Sometimes I cant directly talk to something as it’s in process, not fully formed or what I like to call ‘landing’ in my awareness. So why talk about it until it’s fully formed? Ah good question, because it’s so interesting when something lives as a question or even more so as multiple questions. When something is in process we can move around it with curiosity and this gives the subject of our enquiry potentiality to feedback into its own creation process. Ok yes, it’s going to be one of those articles, a juicy, somatic and intellectual enquiry full of pauses, reflections and glee.
The topic started out as ‘Money exchange and Yoga’ and with enquiry feels more like the topic of real interest is ‘Expansive reciprocity as a new way of being in the world’. Great, there’s my title! My dear and new teacher Kara-Leah Grant posed three questions in her article The Co-Option of Awakening Methodologies (like Tantra) by Capitalism they were, ‘Could I unhook my source of income from teaching? What would that look like? How would that inform the way teaching happened?’ she surmised that there is an ‘unreconcilable marriage between capitalism and awakening’. This got me thinking and feeling and thinking some more because money has always been tricky for me.
As a Yoga teacher, I was never been very money successful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m good at what I do, I’m really good and there are a large handful of people out there that will testify to this, but why only a handful of people? Why wasn’t I able to fully support myself as a teacher from my teaching? This question buzzed around my head for years and I thought it had something to do with my blocks to money, or peoples blocks to being taught by someone who wasn’t 5’8 and 55 kgs. Was it that or was it something profoundly different?
I am a very philosophical person and when clarity starts to arise in me it’s usually from a very big lens of perspective, so get your big eyes on for this.
In 2020 I had one of my biggest questions in life answered with shock, awe and perfect clarity. ‘Why don’t I fit into society?’ was the question that had plagued me forever and it was in a moment of deep communion with nature that I realised something life-changing. As a creature of pure nature and spirit society didn’t fit into me. ‘Fuck me!’ I wept, me and nature just laughed and wept and laughed some more. It was so simple and yet had illuded me for so long and the liberation in that moment is with me forever. As a natural progression from that realisation, I now live in a process that I like to call ‘reentering the Gaian matrix’, which is another story for another time. This understanding resonated with me when I read the aforementioned article. Maybe I don’t actually fit money, maybe money doesnt fit Yoga… I mean just entertain the idea for a second, ruminate on it with me… What helped me get more clarity with that statement was to ask what does fit Yoga and I felt a very strong notion of reciprocity.
Ok then reciprocity, but what does that look like? To open that up I need to feel around it with two other concepts dana and pratibhā. These are new words for me from classical tantra and they correspond to my old words of ‘Koha and flow’. Koha is an indigenous word from my land meaning ‘gift’. Now koha or dana is a concept Ive worked with for ages and I will tell you straight up, there is expansive and contracted giving and they feel so different it is astounding they are the same act. And for sake of succinctness I’ll leave that with you to feel into as I want to write about that in the future, and for today, let us just imagine we are talking about full magical expansive giving into the dana space. The other concept of pratibhā can be interpreted as movement through the world in unbound action, in harmonious flow or from the essential self.
Oh yeah, it’s getting juicy now.
Ok so here we are, we are all aligned with our essence based nature, we are dancing along in divine flow and we are delivered to a teacher… then a dance happens, expansive reciprocity where each gives freely what is needed by the other. Now here’s what I surmise might be the linchpin in this whole thought experiment ‘trust and non-attachment’. Non-attachment to the teacher-student relationship and non-attachment to the transactions of reciprocity means that the flow of pratibhā can keep the whole dance going and flowing in sacred balance. That is to say, once the correct exchange has happened, the pair move apart with ease and grace. It is in the Shiva nature (the container of everything) we can rest back in trusting our essential nature to its perfect relationship with all that is. Ahhh yes. Trust and flow my friends.. Trust and flow.
So this feels really possible and delightful for me, it also feels unformed and somewhat latent and in being so it has a beautiful ability to be informed by you dear reader and anyone else who is dreaming the new world into being and new ways of becoming.
In conclusion, I would like to drop one more gigantic concept that fits in here. We live in a world of corruption in which manipulation of power has held us to ransom by our own fear. If we found a way to live in a state that transcended money, maybe the illusion of being trapped in a broken and unjust system would also dissolve. Maybe?
Moving forward I am offering my courses at a cost price and inviting the payment of dana. All students are invited to pay the baseline or scholarship price and then at the end of the course to give a gift that they feel honours the journey.