Dāna, Mana, yo Mama.


I wasn’t alive when that song was written but I remember hearing it in my teens and thinking about a new world, one free from war and suffering. Today the dreamers, schemers and revolutionaries talk of this place as ‘New Earth’. A place of Conscious creation, harmony, peace and utopian natural order. I watch a lot of old star trek because it echoes a future I can get behind, one of the upright humans with small egos and large hunger for exploring curiosity.

I believe fully in the potential of humans getting their shit together, solving all our problems and returning to balance both the internal landscape and on the planet.

How we do this is still unformed in my mind, but everywhere I go I hear the whispers… Biodynamics, permaculture, sacred economics, deep ecology, regenerative design and so on… This is not just hippies sitting around smoking weed and imagining utopia, this is the best minds on the planet creating technology that marries our greatest technology, nature, with human ingenuity to recreate our world – healed and deeply self-realized. The union of human consciousness and nature is what I refer to as super-nature, that is another story for another time, but holy shit the idea of being one with the living earth system blows my mind every time and herein may lie the miracle of healing we should be prioritizing.

Enter me, little old me, just one person doing some stuff on the planet for a small period of time and let me say ‘what a fucking privilege… thank you, thank you, thank you!’ So hmmm I guess if I could put anything on my resume that I knew to be 100 per cent true about myself and pretty cool is that I am a friend of the wind. Yup! My greatest skite is that I’m in a relationship with one of the earth’s greatest technologies. I use this as an example in this article because it’s one of the most precious things I have and it cant be sold or traded. Yes, I could write a book about it and sell that, but the actual thing itself of knowing, talking and dancing with the wind and the experience of introducing someone to this good friend is so ephemeral and almost intangible that it transcends transaction. For me, the greatest gift I could leave on this earth would be for others to know that it is possible to have a friendship with the wind. I sit back and imagine if that was my legacy, not even to be known as the person whose thing it was, but just to leave the energy of a healing relationship between earth and human. A soul and wind. That sure would be a life well spent. Wind comes in as I type, kinda like a cat and brushes my wet eyes and caresses my skin in playful acts of recognition, reciprocation and love.

So often when I’m writing or teaching I’m coming from a half-formed place and that’s my strength I believe as a practitioner and teacher. I have a solid foundation of true living concepts, and mostly I teach from a place of curiosity and therefore the information has the capacity to grow from moment to moment and from student to student. What I teach has the capacity to be informed by the moment and the students themselves. Hence a co-creative experience arises. After a class I feel sometimes that Yoga as a science has been evolved, the state of consciousness of me and the class has lifted and the environment has been likely transformed by our collective enquiry and living transactions. The body of information and the body of the evolving consciousness of humanity join together to make something slightly new. In that respect, I am more likely a storyteller than a teacher. A class should look like ‘Last time I was here I discovered this and I saw that… it made me feel like this and taught me that…’ Then a student might feel more license to imagine their own unique relationship with her body, which ultimately is the point right?

It is this subtle exchange and growth that sometimes is lessened by the exchange of money.

What happens is that it becomes ‘I pay you, because I am the student and you are the teacher’ and the force of identity and ego keeps us in the separation of delegated roles. Also in a fixed economy of agreed value true reciprocity does not have a chance to flourish. I can offer ideas or examples here that might illustrate my point. A student may glimpse a whole new reality and have a change of consciousness because of a class she attends, at $20 bucks a pop, that cheapens the experience to a 20 dollar experience, but if that student has a license to go home and think about what she really wants to give that typifies that experience, she may deem it worthy of gifting the teacher the second car that she never uses or a wage from her rental incomes. In that type of transaction, radical shifts in wealth dispersion can happen and as I see it, this must happen for true equality. Alternatively, a teacher may get such a buzz from teaching and exchanging energy with a student that he invites him to live with him, learn from him and becomes the student’s benefactor.

These are pretty radical examples, but can you see the potentiality of opening to new ways?

To truly explore this I want to open up the concept of dana or koha, this is a gift or term for generosity from Hindu and Māori culture respectively. In my experience with this type of exchange, I have experienced two very different energies associated with the same act of giving. I like to describe these energies as contracted and expansive. They are so different in how they feel that it’s almost impossible they can both be a form of reciprocity for the same thing. I have been on both ends of both energies. I have been a contracted gifter and received contracted gifts and there is little to no magic in this transaction, it supports and encourages an energy of scarcity and victimhood. I also have been in expansive gifting and it feels amazing. When I dig deep and give more than what is comfortable there is a sense of love being generated, a sense of support, care and fraternity. For me, it feels like the language of the new earth and a step toward liberation. If you’ve never played with these two energies I suggest you try. You may go to the flower shop and buy a bunch of flowers for a friend, feel what it feels like to entertain the cheapest bunch you can afford and then feel the celebration of that person occur when you push the limits of your capacities. It’s pretty real.

This reminds me of another song…

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…

Remember that one? We, as a species, have been driven from our bodies and our true nature by trauma and conditioning and if I can inspire any form of recognition of the power in unity and our shared reality, then I’m winning. If I can inspire one student into a place of honouring themselves, their practice and the lineage of knowledge I bring as a “teacher”, then we are all winning. This is my intention to inspire value back into a world that has been numbed by planned obsolescence and consumerism. To shift paradigms and encourage the dreaming of what is possible.

Anneliese Kuegler

NB. Mana is a form of respect and inner power, this is the language of te Reo Māori, the first language of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Yo Mama is slang for anything that is important and hilarious, like… Your Mum.

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