Monday, January 25, 2010

From Liz: on the Limited Utility of Siddhis

I can stick both of my feet behind my head. I can stand on my hands. I can meditate for eons, and breath with deliberate focus and purpose. Thanks to yoga I am more sensitive, intuitive and even handed in my responses to the world. But it turns out that I still cannot beam healing energy across the world to save someone's life.

My brother, A, has just gotten out of the Marines. He served a tour in Iraq and came back physically unscathed. In fact, his whole unit did. I think that we all thought we had gotten away with something. Like maybe we sneaked one by the Universe. I held my breath (bad yogini!) the whole time he was gone, but in the end, I guess I still believed he was invincible.

He got married this year, and is expecting a baby with his wife. This prompted him to gracefully exit the Marines, as soon as his commitment was up. I may have different politics from him, but I have always been so proud of his strength and commitment to this thing that is so much greater than him. I understand and value his dedication. And I think he's a bit of a badass.

His former unit is now in Afghanistan. On Friday, a group of his best friends were hit by a suicide bomber. Two of them were killed instantly, another was terribly wounded. We thought he might pull through. But he will probably not. They managed to get him as far as Germany, but are soon going to pull him off of life support. They are just waiting for his parents to arrive from the U.S.

When I heard about this, I took it more personally than I could have anticipated. And I told A that I was going to dedicate my practice to his wounded friend. I stood in samasthiti and visualized him, and said, "this is for you, D, get better." I exhaled headfirst into magical thinking.

Afterward, I scanned the guy's facebook wall, watching message after message pop up from his friends (how fast news travels, these days). The refain was, "we love you, get better, see you soon." As a group, we were willing him alive and well, and back home. But I suppose that Facebook prayers and yoga magic aren't always enough.

I am sad. For A, for D, for all of his friends who are still there and carrying this imagery. And for D's parents, who have to take the longest plane ride of their lives to say goodbye to their child.

My practice sustains me physically and emotionally. I guess I need to work harder at the supernatural stuff though. "Do your practice, all is coming," right?