David Montgomery, a geomorphologist (a geologist that specializes in the study of changing topography over time), was recently in conversation with Krista Tippett for her radio show, On Being. Among many insightful thoughts, David shared his interest in promoting cross pollination between science and religion. His recent book specifically works towards bridging what he has often experienced as a rather contentious relationship between the two.
My teacher, Michael Stone, recently co-led a retreat working on bringing together Judaism and Buddhism study and practices. Not in an attempt to Frankenstein the practices together, but to engage in dialogue.
“Religion is a long conversation going on for thousands of year about what’s important, by people struggling with figuring out what’s important, and how to open up to what’s important with each other.”
The ability to open up that conversation between religions allows us to see our particular perspective’s blind spots. I believe that if we’re very honest we would agree, without loss of faith or love, our own particular religion is not perfect.
We would similarly, without loss of faith or love, duly agree we are not perfect. This idea of cross-pollination is just what we need more of in our practice. Reading yoga books alone only gets us so far. Meditation and introspection alone only get us so far. Practicing asana without feedback or guidance only gets us so far.
When I engage in conversation with my fellow explorers, their conversations come back to me over the weeks to come – snippets and threads that inspire me, move me pass blocks, or just point out blind spots I had no inkling to even look for.
2) Be willing to cross-pollinate. Engage in conversation with other yogis – but also with Buddhist, Christians, Atheists, Scientists, Artists, Lovers, Poets, Athletes – anyone who has a passion and exploratory spirit is ready with insights to share, even if they don’t know it. Ram Dass was giving a lecture and noticed an old lady in the front row. He knew there was no way she way there to hear about all the drugs and alternate realities and yoga practices and gurus and such. And yet everytime he went a step deeper, he looked over to see the lady nodding – totally on board and getting it. At the end they spoke, and she said how he was so right on. He asked what her practice was. She told him it was knitting.
3) Join us for Yoga Between the Lines and Satsang: Meditation & Dharma Discussion for some cross pollinating in Brooklyn!
Yoga Between the Lines starts a new book: The Only Dance There Is by Ram Dass in May
Satsang meets this Thursday: 7:30pm at Mala Yoga – $15