Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sports Therapy
The idea of a spiritual experience as a peak performance in a sport is hardly a new one, as you can read in accounts about mountain climbing, skiing, snowboarding, even the more mundane sports such as football (both Euro and US varieties), baseball, basketball, golf, et cetera, et cetera.

(The novel The Legend of Bagger Vance, for example, is a mind-numbing, ham-fisted Bhagavad Gita on the golf links. Stephen Pressfield, there will be an accounting.)

I’m culturally marooned in a surf town, so at this point, articles, books, movies, and videos that center on the spirituality of surfing (“I’m, like, at one with the wave!”) now trigger projectile vomiting.

But the unexpected encounter of a fresh take on a physical experience that transcends the physical to become something other, something spiritual, something, dare we say, yogic, is still an exceptional moment.

“I can’t determine precisely the instant in which my thought escapes its object to become a thought of pure effort,” writes avid cyclist and author Paul Fournel in Need for the Bike.

“The moment the rhythm speeds up, the moment the slope becomes steep, the moment fatigue gets the upper hand, thought doesn’t fade away before the ‘animal spirits;’ on the contrary, it’s reinforced and diffused throughout my entire body, becoming thigh-thought, back-intelligence, calf-wit. This unconscious transformation is beyond me, and I only become aware of it much later, when the lion’s share of the effort is over and thought flows back, returning to what is ordinarily considered its place.”

Perhaps “superconscious transformation” would be more fitting.

So the class’ homework assignment, typed two-page minimum due Monday, is to answer the following question: How does a form of stretching that features synchronized breathing and proscribed gazing points differ from gymnastics, calisthenics or aerobics? Or, for that matter, golf, football (both Euro and US versions), and cycling?

Ye Olde Musick Downloade
Geinoh Yamashiro, Akira OST
Jacques Lu Cont, Fabriclive 09
Eagles of Death Metal, Death by Sexy
The Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics
Mozzer, Ringleader of the Tormentors
Editors, The Back Room
Neil Young, Prairie Wind