Would Patanjali wear a pinkie ring?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my own greater glory.  How if I really reach down and pull myself inside out, the students will come.  When the teacher is ready the students will appear. I would not mind the adulation. I would not mind the recognition.

If I’m recognized, it’s because I myself am seen. Recognized by many, who I am becomes clear. Consensus. That many people can’t be wrong.

This is a superior position. I may now divulge the wisdom.

Need to meet expectations. Dress the part.  Name something after myself.

I don’t know if I can look that many ways at once. I can almost see it. But I can’t feel it.

Old-time yogis were outsiders.

Where’s the glory in that? Nobody’s going to step off the sidewalk to let me pass. No interviews. No pictures. No money.

No recognition.

That doesn’t mean I’m not who I am.

Maybe I’ll just find a place to unroll my mat and slap hands with whoever shows up. Take a vow of obscurity.

Maybe that’s already too much.


16 responses to “Would Patanjali wear a pinkie ring?

  1. Could even the vow of obscurity indicate a petulant ego; could even that declaration define the line between the famous and the undiscovered or uncovered? So much admitted awareness could make one feel embarrassed and naked. But why? It’s honest.

    The question is would Patanjali want to impress anyone? Would he dress himself up, would he sell himself and love the attention? I’ll bet he would.

    He would want to be heard, to be loved, to be useful. Like the rest of us. There are many levels. Sometimes a thank you from a single student is as powerful as a room of clapping hands. Sometimes we just want the roar of the crowd. It’s all good as long as we don’t forget who we are or what we are doing.



    • All true, Hilary. The vow of obscurity could come with a good deal of self-satisfaction. We do want to be heard, don’t we. We are in community. We do want to be loved. The vow of obscurity felt like an overreaction, possibly. Knowing the hazard but not knowing the way through. We need a yoga that resides in all the mess. Fame? Okay, what’s the practice for that? Yoga can’t be fairweather, good only in certain conditions. I always think of relationship: Okay, X. Now what’s my relationship to X? Thanks, H.


  2. Hi David,

    I am glad I get an email when you post on your blog. It’s a good way to roll out your mat and see who comes along.

    I miss our Wednesday sanghas. Life should settle down and I how to be a more frequent participant.

    The pinkie ring. Interesting. As a sign of accomplishment? A way to get noticed? A lesson in attachment? The latter for me. Highly attracted to material objects, not for what they say about me, but how they speak to me. Deep and serious attachment.

    Chris and I have been in the BVI for the past 12 days. I have been incredibly relaxed. I can’t remember when, or if, my mind has been this blissfully blank. Many lessons to learn. And the knowledge of a quiet brain to hold into,

    BTW, pinkie ring or no, I consider you a teacher and have learned many things from you.


  3. Your blog entry coincides with a similar train of thought I was having in class the other day. You were saying something like, “very nice” to the class in general about an asana, and I was observing that my ego was getting a little hooked by that. Geez, that’s the last thing that I need, after working so much to finally get my eyes closed to being pushed by whatever else is happening outside of my own practice on my own mat and trying to carry that attitude off the mat. But then I thought again, and saw that perhaps that is a good thing to have happen, to get the awareness that I am so easily still hooked! Huh. Don’t we all need some sort of obscurity for awhile, and then a hook or two, just to see what is still there to hook us? See how far we get reeled in before we wake up! Ooooh, what a nice fish we are! And that’s the practice for fame as well, which is a larger fanning of the self flame. Just feeling the warmth of that flame and bringing it into awareness. It’s okay to enjoy it as long as we recognize it – I agree with Hilary. Wear the ring, and laugh at it so it doesn’t get serious!


    • Thank you, Hilary. Now I have to confess that I don’t even know what that means! I know, I know. I am on facebook because I wanted to hang with a certain group from Kripalu. But I have no idea what I’m doing. Thank you for making me try to learn a new trick. In truth, I always learn something from you. Always.


  4. Why not simply be. Let all those who come, come. Let all those who stay away, stay away. In time, all come and go and pass this way or that. The opinions and words and feelings and shiny things all come our way, are inhaled and simply pass through. It’s the passing through that leaves the impression, the memory, the warm feeling. And then we exhale and it floats along with the breeze, to be inhaled by someone else. To me, that’s the recognition, that’s the lasting stuff. If we are true to ourselves then that is what people remember; that’s what brings a smile to the faces of those we know and of those we’ve yet to meet. That’s the stuff that makes the world go around, makes the sun that much brighter, the breeze that much sweeter, the rain that much softer. That my dear friend, that’s the good stuff 🙂


    • That is the good stuff, dear friend. We agree. Some of my posts, including this one, are lifted right out of my journal. They are conversations with myself and can be pretty close to stream-of-consciousness. And since it’s me talking to me they will often reveal my own doubt, ambivalence, insecurity, bias and so on. Those things are authentic to me. I go public in the spirit of inquiry and trusting that others can relate and will be stimulated in their own reflection. And then we can compare notes!

      This post comes when a very prominent teacher has maybe flown too high and the sun has melted the wax on his wings. So it sets me to musing about teaching yoga and how it plays out in the midst of fame. And a bunch of other issues.

      What you describe is very sweet, pixie girl, no “buts” about it. See you


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