Uses of the Erotic

WITH YOU, I BREATHE:  A forty day yoga colum

#22: Uses of the Erotic

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras,“Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distraction.”

I enjoy spending time with artists, comedians, writers, and musicians, because, for the most part, they are able to focus their mind toward their creative work and sustain that direction, and I like that their focus brings them joy.

Three years ago, I started practicing yoga, four years ago, I read Audre Lorde’s Use of the Erotic. Audre Lorde writes:

For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.

It’s not easy to strive for joy. It’s not easy to keep yourself open. Nor is it easy to be numb and shut down. You make a choice to be open or shut down, or you don’t. Today I’m on the verge.

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