I’ve always considered myself buddhist — that’s right, buddhist with a small “B”. Buddhists who deserve a capital “B” are the Dalai Lama, Lama Surya Das, Thich Nhat Hanh, people like that. They are the heavy-hitters who deserve a capital “B”. I’m just a little ant at the bottom of the yoga mountain. Hindsight made me realize that I was a buddhist in high school in the late ’60s-early ’70s, only at that time I didn’t know that my beliefs could be called Buddhism (with or without capitalization). For one thing, I always believed in karma, particularly when my friends and I were called “hippie commie freaks” by no-necked acne-scarred football players. You know the type — the ones who would harass you during lunch, throw food at you, then ask later if you could score some pot or acid for them. “They’ll get theirs someday,” I always thought. Karma, what goes around comes around.
I om’ed with Allen Ginsberg at a party (how groovy is that?), and drifted in and out of yoga and meditation practice during my university years. But for some reason, yoga, et. al. just didn’t stick to me back then. Who knows why? Timing, I guess. I wasn’t ready. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Karma. It was only when I commenced a serious yoga and meditation practice that everything suddenly clicked. It is said that yoga helps you discover or re-discover your True Self. All those books I read what seemed like a hundred years ago finally made sense. All the words from the guru-led lectures I had attended came back to hit me right in my third eye center. The Me That Used to Be finally came back home. I started re-reading all my old buddhism books, and dived head first into my new yoga philosophy books, devouring everything. Now my old/new brain could wrap itself around the Five Precepts, attachment, non-attachment, karma, self-inquiry, non-duality, the Gita. Now I knew why Ginsberg om’ed because I heard it during meditation. . . and it was bliss.
So at an age when many people start thinking about what they will do when they retire, I feel that my life will start when I journey to the heart of yoga. Naive? Maybe. Stupid? Possibly. Reckless? A little. I wouldn’t have it any other way.