All Problems Are Spiritual Problems

I don’t know whether I heard that or imagined it or when or where. Doesn’t matter. Pretty bold statement, though. And goddess knows I’m prone to over reducing things, but this one is worth working with.

I’m dying.

What is the problem?

And right there an inquiry could begin.

So, I’m in a funk. Been in and out of it for a while. Right now we’re out here in the Great Southwestern Desert whereas we reside in the Great Northeastern Forest. Out of the forest into the high and dry sight lines of forever. And I’m ridin kinda low. Small things piss me off.

Nobody’s mistreating me. There’s just this low moan going on. I’ve got a low grade blues.

Okay doctor that’s the symptom, now what’s the problem?

We’re going to move here. So there’s Big Change imminent. Experienced as lots of impending loss. And I’m going to land here without a gig, most likely. One of the voices in my head says, You will simplify. Another voice in my head says, You will starve. You will starve and your wife will starve too and that’s on you. Then the first voice says, But you’re going to teach yoga. And the second voice falls down on the deck overcome with convulsive laughter.

What is the problem? 

Well if I let my wife starve I’m not much of a man am I. Would you want to take a yoga class from that guy?

What is the problem?

The problem is that I need to hold my end up in this world. I’ve got certain abilities that present me with certain opportunities and if I’m doing right I step up and into those opportunities, and if I don’t I’m a dick. This is not avoidable. This is the law.

Okay… This funk is a clogged drain backing up on me.

Wait. I’m going to shift metaphors…

This is a knot. I want to loosen it, but it gets tighter. What’s pulling on the ends, pulling it tighter? It isn’t my circumstances, there’s really nothing much wrong with my circumstances. I know better than to think I can get the world lined up to suit me. Don’t I? I’m a little anxious and worried about things – the Big Change imminent. But anxious and worried is just my reaction to the imagining of something that is not even in reality. Right? I know better than that. But there it is.

So, Dear Reader, where is the spiritual problem I promised – the spiritual knot? I find I have to make a leap. I’d meant to present you with a continuous, logical progression toward the proof of my thesis. But the thread runs out… The road ends. I can find no spiritual knot. I have only this heartfelt conviction: The spirit is not of the nature of knots. It is the mind that tightens back on itself. And all knots of the mind will release in this question of the spirit: Which way lies my dharma? The knots arise when I do not tend to that question, and when I do, they dissolve. My duty becomes clear. My actions are my best. My wife won’t starve.

Back to the funk…

I’m walking along through the Saturday morning farmer’s market. My wife and her mother are up ahead somewhere. And I hear somebody playing the blues. I walk over that way and I see the young bluesman. I get closer and I see that he’s bottlenecking a twelve-string. You don’t see that every day. He sounds pretty good. I get closer and I see he’s missing a tuning key – he’s playing an eleven-string. He finishes and starts to put his guitar away. I go up, put a dollar in his case and tell him I like the music, and I comment on his guitar. He says actually it’s only a six-string, and I see that he has strung only six of the keys. He says he likes having the extra tuning keys, because that way he has some extras in case somebody comes along looking to buy a tuning key.

And so it was, that while I was not all the way sanctified, I was mos def de-funktified.

Let it roll like a big wheel
In a Georgia cotton field
Honey hush
Shut up, baby

Honey Hush
Big Joe Turner (1953)


5 responses to “All Problems Are Spiritual Problems

  1. Back in college I had a philosophy teacher that looked us all straight in the eye and said:
    “Later on in life, when you have your children, as soon as they come out, look at them, tell them you love them and that you’re glad they’re here…then tell them, welcome to your death”
    At that time I thought that was one of the most cruel things I’d ever heard. As time has gone on, as the tides of my own life have ebbed and flowed, I’ve seen the wisdom in his words. Lo and behold, when Ian was born, those were my first words to him…”I love you and I’m so glad you’re here and I will protect you until my dying breath. Welcome to this world and welcome to your death.”
    The minute we are born we begin on a journey…a journey with a certain beginning and an uncertain end…but rest assured, there is both a beginning and an ending. What that all looks like, and even what’s in between, is something of our own creation. Even our own death is a mystery waiting to unfold itself to us, in all of it’s potential horror and beauty and humor.
    Such is the path we walk. Such is why we’re here. To unfold and untie. The knots come in all shapes and sizes, different strengths, different materials; but knots nonetheless. Could you perhaps, shift your vision and view the knots as pearls. Pearls that are given back to the twilight sky at the end of every day, thus becoming the moon, part of the universe. Pearls beheld by all who look up into the night sky and see the beauty, the enchantment, the grace and power shining down upon them. Be they knots, be they pearls; be they seeds in a sunflower, be they blades of grass in a field…all things of beauty if looked at with eyes of wonder. All giving back and being shared by those who gaze upon.
    And we, like the stars that shine down upon us at night, we continue on. Our grace, our beauty, our light, our presence lingers on long after our bodies have left this sphere. That is a thing of wonder….that is a thought that may begin to clear the cobwebs from your weary mind and maybe, juuuust maybe, bring back that David smile that is so near and dear to anyone who has been graced by it’s presence…

    And one more thing….where ever you land, when you roll out your yoga mat, the ripple will be felt like a pebble tossed into a gentle pond. The universe will see it and feel it and and your new students will handed to the universe and open hearted to you and your teachings. Your new life, your next chapter will begin amidst sunshine, smiles, love and unconditional belonging. Trust in yourself and in all that is and all that will be….you’ll be just fine….


      • Every night brings a day, every frown turns into a smile. Every rainstorm brings the sun, with every death comes a birth. Every pain is followed by a pleasure, every suffering followed by a joy. Such is the flow, the balance, the existence of this thing, this adventure we call life. Always learning, always growing, ever evolving….it’s a wondrous thing…


  2. Well, I certainly love that your reduction takes you straight to “I’m Dying”. Your drama is magnificent as is the penning of your words. No smoke here, just truth.

    The funk dispelled by the tiniest glimpse of whimsical humanity in the man on the street is what it’s all about. Who knows what shitstorm is upon us or what will happen? But in those moments we realize it will be made up of moments just like these; moments where the human spirit or personality delights and nothing needs to make sense.

    Because if you think of it, unless we know why we’re here or how we got here or where this earth camp and busload of campers is heading, nothing does make sense but to enjoy all we can.

    The writing is stellar. The students will come or then there’s Trader Joe’s with health insurance. 🙂 I’ve thought of it myself. “Two Bells” clears up all the customer’s complaints. How easy is that?


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