drop and give me a set of meditations

by tobias crabtree

i just noticed in that little thingie at the side of my computer that, for a nominal fee, i can get certified to be a life coach. man, that sounds great. i am assuming that i will be free and clear of all my own problems upon graduation from that program, then i could tell other people how to get better at living. sounds pretty good to me, walking around just tellin’ folks how it’s done. life? aw, hell, it’s easy. need some advice? listen to me, i got this little certificate and i’ll coach you through it.

there does seem to be an influx of know-it-alls now that we have these handy-dandy little computers floating around with us. i mean, we can just google something or wikipedia the hell out it and then lay down some serious knowledge for the fools who don’t know or are too slow with their thumbs to have googled it first. yeah, we can just up and prove each other wrong at the drop of a hat, even if it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. “dude, i checked my phone and it says that a cherry is a berry…so you were wrong.” uh, yeah.

but the know-it-all syndrome isn’t relegated to just google addicts, it’s crept into the guru areas as well. go on line and you will see thousands of yoga poses in every possible spot, mostly dramatic, with some little nugget of pure, unadulterated wisdom to send you on your way to nirvana. perfect form, man, and some pure zen-ness to go with it. don’t get all riled up at me yet, i try and practice yoga (not on top of mountains or in the surf, but most often near wherever i’ve just slept and not with my camera snapping selfies of my booty in down dog) and i find it incredibly good for me but i’ve learned a couple things from it:

– it’s personal. it’s to help us be more aware of what we are and what we are doing here.

– yoga was designed to help us be able to sit and meditate with less physical pain, because sitting and meditating for an hour in the same position hurts like a son of a bitch (if you’re me, and i am me).

the original design of yoga was not to show the world how good we look doing it, nor how evolved we are because of it, nor how much better we are at it than that idiot in the corner who thinks he’s in cobra. it ain’t how loud your om is, man. not everyone can be a guru, some of us need to be the ones learning at the feet of the masters who are learning from us.

the present state of things is to present a facade. it seems important to seem successful and so we get into serious debt by pretending to own things on borrowed money. we walk around in fancy pants with our smart phones at the ready. we take pictures at the perfect angle, in the perfect light to make us seem less fat or more ripped or less old. we are stuffing our resumes with degrees and certificates and past titles of the positions that define us. we are speeding to be in front of the next guy at the next light so we can speed to the one after that.

all this…and for what? i think we are forgetting to remember to be here.


outside the coffee shop called groundwork, in venice beach, there’s a bench. this morning at 6-something i was drinking a breve and a dude walked by me pulling a cart with all his stuff piled neatly within. it was only us. i noticed an oxford english dictionary on top, a decent sized one, and i caught the walker’s eye. i love dictionaries. i love them. i love the hidden words and the thoroughness and the phonetic spellings in brackets. i love the prefixes and suffixes and amendments. i love the stories behind the definitions of words. and i really love people who choose to carry a big ol’ book in a cart that’s carrying their every worldly possession. he must have felt our camaraderie because he nodded and allowed a smile to crack across his sunburnt face and asked me how i was, “good, man, and you?” and he said he was good. no pretense. no unnecessary words. no selfies. no proclamations. we were just people with eyes and mouths and blood and bones and we were sharing the morning, in the world.

i’m gonna hold off on the life-coach thing. i gotta concentrate on breathing.