Speaking of which, I seem to remember reading somewhere (it may be a recent report on a recent conference with Sharath, though I cannot be sure) that Sharath recommends showering before practice; the idea is that practice is not exercise, but a spiritual offering, so it is good to practice with a clean body (saucha). I also remember reading somewhere that it is common practice for many people who practice in shalas to shower before arriving at the shala for practice, and then change into a new set of clothes before going straight to work from the shala.
Maybe it's just me, but I just can't get around the idea of not showering after practice. It just seems to me that the idea of not cleaning myself after sweating so much, and going out to face the world with a possibly stinky and sticky body just seems... icky. And besides, as much as I like to believe otherwise, I am pretty sure that my sweaty body is not odor-free, and it would be wrong and inconsiderate to impose the, ahem, fragrance of my body onto others around me. Perhaps one day, when I finally stop eating garlic and onions and adopt a strict Pandava diet, I might then consider not showering after practice. But for right now, I'll stick to cleaning myself after practice.
What about you guys out there? Do you normally shower after practice? Or are you totally comfortable with just changing into a fresh set of clothes and going off to work from home or the shala? If the latter, have you ever had feelings of stickiness or ickiness come up during the course of the day? Just curious. If this is too personal to share, please feel free to comment anonymously.
On a different note, I have discovered that there is something about beginning a new semester (especially beginning a new semester in a new place) that brings this fresh flowing energy into my life. I go to my new classes, get a new bunch of students excited about philosophy (hopefully, they will continue to stay excited when the mid-semester grind kicks in...), and in the process, get myself excited about philosophy all over again. The external reality of my career situation (for more details, see previous post) has not changed one bit, but somehow, this external reality seems less pressing, almost less significant in the face of the fresh energy of learning that I am presently swimming in.
To carry the swimming image further, we can think of it this way. I am presently swimming in an ocean of reality. On the surface, there is a powerful fresh current, the current that carries the energy that one experiences at the beginning of an academic semester. But below the surface, there is another current, an undertow, if you will. This is the current that carries the energy of my overall career situation. I don't feel it quite as acutely at the present, because when one is swimming in the current of the fresh energy on the surface, when one is really needed at one's workplace (even if not on a permanent basis), one does not really feels the sharpness of the undercurrent. But I suppose the undercurrent is still there.
Here's one question I have been pondering: Which current is more real? Is the surface energy more real, because it is concretely what is happening in front of my eyes right now (as opposed to the many what ifs and whys and hows that characterize the somewhat murkier undercurrent)? Or is the undercurrent more real, because the surface energy will fade at some point, leaving the undercurrent to resurface?
I hope this is not too vague and woo-ey. But sometimes, analogies and images are a good way to get across a point that would otherwise be too fluid to describe directly.