East meets West

Three things:

  • After teaching class on Tuesday, I had the Buddhist chant “Gate, gate, paragate” stuck in my head (which is weird, because I didn’t play it or chant it during class). “Gone, gone, gone beyond.” Later in the week, I was listening to the Wizard of Oz soundtrack, and I had the out of the blue revelation that when Dorothy sings “Somewhere over the rainbow,” she’s expressing much the same sentiment. Or is she? She wants escape; absolute anathema from the point of view of the middle-way; but what she ultimately discovers is that if she can’t find what she wants right where she is, she’s not going to find it anywhere. The value of her fantastic travels is that they allow her to experience and value home differently (something I reflected on in Guatemala last summer). H’mmm. Buddhist perspectives on American show tunes. If I still had any inclination towards the upper echelons of academia, I think this would be a gold mine thesis title.
  • Another realization from this past week: The weird otherworldly vocals in the beginning of Battlestar Galactica? Sanskrit. It’s a Sanskrit chant. I recognized one of the words, then I remembered which chant I knew it from, then I recognized the rest of the chant, and then… well, then my head pretty much exploded. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. It’s the Gayatri mantra. In English: “The dawn, the day, and the dusk, those three most excellent daughters of the Sun, the radiant forms coming from the Gods, I meditate upon you and reach out to you. That is my offering.” I am ridiculously, overwhelmingly, embarrassingly pleased with myself for recognizing this.
  • I participated in an “Eye of the Tiger” Anusara yoga practice last night; two and a half hours of asana. We started with twenty six sun salutations. It was WONDERFUL. I haven’t worked that hard in a long, long time. My only disappointment was that the teacher didn’t play the Survivor song at any point in the practice.

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