Exciting news — there are now two yogis in the family! Eliott took his first yoga class yesterday. Though we’ve practiced “yoga tricks” at home over the years, Eliott was thrilled to join six other three to five year olds in a forty-five minute class at Claremont Yoga. Teacher Shari did a great job, especially considering she wasn’t expecting five of the seven kids to be boys. Starting by getting the students to sit “crisscross applesauce” on their mats while buzzing like bees then hissing like snakes, Shari got them focused on their breath. Next she read a story of going to the beach. The children acted out scenes from the book, with Shari leading them through yoga poses along the way. Co-owner Tracy and I even got in on the fun by posing as waves (in downward-facing dog) under which the kids swam as fish. Shari finished the class with the kids quietly lying on their backs, eyes closed, in final relaxation pose. Eliott did a great job listening to the teacher and executing the poses. Most important, he had a wonderful time and can’t wait for next week’s class. Yeah!
I’m watching, if from afar
It’s time to rejoice
Smell the flowers in the breeze
Spring has sprung today
Last month, I shared a volume with my writers’ workshop. Called A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras, the book was a Christmas present (thanks, Mom!) that includes varieties of collective nouns, quite a few of which relate to animals. Here are some of the favorites from the workshop members.
- a clan of meerkats
- a romp of otters
- a hum of bees
- a worship of writers
Many of the entries include not only definitions but also etymologies. For writers, the derivation includes this explanation:
If you’re in the habit of reading the acknowledgment pages of books, you’ll know that a writer today workshop her readership, her editor, and her agent, and she might heap flattery and praise upon those who help her reach an ever-wider audience and, hopefully, a bigger paycheck.
I hope one day to heap praise on you, my readers!
Explain what the transition from “mysticism” to “spirituality” is, and express YOUR opinion about it: Do you think this transition is a positive phenomenon? Or, do you think we should go back from “spirituality” to “mysticism” of some sort? (Your answer may be in accordance with Prof. Garb’s opinion, or against it, or somewhere in between.) Explain your opinion.
Make sure your explanation or opinion includes reference to the difference between the “social sciences approach” and the “historical approach” (mentioned in lecture #7, in the segment titled “Methodology of the Course”).
The historical approach reaches back to the mystics and texts, or various mustard blobs, to study forms of mysticism in their original contexts. Placed within psychological theory, one can study how the mystics themselves described and perceived their mystical experiences. A historical focus is necessary for understanding the depth of mystical texts, the rich ingredients that go into the making of the mustard.
I believe it is important to taste the flavors of vinegar and ground seeds that go into the mustard blobs before one begins to make a spiritual sandwich. Though social scientists might argue that the spiritual sandwich retains the taste of the mustard, I believe that the mustard — that is, mysticism — is muted. Without a historical approach, one loses the nuances. Reaching back into the historical context of modern European mysticism helps us better understand the mystics and their writings. It is worth studying modern European mysticism in its historical context before conflating it with other forms of spirituality.