It’s been a good week or so. The formal and afterparty were a lot of fun, just what I needed after exams. And my mother was visiting this weekend, so she and I had a good time exploring New York. We saw Curtains, a murder mystery musical about a theater troupe, set in the later 1950s. Think Kiss Me, Kate meets Radioland Murders.
Last week I went to a talk on the Science of Meditation, partly because there was food and partly because it seemed an interesting topic. The speaker, an alum of my med school, presented a bunch of data on melatonin as a contributer to tissue regeneration, which was intriguing. But then he started talking about the pineal gland being the “third eye” they talk about in Vedic scriptures (uh, did you ever think that might be a … metaphor?), and yoga as promoting vagal maneuvers. Something about how standing on your head makes your diaphragm go slack? Didn’t make a lot of sense to me, either. I’m cool with herbalism as a potential source of drug development, but this business of chakras and reiki and acupuncture is uncomfortably vague. Not to mention Orientalist. It is “Eastern,” therefore it brings wisdom to the spiritually-deficient West. I am very, very tired of East-West Othering.
I know yoga and meditation are now trendy, stress-reducing ways for yuppies to achieve nirvana, but because of my background, they are very much a religious activity for me. And therefore intensely personal. And not scientific at all. Take yoga, for instance. It’s not supposed to be about flexibility. It means “union,” and it is supposed to be a way of moving past materialism and illusion into a spiritual plane in order to commune with God. I’m glad that people have some way of keeping fit and healthy, but it just seems, well, odd to me.