This morning at 5 AM, I read the most remarkable paragraph in Swara Yoga. First, a quick definition: Sushumna nadi is the main central nadi in the spinal cord for channeling kundalini shakti.

When sushumna is active, the breath flows through both nostrils simultaneously. Every hour and twenty minutes after sunrise, the central nadi flows for a few moments. After practicing pranayama or when the mind become one-pointed, or when one is about to commit some criminal act, sushumna also flows.

Both the suicidal terrorist and the yogi in deep meditation have sushumna flowing. When you are about to engage in some sort of crime or assault in battle, sushumna flows. It also flows during the exhilaration one feels after climbing a mountain… In sushumna both the physical organs and the mental organs function simultaneously and you become very powerful, whether in spiritual or mundane life.

After practicing pranayama or when the mind become one-pointed, or when one is about to commit some criminal act… Criminal act? You could have knocked me over when I read that.

But as soon as he mentioned climbing, I understood. Because I thought of the context with which I understand The Cop. I knew when I read this passage to The Cop, he would understand. And indeed, he did.

When The Cop talks about work or his past military experience, I always contextualize it in relation to climbing. Some things he tells me about, I equate to being 45 feet up: you could fall and be okay. Some things are the equivalent of 150 feet up: if it goes bad, you’re gonna die. If it’s over 300 feet, well, then you’re just in the thick of things and not doing much extra thinking. And if it’s over 600 feet, it’s all dreamlike and vivid.

I always thought my drawing these equivalencies was kind of lame, but now I feel more justified 😉

Interestingly, The Cop and I also are very curious about the behaviors of suicide bombers, though we take distinctly different views about them. I wonder if this relationship that’s been drawn, between yogis, climbers, criminals and suicide bombers will alter our discussions.

He’s an interesting man, The Cop. He has no tolerance for New Ageiness whatsoever, but he moved one of my movies on Netflix to the top of the list (trust me, this is unprecedented!): The Tibetan Book of the Dead rocks. We watched last night. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, it gives a glimpse into the beliefs and practices of what seem to be entirely average Tibetan people. There was one scene where people were standing on a dirt road talking about death and what happens after death, and how they interact with the dead to make sure the spirit is well cared for. One woman had a child tied to her back and she happily smiled and gestured to her child and said, “Everyone is reincarnated. You don’t know where someone has come from.”

Delightful. I love the idea of looking at these people I deal with every day and thinking about where they might have come from, what previous lives. I do it with The Cop (samurai) and My Gift (Tibetan monk), of course, but it’s never occurred to me to think that way about the people I work with. I wonder if they’ll call security if I start asking, “Who do you think you were in a previous life?”


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