I should be reading my own novel, in preparation for the meeting with the publisher who pronounced it good but clogged. She’ll ask me what it’s “really about”, and I can’t think what I’ll say. I’ve sent the manuscript to my Kindle, and opened it up a couple of times, but it sets my stomach churning, and I quickly close it again. I suppose I’m scared that it’s rubbish. Irrational, because the publisher wouldn’t be meeting with me if it was rubbish. But that’s how they go, my thoughts.
Yoga is the antidote to all my wanting and hoping, and self-doubt, my egoistic terror of failure. I find it complicated writing about it, though, because yoga is silence. Stilling my mind, the dissolving of words and thoughts. How to write about my recent five-day intensive with the great (but so strangely named) Rod Stryker, for example. I adore Rod Stryker. He is the real deal, despite his strange name. I loved the course, which was about the Koshas. The Koshas are the five bodies, or sheaths, that we are made of; and that obscure our true selves. (You see, straight into paradox.) We did one a day, starting with the outmost body, the physical/food body, Annamaya; and proceeding through the energy body, the mental body and the knowing body to Anandamaya, which is the causal body, the cause, or seed, of all the other bodies (although just as much an illusion).
Yes, I shan’t bother explaining any further. I’ll describe, instead. I travelled through the hurly burly of London, to a vast white space, airy, skylit, wooden-floored. Putting my hopes and fears to one side, I explored the Koshas, by means of asana, pranayama and meditation. On the first four days I was very introverted, staying in at lunchtimes, eschewing the Babylon that is Marylebone High Street. But Day 5 was Anandamaya, and very sunny, and I was totally starving, so I took my thought-free, blissed-out self outdoors.
I spent a while staring at a shoe in a shop window, amazed at its elegant beingness. Then, through another window, I saw a cloud of red and pink orbs, floating in golden light. I noticed a doorway, and went in, and the orbs shimmied in welcome, and the golden light bathed me in its warmth. There was music, too. It was Paul Simon, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes, and I had never noticed how sublime it was. There were tables covered in objects, the loveliest objects, and I picked up a small, round plate, decorated with a drawing of a crab. The crab, which was coloured orange, covered the whole plate, its pincers nestled just inside the circumference. I loved that crab plate so much I wept. I turned it over. A small white label read £75.
The sight of the price tag brought me back to earth, and I realised I was standing in the Conran Shop. A member of staff was looking at me oddly, so I put down the crab plate, wiped my eyes and went back out of the door.
Everything had gone jangly, and I realised it was because I’d started thinking again. I was thinking, “That was just sensory, that thing that I was feeling, no ways was that Pure Consciousness”, and then on into a whole fractious conversation about what I’d been learning, and what I’d been feeling, and how much I’d failed. Wanting back into that empty-headed sensation, I wheeled into an organic skincare shop, planning to lose myself into the smells. But it was a small shop, and members of staff were prowling, waiting to anoint and advise me. “Just having a look,” I murmured, dropping down to my knees to examine the bottles on the bottom shelf. The shop wasn’t doing it for me. I felt self-conscious about sniffing things. And I was thinking, thinking, thinking. The words jostled on the bottles. Anti-oxidant. Night serum. Parsley seed.
And then, to the rescue, in golden letters, on dark blue glass:
You have to have chaos inside you to give birth to a star.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
(Artwork from https://www.flickr.com/photos/itamararibeiro/)