not actually yoga. It is an attempt to put words to an experience. As we know the yoga practice can only be understood through doing it. There is no other way of understanding. Much like in life, experience is the only real teacher.

 

A natural human dilemma

There is an interesting human dilemma that takes place in the brain. It is the battle between the upper brain and lower brain. The upper brain wants to know and the lower brain wants to feel. When a disconnect exists between the two, we become stuck. We lose trust, confidence and the courage in ourselves to know what we truly want. Integration is key to bridging that gap. We must integrate our feeling with what we know and experience both as presently as possible. We must have an understanding of what hummus is and then taste it for ourselves. This is the only way.

In a sense, the practice of yoga is somewhat like hummus.

 

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