Wednesday, February 22, 2012

That inscrutable ineffable little epiphaneous feeling

During this morning's practice, somewhere during the first few postures of primary series, I had a little epiphany: There is only this moment. All else is Maya.

I guess something more needs to be said to place this epiphany in a certain context. Strictly speaking, of course, epiphanies are not the sort of thing that needs to be placed in context. They are, after all, epiphanies. But I think many of us find epiphanies to be so wonderful and cool because they strike us so suddenly, so out of the blue in the midst of our everyday grind. Okay, so maybe you are some yogic being who is totally beyond the reach of the grindiness of the everyday grind (where are you at, Mysore? :-)). In which case, you can stop reading right now. The rest of the post is probably going to be too grinding (pun totally intended) and profane for your yogically-realized ears.

But really, if there were no everyday grind, and all of our lives were simply one long sustained yoga-orgasmic-epiphaneous ecstasy, would we even be able to recognize epiphanies when we experience them? If epiphanies were as everyday as the air we breathe or the coffee/chai we drink, would we even need to employ the concept of an epiphany to describe that ineffable epiphaneous feeling?

Okay, so I'm already, like, three paragraphs into the post, and I still haven't said much about what this morning's epiphany was about. Talk about digressing... Actually, there really isn't that much to say; what really happened was that I simply had this very deep feeling--the kind that you feel in your bones and muscles, not just in your mind--that "There is only this moment. All else is Maya." This little epiphany was all the more sweeter, given that I had a really anxiety-filled day yesterday. I won't bore you with the details of what I was anxious about; suffice to say that they are the garden-variety sort of anxieties; fearing and worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future which one may or may not be able to do anything about.

Which, as I said, made this morning's little practice epiphany sweeter. Somewhere in the first few postures of primary, I suddenly thought about a conversation I had a few days ago with one of my students, a physics major. This student told me that according to string theory, it is theoretically possible to understand all of space-time as one compressed mass; on this level, there is then really no such thing as past, present or future, since all time is contained within this mass. We also speculated that it may perhaps be possible for one to enter certain meditative states where one can actually perceive this space-time mass, and be outside of time and space, so to speak: In other words, it may be possible to achieve a God's-eye-view of space-time.

All of this is really over my head and out of my depth, so I'll stop here. But I'll leave you with one thought: If all of space-time is really one compressed mass (maybe like a tennis-ball; yeah, the space-time tennis ball...), then it would be kind of ridiculous to be worrying and angsting about the future, wouldn't it? After all, if this were true, the future wouldn't really ultimately exist, would it?

Anyway, epiphanies are cool. More power to them!         


  1. Yes, DeborahS, there probably isn't such a word; I sort of invented it :-)

  2. Hahaha, good enough for me. The library didn't have the book you mentioned so I ordered it and meanwhile began Sputnik Sweethearts. I abandoned the short stories as I don't do well with books when I don't care at all about the characters.
    Have you read Servants of the Map by Andrea Barrett?

    1. I like Sputnik Sweetheart. But I have to say that his romance novels (Sputnik Sweetheart, Norwegian Wood, South of the Border, West of the Sun) have a somewhat different flavor from his, well, non-romance novels. I mean, the tone is the same in all his novels, but his romance novels have more of a bittersweet kind of feel to them. Not good or bad in itself; just depends on whether you like bittersweet novels.

      No, I have not read anything by Andrea Barrett. Does she(?) write like Murakami?

  3. I wouldn't call her exactly like Murakami, but I think that there's a certain sensibility that they share. A certain attention to the subtler shades of feeling and expression. Hard to describe. I highly recommend Servants of the Map, if you're ever looking for something to read.
    Borrowing your new word for my post, with credit to you of course. I hope you don't mind...

    1. Interesting. I'll look up Barrett, but maybe not right away: I have a couple more things on my "to read" list.

      I'll go check out your post right now :-)