The Bell

I have developed a bit of celebrity crush lately.  Have been listening to this guy’s lectures and interviews; had my mind blown; can’t get enough; wonder if what I hear is crazy, or enlightened, or both; wonder if he is attractive in person or as a person.  The answer to that last bit: not necessarily, probably troubled; it is kinda fun to wonder though, because the age range is right, and the geography not entirely prohibitive.  

That happens.  I suspect the intensity of my experience when that happens is stronger than it would be for someone with healthier boundaries.  Or, as my celebrity crush might frame it, more separated from the primary provider as an individual.  (Or he might not frame it that way, what do I know.)

Whatever.  Not the point.  And not just me.  Ten years ago or so, my older friend Jasmine, told one about her celebrity crush.

Jasmine saw a mural by that one artist, and immediately felt as if she was struck by a lightning.  She had to find that guy and try to meet him!  So she started researching.  (Remember, “research” was harder back in the day.)  She found out that the artist was greatly overweight.  Didn’t matter to her!  She found out that he was a notorious womanizer.  Didn’t matter!  Then she found out that he was dead.  OK that was a deal breaker.  Diego Rivera.  Right.

Getting to the point though, this all reminded me of a parable my teacher Darren Main uses, when talking about the ethics and student-teacher relationship.  I am not aware of it being in any of the Darren’s written works, but he brings it up in his 27 February 2015 interview with Darcy Lyon, around 42:35, so I’ll quote that, skipping Darcy’s affirmations:

Darren: My theory about Pavlov’s Dog.  

Pavlov’s Dog.  They feed the dog and ring the bell, and eventually the dog salivates when he hears the bell, because he associates it with being fed.

I believe that we, as yoga teachers, are the bell.  

People come to my class; they feel better; they start to associate feeling better with being with me, instead of with rolling out their yoga mat and doing their down dogs and chaturangas.  

And it’s a totally understandable misperception on their part.  They’ve done nothing wrong.  They see me; they feel better.  But it has nothing to do with me any more than that bell made that dog less hungry.

You are the bell, not the dog food.  Get over yourself.

This is clearly extendable beyond that particular subject, isn’t it?  I can think of so many people who at some point, in the middle of their anxiety-ridden dealing with their own messy humanity and existence, inexplicably, served as a conduit for … I don’t know… grace, transformation, meaning.  Sometimes unknowingly.  Sometimes without even receiving that which they were transmitting.  Sometimes, perhaps, desperately wanting for the other part, the messy human one, to be seen (I might be projecting).


Nonetheless, the message got through their art and skill and revealed the truth that was there all the time, unseen. Through that song.  That painting.  That poem.  That thought expressed eloquently.  They were the bell.  A signal that the real message is arriving.  Maybe the wire, too, if we want to get technical, not much more.

Another thought: what if we all possess and have exercised that capacity of being the bell.  What if.  “Get over yourself”, Darren says.  Of course.  This has nothing to do with oneself.

Still, pretty wonderful.  And not ours.  And wonderful.

3 thoughts on “The Bell

  1. You are the bell, not the dog food — is this also the noise of the mind in meditation which you have to let ring and be separated from enough to be directed towards mere presence. and that brings a connection to true self.

    Liked by 1 person

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