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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Have Prakriti, Will Vrtti

It has come to my attention that the part of my mind that gives rise to the vocal tremor is pretty much no different from any other part of my mind.  It has a vrtti, like all the citta vrttis everyone else has, all the time.   My tremor vrtti’s roots are genetic, but anyone who has DNA has those.  It’s just a bit more annoying because it’s more obvious.  It’s still the same sort of vrtti that Patanjali and Vyasa and Iyengar and all the other commentators have been explaining to us all along.  

Want to see some big vrttis? Have a look at Tourette's Syndrome.   I’m thinking that Tourette’s could possibly be a little bit more annoying than my tremor, except unlike me, please note that this man can sing, and rather well at that.  I’m not making fun of this person, whose name is Chris de Burgh.  I am, instead, rather in awe.  If you watch carefully, you will see him trying to counter the impulses as his brain takes him on it’s ride with the Tourette’s “spasms”, for lack of a better word.  This man’s concentration is immense.  He has to practice dharana in order to do this: the definition of dharana is to return the mind to the same place again and again, to the same focal point, in this case, his song, while the vrtti of Tourette’s shakes it loose again and again.  He has several videos on You Tube, and in one he comments that doing these songs utterly exhausts him.  In my experience it’s not so much the concentration that is exhausting, it’s the tearing away from it by the impulses.

This is an important point:  I think it’s more tiring for the brain to have vrttis than it is to concentrate on one thing.  That’s why Patanjali says that with mastery, asana eventually becomes effortless.  From our ordinary mind’s perspective, it’s too hard to concentrate.  But we regular folk do see the world backwards.

So all you guys out there doing your pranayama with those long, slow, smooth inhalations and exhalations, your lovely ujjayi breaths, your 20-second kumbhakas and minute-long exhalations, I do admire you, but I know you are having vrttis just like Mr. de Burgh and me, only they don’t shake your body, breath and voice.  And, as Mr. Iyengar says, keeping things from shaking does make things easier, I know from my little glimpses.  I’ll get there one day. 

I’d like to do what Mr. de Burgh has done--make a yoga video myself, with me doing the narration, but I don’t honestly think it would go over too well.  The average viewer would not think I had a vocal tremor; they would more likely wonder why my years of yoga practice have not helped me overcome my fear complex.  Feh.

1 comment:

  1. This is an insightful post on vrttis with an excellent visual/auditory example. The "annoying because it's more obvious" vrtti have made me think about the more covert and subtle vrttis and what can be learned from both sorts. Vrtti is vrtti. Yes. However, how one quiets the vrtti and what needs to be learned is fascinatingly different.
    As a believer in reincarnation, and that we tend (with rare exception) to magnetize/be born to spirits/consciousness that we've already known, I think genetic, obvious vrtti ask one to plummet depths into ancestral memory. Not only might one explore why he/she opened the genetic door for the particular vrtti, but where is its ancestral root? What has tenacious clinging power in that ancestral thread, and how can it be overcome? What an exploration!
    And why not make a video? Writing it out, practicing it out, recording it out--there are so many ways to work. I suppose the key would be to find the most expeditious way to quiet it. ;-)