I'm attention-deficit when it comes to lectures. Something about figures of authority talking at me in fluorescent lighting doesn't appeal to me. So when I enjoy a lecture, I know the speaker was good. Damn good.
Last night Manisha and I trudged half-heartedly to a Yoga Philosophy lecture by a visitor here. We didn't really want to go and we planned to leave in half an hour. Then our lecturer began to speak.
In perfect detailed clarity, he explained the anatomy of the mind (buddhi, ahamkara etc.) and the atman (soul). No tangents, no ridiculous metaphors, just straight-forward Sankhya and Vedanta philosophy. The whipped cream of the lecture was his impeccable pronunciation of every Sanskrit word, which for some reason is intensely important to me.
Halfway through the lecture, a severe thunderstorm barreled into the institute. The windows slammed open and shut, the lights went out. There were rumors of hail, fallen trees and tornadoes.
But the man walked the talk. Not bothered by any of this tumult or the gasps around the room, he continued to speak by lantern-light and everyone continued to listen in the mini blackout.
One of my favorite things he talked about was the difference in the Western and Eastern worldview. If a Chinese person looks at a picture of a city, they will notice a transaction happening, a conversation, a person with their dog. An American will point out a single car, a person or a building. I wonder what I would notice...probably the pizza stand in the corner.
He talked about the idea of freedom. The reason that we're not spiritually free is because we have decided that we aren't. Our only boundary for realizing this other 90% of unused consciousness is our own mental construct that says we have something to seek, something to attain, when it is actually already waiting for us to go "yup, got it, had it all along."
The lecture was followed by a never ending card game, a sticky hot night of sleep, and the reality that I was now working another job under yet another person and my title reads something like: Ankita Rao, Editorial assistant, public relations intern, marketing idiot, professional mail-opener, phone-answerer, Web-site updater, dishwasher and bringer of family members.
Why did I ever ask for more work?