Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

Landed at SFO shortly after 7:30 this evening. And, with that, two weeks in Bali, gone in a flash.

Lewis and I sat in Malasana as we waited for Stacy to clear customs, and Garland Pose -- that deep yogi squat, hands at heart center, getting into the hips, the knees, the ankles -- has never felt so good than after 20 hours' or so of sitting, sitting, sitting, from Denpasar through Taipei and finally back to San Francisco. And now in these wee small hours of the morning, eerily still as the Tendernob sleeps, the City offers a flash of blanketed silence for catching up and unpacking and coming back into this version of Life As We Know It.

Convinced that I would not let myself be a jet lag weenie, it's back to the mat we go tomorrow, right off the bat, which is, I suspect, the best way to channel the sort of mad prana that streams from such a sweaty, sunny, life-giving, breath-sustaining retreat of sorts. After Bali's thick wet evenings, the cold night air back home here in SF feels particularly dry and cool. I looked out the plane window last night (was it last night?) flying to Taipei and the stars hung low just beyond the wings. It felt celestial, and intimate, and simple, and otherworldly, and strange.

Full speed ahead here now through to June, with all kinds of good master classes and workshops and articles and whatnot on the calendar. Tantric scholar and general badass Carlos Pomeda was scheduled to teach a two-day yoga philosophy workshop at Desa Seni this weekend, which means we just missed him there. I was sorry to do so. I'd planned to share this excellent interview with you before I left for Bali, and the time got away from me. But perhaps it's even more appropriate, then, now, to direct you to Elephant Journal for this intelligent and thought-provoking recent conversation with Carlos himself. Here's one of my favorite blurbs from the interview, on Pomeda's personal evolution from Catholic altar boy to Tantric philosopher:
And then what happened, of course, was that in meditation...I understood that God is not an old man sitting in a cloud pushing buttons to send different events to different people. That really, this being, this supreme being, this transcendental ground of consciousness, is what some traditions call “God” and other traditions call “Shiva” and other traditions call “the void” — and the name really doesn’t matter. But there is an ultimate reality that is also so obvious, because when you have that experience, when you touch that space, it’s like coming home.
Read the whole interview. Pomeda's thoughts are so good, so ecumenical, really so very worth your time. Pretend you're in Bali sitting in that open-air Trimurti hut, studying with Carlos perched on a meditation cushion in front of you and white orchids just beyond, snuggling with geckos and batting away aggressive mosquitoes with a Frangipani blossom tucked behind your left ear and a mango-banana smoothie in one hand.

Here; these photos might help. As warned, I didn't take many. But these few might give you an idea, a sense, a feel, of the lushness, the warmth, the languid tropical beauty. Three hours or so into being home again, I'm already planning my return. There's so much to see, and do, and learn, not just in Bali, in Asia, but geez -- all over this big world of which we know so little. How small we are. How small these lives we live are. How little room for ego, or grasping, or attachment there is, especially in the wake of realizing how much we take for granted, and how quickly all of that can be whisked away (hello, Japanese tsunami).

Neti-neti; we are not these bodies; we are not these homes; we are not these languages; we are not these dollar bills or these rupiah; we are not these histories; we are not these imagined futures; we are not these samskaras -- the grooves, the ruts, the habits, psychological or spiritual or physical or emotional -- that haunt our lives. It takes a new perspective to jolt us out of our current [fragile, fleeting, exceedingly temporary] realities to remind us of that neti-neti truth, yes, which is perhaps the greatest gift of travel. We are not even the names on our passports, or the changing time zones, or these bruises, or those bug bites. We are not those chants, lingering in memory, echoing in the distance. We are just this moment. That one, already gone. Were you there?

Interview with Carlos Pomeda: Scholar, Tantric Philosopher and Meditation Teacher (EJ)


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