March 2, 2015 § 3 Comments
I first encountered the notion of ‘being a zero’ in this post, nine months before my maiden trip to Mysore. It was an illuminating notion and, along with tips from my teacher, went a long way to shape my expectations about what practicing at KPJAYI would be like. Looking back now, I realize that, as long as I’m prepared for it, consciously subsuming my ego and lowering my expectations for recognition is entirely doable, provided there is a clear start and end date. Returning to a Western life intimately connected with social media and suddenly ‘being a zero’ doesn’t work as well. It’s uncomfortable to be a zero in a world of ‘likes’ and ‘social engagement’, where everyone is building their ‘personal brand’. As a self-employed extrovert, it is too easy to get sucked into the metrics and vrttis of disembodied interactions on a screen, imbibing every single beautiful/funny/heart-wrenching/banal/disappointing/horrifying update that appears in my newsfeed. Monitoring the number of likes/comments/shares on each post. Comparing statistics. Letting whatever spare ounce of energy I have leak into a screen in my palm, 24/7.
Given my extroverted tendencies, then, I’m entirely fascinated with a new-found attraction towards being a zero in my current life. Perhaps this cold-turned-dry-hacking-cough I’m nursing has something to do with it. When you’re bed-ridden and the only window to your social world is your smartphone, you start to see its effects on you a lot more clearly. In any case, seeking out Zero-ness dovetails nicely with a recent shift towards cultivating intentionality in my relationships instead of succumbing to some abstract idea that I should be friends with everyone I meet and seek out their approval. I’m starting to recognize that approval seeking is a big part of my social agenda and it’s one that is unsustainable. Bye Bye blank checks of friendship. Hello Intention.
So: being a zero. A lot of it so far is watching the FOMO-fueled discomfort that arises out of my intention to cultivate some degree of invisibility both online and off. Seeing the discomfort (and the thoughts that flow with it) rise and fall over and over again, and eventually, this state transforms from one of suffering and anguish into an object of amusement. Another element of my experiment with Zero-ness is a fascination with home practice and the intimacy that it provides. Without the performative element intrinsic to practicing in a Mysore room, I’m discovering a whole new depth to the linking of breath and movement and it’s addictive. Never thought of myself as the sort of person cut out for home practice, but perhaps in the current incarnation of my personhood, that’s where I’ve ended up.