Saturday, December 2, 2006

Frawley Comes Alive!
I just crept out of a talk given by Dr. David Frawley called "Ayurvedic Psychology." Dr. Frawley’s a prolific author, and has published books on yoga philosophy, jyotish, or Hindu astrology, and ayurveda. He’s one of the few Westerners recognized in India as a Vedacharya, or teacher of the ancient wisdom.

In person, he's articulate, intelligent, and soft-spoken. For all you groupies, he’s trimmed his wild-man beard and hair and now bears little resemblance to the renunciate staring out of his dust-jacket photo.

A question I might have asked him, had I not snuck out before the group mantra meditation in order to make the Encinitas Christmas parade: Are we, in fact, a chronically overstimulated culture, country and civilization? Are we heaping on more and more undigested and undigestable sense-impressions, and therefore bloating on the ensuing karma?

But how to untangle that idea — illustrated by Frawley's example of the escalating number of car-crashes in movies — from a thinly veiled romantic yearning for a prelapsarian Eden, an unmediated “pure” state of existence, which, we all know, never existed?

I'd have liked to discuss the other thread woven throughout his talk: existence as a perpetual sickness, disease, or imbalance, forever in need of an eternal healing, an idea also prevalent in much New Age thinking.

(You say you aren’t “imbalanced”? That’s a sign of a vata imbalance.)

My attendance at this talk comes hard on the heels of my completion of Daniel Pinchbeck’s latest opus, 2012. Pinchbeck has eagerly picked up where Terence McKenna left off, as regards to psychedelic shamanism, alien abductions, and the machine elves who live on the other side of a DMT-generated boom tube.

Interestingly, in 2012, Pinchbeck glosses right over the work of Ken Wilber, and in fact dismisses it as a complicated series of “charts and graphs,” when in fact much of Wilber’s work addresses most of Pinchbeck’s central questions, chief among them the ways the different wisdom traditions turn the insights gained during certain peak (and psychedelic drug-induced) states into permanent, everyday qualities and characteristics. In other words, how to stabilize the insights Pinchbeck received while chugging ayuhuasca at Burning Man and therefore experience transformative growth.

(Although undoubtedly Wilber would be unable to save Pinchbeck from his own shrieking harridan writing style. Daniel Pinchbeck never met an alliteration or assonance he didn’t like. 2012 is awash in their pulpy corpses.)

The other, more obscure author who might most help Pinchbeck, in addition to Wilber, would be Patanjali, author of the Yoga Sutras, from which Pinchbeck might heed Patanjali’s suggestions to find one single practice, one truth, and then stick to it, without interruption, for an extended period of time, with faith and vigor.

But the cross-pollination of Frawley’s talk tonight and with what Pinchbeck addresses in 2012 — chiefly, the quantum-jump into a new human consciousness set to take place in the year 2012, said date coinciding with the termination of the third (fourth?) Mayan age — was the idea that yes, perhaps our era is marked by an exponential acceleration, of communication, of thought, of sense-impressions. All of which are characteristics of an increasing heat. Pinchbeck maintains that this heat is cooking us, a la Rumi’s chickpea in the pot.

Maybe this acceleration is part of a great quickening of consciousness, and the sensory overload is only signaling the onset of a massive shift, a quantum jump, in human evolution? Perhaps this friction and its heat is first driving us out of our minds — and then, through practice, through ayurveda, through yoga, through meditation, through tapas, forcing us back, back into our minds. Only when we get there, we’ll find everything new and different, yet older and more familiar than our own faces.