Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sein und Zeit, Kapotasana, Titthibhasana

As you can tell, I haven't posted much on this blog (or any other blog) lately. Have I been busy? Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. I have been reading quite a bit lately, and busy turning my attention inwards in that way. Specifically, I have been rereading Heidegger's Being and Time (the last time I read it was many years ago, in grad school) in preparation for my class on Existentialism in the spring, which I will be teaching for the first time. I can't really explain it well, but there's just something about reading B&T that makes me very pensive and contemplative and inward-turning, causing me to minimize my present-at-hand relations with the world. And you have to admit that writing a blog is a very present-at-hand kind of activity, at least for me. Oh, I guess I haven't explained what "present-at-hand" is. But in order to explain what presence-at-hand means, I would have to get into a present-at-hand relationship with presence-at-hand (does this give you a hint of its nature?). And I don't feel like doing this now.

Suffice to say that there is just something about reading a text very carefully, deliberately and slowly that causes a kind of inward turning in the reader; or at any rate, in this reader. There does not seem to be much to show for all this inward turning, at least for now. But well, it is what it is.


But I do have a couple of cool things to say about practice. As of right now, I'm still doing half-primary plus second up to Pincha Mayurasana. There hasn't been much to say about practice for most of the last few weeks; for the most part, it's just been showing up at the mat, doing one's best, and then getting on with one's day.

But in the last couple of days, a couple of pretty cool things have transpired on the mat. Firstly, my breath has been very long and expansive in Kapotasana these last couple of days, where it is usually rushed. I don't want to jinx myself by writing about this here, but two expansive-breath-Kapotasana-days are so rare to come by in my practice (actually, I can't remember the last time my breath was expansive in Kapo for two days in a row), I must be doing something right. Maybe it's the Heidegger? ;-)  

The other significant practice development is that I have been successfully binding in Titthibhasana B the last couple of days. It's really nothing to write home (or write here) about; it's just barely clasping the fingers. But still. I hope this means that my shoulders are finally opening up.

Alright, that's all I have to say for now. More later.


  1. Pleasant memories of sitting in the Jardin des Tuileries year after year, reading and rereading S&Z in one of those perfectly designed iron chairs, feet up, Emmental and ham Baguettes and a bottle of cheap but good wine down by the side of the chair..... the next day I would have to reread half of what I had read the day before because of the wine....happy reading, what else do you have on the course?

    1. Hmm... S&Z and wine sounds like a potent combination, even if (or maybe especially if) one can't remember half of what was read. I've never been to the Tuileries; hope to go there some day and read S&Z there :-)

      Here's the tentative lineup for my course:

      Nietzsche (mainly Genealogy of Morals, maybe also a little Beyond Good and Evil);

      Camus (The Stranger, the Myth of Sisyphus, to set the mood for the course);

      Kafka (The Metamorphosis);

      Husserl (I need to do some rereading here to refresh my knowledge);

      Heidegger (selections from S&Z, The Origin of the Work of Art);

      Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and maybe also the chapters from War and Peace depicting the death of Prince Andrey);

      Sartre (selections from Being and Nothingness, Existentialism is a Humanism, and No Exit)

      I'm sticking to what I think know best. I also find Merleau-Ponty and Kierkegaard intriguing, but I don't feel I know them enough to teach them.