Government as practice
How to leap into the thorny nest of brain static I’ve been accreting through the blog posting drought? Why, go stomping right into the heart of darkness, of course. The heart of darkness being the recent ad for the BC Jobs Plan, an expensive and instantaneously self-refuting piece of nonsense that makes all the hair on my arms stand up every time its stupid iphone dominoes come rolling into the living room.
Premise: that you, Joe or Josephine Labourer, should check out this program regarding your future employment
Corollary: that this is a government program
How the program is marketed: that British Columbia, through the miracle of Low Taxes and Reduced Government Spending, is so wicked awesome that our white iphone domino will stop all of these threateningly dusky black iphone dominos spilling over from the wretched East
My take away: So I, Josephine Labourer, should check out this program that you’ve created that BY YOUR OWN PROMOTIONAL ADMISSION you have underfunded and likely understaffed and have no intention of generating revenue for? And that you spent millions of dollars to promote? It doesn’t seem like you can organize a ham sandwich, much less a jobs program.
My second take away: But of course that’s what they WANT me to think because as long as I don’t think the government can do anything right, the more my voting apathy will increase and the more I will turn to the even less effective and even more corrupt corporate system [or libertarianism which is just corporatism in fancy clothes] as my only alternative. Fie, I say.
It’s really, really hard for me to live in this province and still continue to advocate paying taxes and supporting structural change through government, because there is an extremely high douchebag content as one winds through the warrens of power; they’re hidden in there, entrenched, and the paranoia and resentment is not entirely unfounded. Trouble is, right now our alternative is the even less accountable and even more morbidly corrupt corporations. It’s annoying to have to compromise shiny romantic virtues for the grubby, repeated whittling away at the status quo that constitutes politics. I can definitely see why people don’t bother, especially young people, especially hippies.
Hey, things being grubby and repeated reminds me: The twins are twenty months. Today I wanted to spot clean the poor blue Ikea cloth sofa that has been saturated with juice and various other more compromising fluids, also vacuum the cat’s room. Robert refers to all vacuum- or extraction-type devices as Robots and demands to be involved in their processes, up to and including turning them on and off and unplugging them from the wall. I have an involved wall socket strategy but today’s needs were very specific and over the course of the cleaning R unplugged the vacuum four  times, necessitating much baby-gate vaulting, and then between the two of them they turned the upholstery cleaner off seven  times. After the third or fourth turn-off turn-on episode a deep weariness set in on my part [I can’t speak for any weariness on their part although they are now napping so maybe they got it too] and I was all like, I can’t believe how boring and tedious this is, why can’t they just leave it alone for two seconds and let me finish cleaning this poor couch?
Hey, things being boring and tedious reminds me: During one of my recent classes, in Savasana, the neighbouring room’s students were preparing to go in for their practice. In full voice in the hallway I can hear two students discussing their recent experiences, and one asked the other if they had ever taken my class. Student 1 said something about really liking what I had to say, etc., quite complimentary in a neutral sort of way. Student 2 said, “Yeah, I took her class once. It was so boring”.
I guess maybe this is a function of getting older, or maybe parenting, or both. But it’s also the punchline to a long-held ominous feeling I had throughout my youth which is: There is no logical way this world exists to entertain you 24/7. Even if it did, could your neurons handle being entertained that much? Wouldn’t you want a break from time to time? Working on the cruise ship made the ominousness even more intense; towards the end I was really starting to feel that I literally couldn’t survive without living 400 feet from where I worked and getting free pizza from the Lido deck at 4 am. If that’s not a little interactive privilege hobby kit, I don’t know what is.
Hey, privilege reminds me: As my Anusara experience became increasingly congested and baroque, a few of my good-hearted colleagues liked to say stuff like, “That’s why I stay away from organized yoga systems. You just can’t have an organization that big that has any relationship to spirit” and they would nod sagely and I would be confused, because way down deep a part of me was like, “But we are social animals and organizations are how we move forward, how we take care of each other, from the family all the way up to the UN…if spirit is not to be found in organizations then maybe we aren’t trying hard enough” and I tested that theory by trying to continue to move forward with Anusara specifically, which, well, we all know how that turned out. It still strikes me as colossally egotistical to say that the *only way* to generate large scale healing and change for our society and our planet is for each of us individually to do yoga or meditate. Come on, people. Sure, you’re all beautiful unique snowflakes but your ability to sit still for hours at a time really only helps *you* feel better. Which does, in its turn, tend to radiate outward so it has a slightly larger scale effect than just the individual but why do we avoid being candid about our collective nature and collective experience, and the structures and systems that affect us all?
Look back at the twentieth century and it will become amply clear that the processes that positively affected the most human beings were collective in nature and implemented by government. How you can laud MLK and at the same time call us all lonely ascetic pilgrims on the soul’s path of libertarian solitude is just face-palmingly wrong. It’s just very boring to go to the meetings. It’s very boring to have to study history. It’s very boring to have to turn the upholstery cleaner on over and over again. It’s very boring to do Trikonasana every day.
And yet it is our charge. It is our responsibility to participate with life on its own, repeated, cyclical level. I know that’s counterintuitive but part of what we’re supposed to be practicing here is moving the edge of the human capacity for…everything…including stamina and patience in repetition. Rather than waiting for some sort of blissful inspirational reverence to suddenly Occur out of the sky like Terry Gilliam’s giant God finger, if you are committed to finding spirit, just stop and look around. If you don’t see it, consider that your definition of Spirit is unnecessarily circumstantial and limited. [ahem, funny ironic face and then a big sigh] Niralambaya tejase, as we used to say: the light is not waiting for you to find it interesting or novel or romantic or fey and pixie-like or maudlin and dramatic or a Personal Best. It is pervasive and requires no external circumstances or support. That means even if we don’t see it, it continues to shine on us. That’s a privilege, and a blessing.