The Liminalist # 83.5: A Life Full of Symptoms (with Ross Dixon)


Part two of conversation with a Ross Dixon, on the degeneration of Game of Thrones, the reduction of the real, departing from the books, the golden age of The Simpsons, decreasing powers of discernment, a cynical marketing strategy for sandwich-making, compulsive questioning, the student’s job, can enlightenment be taught, yoga and culture, posture obsession, the teacher-student relationship, transference, the benefit of shared experience, the necessity of trust, the negative path, a line between yoga and therapy, a structure for growth, trusting the mind not to hurt the body, the currency of yoga, a series of wrong turns, repercussions of giving the mind what it wants, a dead bird burden, a physical adventure, how the body gets the mind’s attention, a prison of mental effort, signing up for discomfort, child’s pose, the history of the body, infant development and life cycles, the lost functionality, joint mobility, Sensible Yoga, kinetic memory retrieval, trauma release, foam-rolling, finding trigger points, a hood of muscle, a question of childhood trauma, the 80s climate in Britain, a sense of threat, Catholic abuse scandal, exploring the scar tissue of the psyche, lost events and primal anger, off-gassing the pressure, the animal aspect, a reservoir of rage, fight or flight & rest & digest, what the mind denies, a deepening of attention, the power of relaxation, revolutionary pressure and sabretooth tigers, self-inflicted stress, a specter in the past, restful motion, food’s effects on consciousness, culture and the body, sexual abuse and eating disorders, a life full of symptoms.

Songs:  “The Kommema and his Religion” and “Of the Lakes,” by SunWalker; “Your Rest is my Rest,” by My Jacket is Yours.

7 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 83.5: A Life Full of Symptoms (with Ross Dixon)”

  1. Aleister Crowley was probably the only Westerner who really understood yoga, that is to say, it’s deep-structure purpose. What I say is substantiated if your read the second part of Book 4, “Mysticism,” and his “Lectures on Yoga.” Of course, the idea of infinite progress precludes finding anything of value in Crowley’s decades-old writings about yoga, but Crowley was a giant compared to the present-day pygmies of yoga instruction, including many Hindus who’ve succumbed to the Puritanism of the Ramakrishna Mission. Crowley rejected the notion of the “mystic East,” and the “spirituality of India,” and that is the salient thing to do. Those phrases are an index to Western obfuscation of everything “exotic.” and a phony hankering after attainment, whatever that means. “Lectures on Yoga,” Part 1, “Yoga for Yahoos.” Yeah!

    But then how do I know this? What arrogance! Alright, it’s merely the wisp of a suspicion that Crowley really blasted the BS outta yoga. But, having thought about this, and having practiced yoga decades before it’s present popularity, I can say the Aleister Crowley really discerned the point of an uncomfortable posture, really ANY posture, in the induction of mystic excess.

    But why to I say this (do I sound hysterical?)? It’s because he noticed, what everyone knows but fears to acknowledge, that any posture (whatever–all postures unconsciously held at work or home ARE asanas) become excruciatingly uncomfortable if held statically over a period of time. That’s true, even in sleep. I rest my case in the pretzel of this argumentative asana.

    Essentially, we are plagued by a monkey restlessness that ultimately reposes in rigor mortis, our last asana.

  2. Hi Jasun and Ross,

    I’d like to apologize for my previous “Crowley rant” and say that I had a Trump moment and leave it at that. But I’d like to say more: I was doing yoga in the late 60s and 70s from grade school through my early 20s but I never had a teacher. So my phrase “pygmy yoga instructors” is not founded in personal experience and not only insults an admirable hunter-gatherer people but many earnest teachers of yoga as well, such as Ross whose comments seemed down-to-earth, unassuming, and informative. I wish him well in his new calling.

    I really enjoyed both podcasts with Ross which have inspired me to seek out a good yoga teacher and get back into an activity that might offer me a way to deal with my excessive drinking. (My last post was written while consuming a bottle of Cava.)

    Finally, my rant did contain some ideas that interest me; that our bodies (or at least mine) can never really achieve repose and calm as a baseline state, and that might be due to, as Crowley suggests, the restless state of our minds. Anyway, here’s to tranquillity.

    • Hello Joris,

      Apology accepted. Thanks for being open about the addiction stuff. Think we all live with that (was going to say demon- but probably too loaded a term).

      If you can lay on the ground and breathe calmly through your nose for a few minutes (although I certainly needed a class at first for this) you may notice that there are some layers of experience to observe, under which may be a kind of emotional baseline, however shakey or whatever that would be the departure point for a yoga practice.

      Thanks for your comment

      Good luck finding a teacher, (curious about where you are in case I know of any 😉 )

  3. One of the recurring “jokes” in my Yoga class from the teachers is “Now we will hold this for one hour.” The joke isn’t funny because it has serious intent, i.e., if and when you are really good at this asana, you will be able to hold it for that long. I.e., in India, we held it for this long. I.e., etc, etc.

    It is also an aspect of the mental self-torture I sometimes experience in an asana, imagining, what if i had to hold this pose forever? What if I was nailed into this position! How Christly!

    So there’s good and bad in this, as in all things (except Crowley, who is all bad. ;))

  4. on the game of thrones thing :

    I’m sticking around to see if I guessed things right. Jamie and Cersei Targaryen (not Lannister), Flat (Game of Thrones) Earth, Is Bran in the Mad King’s head in the past ? All that jazz..

  5. Hi Ross,

    I just caught up with the podcast so I’m late to respond to your question and don’t know if you’ll see this, but here goes: I live in Austin, Texas. If you know anyone that you’d recommend in Austin, I’d like to hear about them. Thank you for your kind recommendations. Yes, savasana and cobra are among my favorite postures.

    But even so, yoga and other forms of body therapy have not been able to relieve the uncomfortable somatoform sensations that I feel in my arms since age 22 (I’m 58 now) when Mt. St. Helen’s, the volcano in Washington State, blew up. I was living in Portland, Oregon at the time and the explosion had a violent impact on me: spontaneous astral projections; sleep paralysis; vivid, colorful dreams that seemed injected into my consciousness from elsewhere and that were emotionally traumatic; daytime shivering and chattering of teeth in the midst of a mild Portland summer. In the aftermath of this traumatic episode, I sought out physicians and psychiatrists but none of them could offer me relief from the sensations or explain what happened to me to my satisfaction. It’s still a mystery to me. That summer has left a legacy of possibly permanent liminality to my life.

    There was synchronicity involved as well. I was a Tibetan Buddhist at the time and had helped advertise a 3-day seminar on death and dying given by an Oxford-educated lama. At the end of the seminar, my friend and I, while driving to my apartment, were first on the scene of a car accident. The car had rounded a corner and plowed into a parked car. The impact was so strong that the woman driver was thrown out the passenger-side door and lay half in the car, half out, bleeding through her nose and mouth. We later found out that her brakes had failed due to the volcanic ash that had lined the brake drums! My friend who was driving me was quick to act in calling EMS but I don’t know how serious the woman’s injuries were. But in the aftermath of a seminar on death and dying it proved too much for me to cope with. Shortly thereafter I started experiencing the weird stuff that I mentioned.

    Anyway, forgive me for broaching too much information. The lama himself noticed my agitation at the end of the seminar, given in the midst of the volcano’s explosion, ash covering the greenery, and told me, “Just sit. Relax. Sit, meditate!”

  6. Late to the party, but again, great stuff, Jasun. Sifting through the archives and really digging everything I’ve found, including the song breaks. Please stay with this. Thanks again.

Leave a Comment