A while ago, I taught a workshop inspired by Douglas Brooks’ talk on the Triadic Heart of the Goddess: Kali, Saraswati and Lakśmi. Like a good Tantrika, I proceeded to describe how these goddesses manifest as us, and that when we take on their characteristics, we see them come to light in our actions. One of the attributes of Kali, as I understand it, is her amazing ability (in some depictions of her) a. to gross us out, and b. to vomit and regurgitate.
Have you ever come home from a life-changing movie/lecture/class/training and said to your roommate/lover/friend, “I’ve just got to share this with you! I had the most amazing experience and I can’t keep it inside”? Sometimes life, yoga, this stuff is too big for us to keep inside (like Kali the big Black Hole attracting everything in her direction.) We have to share it, to teach it, to learn and re-learn it. We have to puke it back up, partially digested, and take a good look at what we’ve made of it so far.
At the end of a 2 ½ hour lecture and asana class, hoping to integrate these stories and information into my students’ bodies, one of my students came up to me and said, “I wish I could puke like you do.”
My response, respectfully, ir/reverently, was “It takes practice.” I think this image applies to the learning process and the process of sharing one’s insights from practicing yoga. As a student of yoga, I am constantly in a process of digesting the information that my yoga gives me. When I teach, all I have to offer is this—partially digested, regurgitated insight. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m still, always, in a process of learning. This process is scary!
Sometimes I wish I just knew the "right" answer, that I could simply offer something to students with a definitive sense of authority. Yet so often, yoga doesn't provide answers. As Judith Lasater says, "Asanas aren't answers; they're questions." We have to get out of our heads and into our bodies and hearts. (Hence all the severed heads.) That deep exploration, that undefined process is scary just like Kali is scary. She’s the darkness. She’s the blackness of the unknown. She represents Death. But, you see, when we’re dead, that’s it for corporeal learning. But Kali also represents rebirth and a mother's love for the birth of humanity. So, can we invite ourselves in our humanity into the unknown and see it as a gift, as a learning process; as a process? I am a student of partially digested process.