Light on Life by BKS Iyengar – Chapter 5: Wisdom – The Intellectual Body – Part 2

Selected extracts from the second half of the fifth chapter:

This is not yoga by the body for the body, but yoga by the body for the mind, for the intelligence.

The intelligence we are now developing depends upon emotional and moral maturity, the ability to value truth and respect ethical conduct, the capacity to feel love in its more universal sense as compassion.

The role of awareness is to fill the gaps that inevitably exist between the physical and organic sheaths of our bodies when we practice yoga.

The power we generate through yoga practice must become a coherent and indissoluble whole.

Energy and awareness act as friends. Where one goes, the other follows. It is by the will of awareness to penetrate that intelligence, is able to move into and occupy the darkest inner recesses of our being.

We say intelligence has insight. We should complement that by saying that soul has ‘outsight';  it is a beacon shining out.

Considerable achievements also bring in their wake considerable dangers. An obvious one is pride–not satisfaction in a job well done, but a sense of superiority and difference, of distinction and eminence.

Yoga is an interior penetration leading to integration of being, senses, breath, mind, intelligence, consciousness, and Self. It is definitely an inward journey, evolution through involution, towards the Soul, which in turn desires to emerge and embrace you in its glory.

The pursuit of pleasure through appearances, which I connect here to superficiality of intent, is quite simply the wrong way to go about things. To pursue pleasure is to pursue pain in equal measure. When appearance is more important to us than content we can be sure we have taken the wrong turning.

High intelligence brings the gift of power, and we all know that power corrupts. When intelligence is corrupted it brings woe upon ourselves and upon the world.

If we live outwardly virtuous lives, it is easy to convince ourselves that there is nothing else wrong with us. Often this is the besetting sin of the puritan or religious fanatic. We often both suppress the truth and suggest the false. Ego aids and abets all flaws of intelligence.

Conscience hurts, it causes us pain. We say we are pricked by conscience. … That is because it lies of the paradox of what it means to be a spiritual being living in a physical body in a material world.

Paying attention in yogic terms is not concentration. True concentration is an unbroken thread of awareness.

In a perfect asana, performed meditatively and with a sustained current of concentration, the self assumes its perfect form, its integrity being beyond reproach. This is asana performed at the sattvic level, where luminosity infuses the whole pose.

I am practising asana but at a level where the quality is meditative. The totality of being, from core to skin, is experienced. Mind is unruffled, intelligence is awake in heart rather than in head, self is quiescent, and conscious life is in every cell of the body. That is what I mean when I say asana opens up the whole spectrum of yoga’s possibilities.

I have often said that yoga is meditation,  and meditation is yoga. Meditation is the stilling of the movements of consciousness. It is bringing the turbulent sea to a state of flat calm. This calm is not torpid or inert. It is a deep tranquillity, pregnant with all the potential of creation.

The yogi is journeying from the world of things and events, which are so joyful, painful, baffling, and unending, back to the point of stillness before the waves were ruffled.

Do not confuse aloneness with loneliness. Loneliness is separation from the cosmos. Aloneness is to become the common denominator of the cosmic all.

Is this the end? Are we there yet? No. There remains the ego, the self, the known self, the impersonator of the soul. He is the last actor to leave the stage. He lingers even for the very final handclap of applause. What forces him off the stage? Silence and retention of the breath.

Just as the cessation of the movement of thought brings purity to intelligence, so a motiveless retention effaces ego. What the practitioner eventually experiences is not that at some point he suspends the breath. He is no longer the subject, the agent. The breath breathes him. What this means is that at the highest level of meditation the cosmos breathes you.

The unpremeditated retention of breath after exhalation opens the gap in the curtain of time. No past, no future, no sense of passing present. Only presence.

The end of duality that comes from meditation is the end of separation and the end of all conflict. The yogi stands one and alone.

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar – Chapter 5: Wisdom – The Intellectual Body – Part 1

Selected extracts from the first half of the fifth chapter:

Our individual intelligence, though an essential rudder to guide us, is merely a puny offshoot of cosmic intelligence, which is the organising system of the universe. This intelligence is everywhere and like air we constantly bathe in it and imbibe it.

Intelligence is the operating system of cosmic awareness.

You can force a piano up three flights of stairs but you cannot force the febrile human mind to be still. All you can do is train it to be vigilant toward all that disturbs its equilibrium.

Memory for past, imagination for future. Squashed between the two,  we lose the ability to use direct perception on what really is–i.e. now, the present.

‘If it feels good, do it’  is not a maxim to be trusted in the long run. All philosophies recognise that a pleasure seeker will end up as a pain finder. The ancient Greeks said that moderation was the greatest virtue.

When awareness is linked to intelligence we are able to see with absolute honesty. When brain and body are moving in harmony there is integrity.

A cleansed memory is one that does not contain undigested emotions from the unconscious but that deals with feelings in the present as they arise.

If one feels heavy and dull after sleep then that sleep has been tamasic. Disturbed, agitated sleep is rajasic.  Sleep that brings lightness, brightness, and freshness is sattvic.

Peaceful deep sleep, experienced while alert and awake, is samadhi. When the mind is controlled and still, what remains is the soul.  The absence of ego in the state of sleep is akin to samadhi,  but it is dull and without awareness. Samadhi  is the  egolessness of sleep combined with the vibrancy of intelligence.

If we feed our minds on violent images, thoughts, and words, our unconscious will regurgitate them in disturbed dreams. Just as right imagination opens the creative mind, right sleep exhilarates the mind and brings alertness.

Often as students do savasana  or attempt meditation they drift into an agreeable torpor, as if they were swaddled in cotton wool. This is not the prelude to samadhi but to sleep.

Good sleep makes consciousness brilliant. Poor sleep leaves it tarnished.

We say,  “If only I’d known then what I know now.” But what we know now does not seem to stop this from making more mistakes. The yogic blueprint says that right knowledge and erroneous knowledge are two modifications, or states, of consciousness. By the practice of yoga we can lessen and eradicate misperception and wrong knowledge and again accurate perception and right knowledge.

An opinion is yesterday’s right or wrong knowledge warmed up and re-served  for today’s situation. So opinions are rooted in the past and our examination of memory has shown us that the past can be a minefield.

When what is wrong is discarded what is left must be correct. As intelligence expands in consciousness then ego and mind contract to their proper proportions. They no longer rule the roost but serve intelligence.

We are seeking to cultivate wisdom, to transform mental dexterity or cleverness, which all people possess in some degree, into the penetrating clear light of wisdom.

Mike D and Ad-Rock on MCA

Or I should say Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz on Adam Yauch…

Mike D:

“He had us fooled in the most beautiful way,” Michael Diamond said of Adam Yauch, his friend and fellow Beastie Boy for more than 30 years, describing the latter’s “incredible optimism” during his three-year battle with cancer. “I believed, up to last week, that Adam was somehow coming back,” Diamond confessed, in a long, frank interview after Yauch’s death on May 4th. “But I wouldn’t trade that optimism for anything,” he added quickly, sitting in the kitchen of his Brooklyn home, only six blocks from the house where Yauch grew up. “Because  the other option is no fun.”

Did Yauch always have a fighter’s spirit?
He had this tenacity and faith before he discovered Buddhism. His mom said that was already there. No matter how straight-up nuts an idea was, he had the ability to follow through on things he believed in. Like the cover of Paul’s Boutique: “A 360-degree photo? You can’t have a camera spin around.” He researched it and found one. It was an innate thing for him.

As a rapper, Yauch had a unique, raspy baritone. He sounded more like a soul singer.
Even when we were doing our first hip-hop records, when we were 19 and 20, he sounded like a gruff 40-year-old. He was the Bobby Womack of rap.

Yauch was a gifted MC. It was his flow on things, rather than specific lyrics, that first blew Adam [Horovitz] and I away. Early on, we were in the studio, amazed by how Yauch made it seem so effortless. Horovitz and I were maybe a little jealous. And Rick [Rubin] said to me, “No, this is good. This is where Yauch is at. You sound like you’re working hard. You’re the working rapper. [Laughs] I’m still not sure what to take away from that.

What were your first impressions of Yauch when you met as teenagers?
Adam taught me the ropes – how to make my own [punk-band] badges, how to fake [hand] stamps to get into shows. And after he, [original Beastie Boys guitarist] John Barry and I saw Black Flag at the Peppermint Lounge, Yauch said, “We’re starting a band, and you two guys are in it.” It was the same energy that enabled him to start his film company, Oscilloscope – the ability to will something to happen.

What’s an example of that on Licensed to Ill?
We were playing around with this 808 drum machine. We had this beat, and Yauch said, “I’d like to hear what it would sound like backwards.” Run from Run-D.M.C. was there, and he was like, “Man, this is crazy.” But Yauch recorded this beat, bounced it to another tape, flipped it around – this is pre-digital sampling – and bounced it back to the multi-track tape. The reversed beat basically became “Paul Revere.” Yauch saw this thing we couldn’t see – and he killed it.

He talked about experimenting with acid during the time of Paul’s Boutique.
Yauch was starting this inward mind journey. We were layering a lot of samples on top of each other, and Yauch was definitely pushing that. The acid experience gave him the ability to see, “Wow, this is great – press ‘play’ on everything at the same time.” Yauch was great at lacking fear.

Did his personality change after he became a Buddhist?
He abandoned the band for months in the winter to go snowboarding, on this very serious level. Then it wasn’t snowboarding. He would disappear for two months of teaching by his Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. He gradually incorporated that into the music. He was the first to realize we had this soapbox, and we needed to do something with it.

But he was never dogmatic about it. He’d say, “You should see these monks. They love playing practical jokes on each other.” When we were smashing cars in the “Sabotage” video, it was the same thing. We just did it with mustaches and wigs.

How much music did you make at your final recording session with him last fall?
Adam instigated it. It could only come from him, in terms of where he was at with treatment. It was stuff we had written or demo-ed, and there were new ideas. He wasn’t sure he was able to do vocals. But after a bit, we ended up doing them. And he was fine. It was a way for him to say, “Yeah, I’m doing it.”

Can you imagine making music without him?
I can see making music. I don’t know about a band format. But Yauch would genuinely want us to try whatever crazy thing we wanted but never got around to.

Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/mike-diamond-on-the-beastie-boys-last-recordings-with-adam-yauch-20120523#ixzz1viUeCRVY

Ad-Rock:

“I’m totally numb,” Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys said bluntly, in his only interview following the death on May 4th of his bandmate Adam Yauch. Sitting in the New York office of the Beasties’ publicist, only 10 days after Yauch’s passing, Horovitz fondly recalled their lifetime together in punk, hip-hop and hijinks. He also struggled to describe his feelings after his friend’s death and admitted that healing was slow in coming. “My wife is like, ‘I want to make sure you’re getting it out.’ But then I’m walking the dog and I’ll start crying on the street.” Horovitz shook his head wearily. “It’s pretty fucking crazy.”

Yauch was the oldest of the Beastie Boys. Was he a leader in the early days?
Yauch was in charge. He was smarter, more organized. In a group of friends, you all come up with stupid shit to do. But you never do it. With Yauch, it got done. He had that extra drive to see things through. We each had our roles. One of his was the make-it-happen person.

I’d be like, “We should take these pictures where we’re dressed as undercover cops. That would be funny.” But Adam was really into movies. So we made a whole video of that ["Sabotage"]. It wasn’t just a nice picture for us to have.

What was Yauch’s musical role in the Beastie Boys?
He was a really good bass player. He loved Daryl [Jennifer] of the Bad Brains. And he could sound like that. When we met [producer-musician] Mark Nishita, he and Adam would talk all this musical shit: “You should go up a fifth here.” I’d be like, “Tell me where to put my fingers, and I’ll play that for four minutes.”

Adam was the Techno Wiz – that’s what me, Mike and Rick [Rubin] called him. I went to his apartment in Brooklyn once. He had a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and he had strung the tape all over the place – through the kitchen, around chairs. He was cutting up this Led Zeppelin beat, playing it over and over. I was like, “How did you figure that out?” He said, “I heard Sly Stone did that.”

How did you and Mike write with Yauch? Who did what?
When the shit hit the fan, after Licensed to Ill, we started having arguments: “I wrote 37 percent of this song.” “These 16 lines are mine.” We decided none of that mattered. From that day on, everything was split three ways. Whatever it was, whoever did what, we all got the credit. Except we had veto power. If you really hated something, you could be, “That can’t happen.”

Did you ever veto a Yauch idea?
He wanted the cover of Ill Communication to be this tree painting. It’s actually on the inside [of the CD booklet]. I said, “Anything is better than that tree.” He called veto on Mike and me when we did [2007's] The Mix-Up. He said, “It has to be instrumental.” We were like, “Let’s try some vocals.” “No, it has to be instrumental.”

Can you recall a killer song or verbal lick Yauch wrote that just knocked you out?
When we were in Los Angeles, doing Paul’s Boutique, he got this crazy apartment in Koreatown. And he made “A Year and a Day.” What happened to the three of us together and all that crap? But I heard that track, and it was some heavy shit. He rapped his ass off. Adam bought a jet pilot’s helmet, rigged it with a microphone and recorded the song wearing that helmet.

How did you deal with the change in his writing, after he became a Buddhist?
His lyrics became simple ideas about love and non-violence. It was a struggle for Adam to write those things. Basic feelings come off as very Hallmark. But we went through that change together. I wrote the lyrics for the song “Gratitude” [on Check Your Head], and Adam was like, “I really like that.” It made me happy and proud that I had made him happy.

What was your reaction when he told you he had cancer?
He said, “I’m gonna be okay.” He’s been right about most shit so far. So I believe him. You would get swept up in his excitement and positivity. We recorded a few months ago. It wasn’t any different from before. We spent more time making fart jokes and ordering food, which was true to form. That’s why it always took so long for us to put records out.

Did the comfort he took in Buddhism help you deal with his illness and passing?
I don’t believe Adam was afraid. Bummed out, yeah. But I can’t think when I ever saw him afraid. We got jumped in Brooklyn one time, so we’ve been afraid in that sense. But, man, he hadn’t been afraid in a long time. That gives me peace.
Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/beastie-boys-adam-horovitz-opens-up-about-adam-yauch-he-was-in-charge-20120523#ixzz1viV6cWAv

Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project – Update May 2012

Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project - Clearing the area by the caravan (228/365) Sep 2010Weatherboarding - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectRoof Tiles and Skylights - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectRoofing - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectRoof Tiling - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPulp Wall Insulation - Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project
Trustees and Visitors Tour - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectDragon Tie - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectInterior Corridor - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectInterior Woodwork - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectSwedish Triple Glazing - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilions 2 & 3 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project
Walkway roof - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectHeat exchanger (geothermal) - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectOak beam detail - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectCeiling detail - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectCommunal area, Pavilion 4 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectStudent sIngle bedroom - Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project
Pavilion 4 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectThe first students upstairs - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectUpstairs Railing - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectSkylight - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilion 5 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilion 6 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project

With the recent visit of International Trustees, I was able to enter the site for the first time since January. The roof tiles and weatherboards are being put in place and all the of insulation has been pumped in. Wet paper pulp for the walls. A change to the original design are several mezzanine platforms for spare beds and home workspace.

The Vyne, Basingstoke

The Vyne - EntranceThe Vyne - LobbyThe Vyne - InteriorThe Vyne - TapestryThe Vyne - InteriorThe Vyne - Bedroom
The Vyne - Four Poster BedThe Vyne - InteriorThe Vyne - HallThe Vyne - FireplaceThe Vyne - WindowThe Vyne - Statue Charles I
The Vyne - StatueThe Vyne - PaintingThe Vyne - StatueThe Vyne - Main StairsThe Vyne - Staircase HallThe Vyne - Staircase Hall
The Vyne - SketchesThe Vyne - StudyThe Vyne - WheelchairThe Vyne - Plant RoomThe Vyne - Plant Room HeatingThe Vyne - Statue

The Vyne, a set on Flickr.

Photos of the interior and exterior of The Vyne, a National Trust Property near Basingstoke in Hampshire. There are many statues inside, and some freaky paintings. It was a relief to get outside away from the oppressive panelled rooms and into the grounds and woodland. I did like the Staircase Hall and the surprisingly simple bedrooms

Weekend Walk 36 – Hamble to Southampton – Solent Way

The 5th stage of the Solent way, east to west. Around 6 miles, from the Warsash ferry at Hamble to the Hythe Ferry at Town Quay Southampton. The path leads from Hamble-le-Rice village, south to the common to pick up Southampton Water shoreline, then past Hamble oil terminal to Netley with its ruined Abbey and Victoria Country Park, then to Weston Shore, entering Southampton at Woolston, the aircraft and shipyards long gone, replaced with Centenary Quay. The across the huge expanse of 1977’s Itchen Bridge and through part of Southampton old town, with some walls and fortifications remaining.

The oil terminal at Hamble collects oil piped in from the field at Wareham in Dorset, 50 miles away, averaging 2-3 million gallons per day.

Much of Howard’s Way was filmed in Hamble. I quite like the theme tune:

I’ve walked this area in another video early on in my series of filmed hikes. More on Victoria Park here