The podcast is meant to let people know that it's natural and essential to show up to one’s mat in any number of different physical and mental states. Dealing with one’s darkness is as much part of the process as reaching for the light. And so there’s no need to feel like a bad yogi when you find that you are not happy or not detached--all the of the time.
David questions the heavily marketed idea that yoga is primarily about wellness or feeling good or happy all of the time. There’s an idea that a good yogi detaches from all afflictions and masterfully transcends or stops negative impulses or reactive emotions. The models that populate yoga magazines and social media outlets are almost always shown to be strong, flexible, serene, happy, in control and at peace. David points out how these depictions are misleading and at odds with what actually happens when one takes up a steady daily practice. In fact, practice partly serves to help one raise up the darkness within, to face one’s shadow, and come into meaningful contact with one’s suffering.
David discusses James Hillman’s idea that human growth and wisdom is only partly about overcoming darkness or reaching for the light or attaining to the high-pinnacled peak of spiritual ascendancy. Soul, in contrast to spirit, is the other equally important part of the equation for self discovery, self mastery, and self knowledge. Questing for soul involves traveling downward into the blue, dark, shadowy valleys of the psyche. David speaks about Hillman's insistence that the soul actually gains insight and wisdom through encountering afflictions (desires, attachments, fears, anger, sadness, grief, abandonment, loneliness, jealousy, and other strong emotions) rather than merely attempting to disengage, cut, repress or otherwise get rid of these challenging states.
David reads several poems from such Bhakti poets as: Mirabai, Tulsidas, Hafiz, and Kabir to illustrate how these yogis accepted, worked with, and transformed their darkness into creative works instead of rejecting or shunning such aspects of themselves. Enjoy!