Monday, January 10, 2011

Lifting the Fog of Blahness

The fog of blahness that shrouded my existence yesterday seems to have lifted, at least for now. Felt pretty good this morning when I woke up. Started my practice at 5:30 a.m., finished in 2 hours flat (full primary +second up to supta vajrasana. Still don't have enough faith in my SI joint to venture up to the LBH postures consistently.) Felt even better after my practice. Doing a deep kapotasana (ankle-grab. This is the second time I have achieved this!) probably helped.

Got to campus at 9:00 a.m. for a department meeting, and taught 2 classes this afternoon. I didn't actually do a lot of teaching, this being the first day of class, but I rediscovered the therapeutic effect of the spoken word. Some famous philosopher (can't remember who exactly) said that humans should be renamed homo logos in place of homo sapiens. This is so, he claims, because we humans only attain our fullest potential when we exercise our language or verbal capabilities (logos in Greek) within a community of similarly verbal beings. There is a sense in which merely being a biological entity does not suffice to make us human: In order to be fully human, we must develop and utilize the ability to use language creatively in communication and connection with others.

Anyway, I discovered that having to raise my voice to speak in front of a group of people (my students) lifted my spirits immensely. I also discovered that teaching is very much like yoga practice. One has to be present in each moment, to fully absorb and understand what students might be thinking, feeling or saying while working incessantly to engage everybody in the class. There is no space to space out.

So it looks like the blahness has lifted, at least for now. Perhaps fighting the battle with blahness is like clearing snow from one's driveway. Snow falls incessantly. In the same way, blahness is continually descending and finding ways to take root in one's everyday life. It is the activity of going about one's life with some sense of purpose (keeping to a daily practice, trying to be productive at work, etc.) that sweeps away this blahness that continually falls in one's life. If one stops for too long, blahness will accumulate, and movement and visibility become harder.



  1. Hi Nobel,

    I liken being a professor, in front of a group of students, to being a performer. Yes, indeed, we are homo logos. I feel the same way. As a teacher of teachers, I often teach in the evenings (after public school hours) from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

    All day I work in my office prepping classes, editing journal-article-hopefuls, and some days I spend all day in faculty meetings; then at a time I used to consider the end of my day, I teach.

    So I grab my clip-on smile from my desk, draw from my acting experience in my younger days, and I get ready to perform! Once I get to class, I go into "ham bone" mode no matter how tired I thought I was(I love an audience). Lecturing/professing is a wonderful profession for Homo logos!

    And now for the snow. . . what a shock I got returning to New Jersey with 4 feet of snow piled up on every street corner! All I can say is "wow" and "wow" and wonder how we went from what I neglected to appreciate as the cushy life of graduate students living in sunny, hot & humid Gainesville to professors in the snowy Northeast. What the heck?

  2. I really love this post! I agree with the communicating part. However I intensely dislike speaking in front of an audience. It only gives me nervous energy that I want to sweep off of me afterwards.

  3. Cathrine, yes, I think you are right that teaching is very much a performance art. One of my colleagues voiced the same sentiment recently.

    Yyogini, I had (and still have) a lot of nervous energy related to public speaking, especially before a class. But I like to think it gets better; at least, one learns how to deal with it more productively.