DIY Enlightenment

Enlightenment or Samadhi is a tricky concept, even when it arrives courtesy of very groovy inflatable underpants! In the Classical Yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and you attain it by controlling the mind and releasing the self through meditation. It’s definitely not as easy as Gonzo makes it seem.

Or is it?

I come at enlightenment from a different perspective, some would say a Tantric one. Instead of viewing it as something to be achieved through diligent work, I see it as simply a biproduct of the self’s natural evolution. Claire Dederer wrote about experiencing something close to enlightenment while in baddha konasana in a yoga class:

“Then, one day, sitting in Cobbler's pose, my knees splayed and the soles of my feet pressed together like sweaty lovers, I experienced ... what was it, exactly? Something less than transcendence and more than silence. A kind of concentrated awareness. The tiny hairs on my forearms stood as if electrified. For the first time that I could remember, I'd experienced a connection to something outside of and larger than myself.”

For me, the body and the mind are the two rings of truth. Each time you tug on one, the other bounces nearer, then further, then nearer like an electrified magnet. Body and mind are held together by the dynamism of this complementary -- rather than paradoxical -- relationship. The energy of that whole is what clears out the cobwebs that dull our thinking and obscure our hearts. When you have a breakthrough in a pose, does your self-conception not radically shift? Likewise after a meditation session, do you not feel more synched with your physical self? What is that feeling of connection you experience? Is that not enlightenment?

I think it is. Moreover, I think it happens all the time. How cool is that?