Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cowboy Yogi, Part 1- Krishna and the Rawhide Kid

Earlier this week I attended the first part of a meditation workshop at the Newington Yoga Center, which teaches Embodyoga, a modern style of tantric influenced yoga.  Throughout the workshop, I couldn’t help but draw connections between yoga traditions, the Rawhide Kid, and the Lone Ranger.

A large part of the workshop involved discussing the layers of human consciousness.  In classical yoga, the human experience is defined by a series of five layers, or Koshas, progressively moving towards our core being.  The first is Annamaya Kosha, represented by earth, which is our physical body.  Inward is Pranamaya Kosha, represented by water, which is the motion of our physical form.  Still further inward is fire, the Monomaya Kosha, the chattering thinking monkey brain that compels our body into motion.  Within that is Vijiianamaya Kosha, the air Kosha, which is the emotional heart that motivates our thoughts.  Finally, classical yoga has at its core Anandamaya Kosha, representing space, the central core of who we are, the perfect self that lies within us all that through leading a good and just life we are able to access.

In this understanding of the human experience, the Rawhide Kid (as seen in his modern interpretations) in touch with Anandamaya Kosha and achieved self-actualization.  He is the best.  Really, he tells people so all the time, and proceeds to consistently prove it.  The Rawhide Kid is the best fighter, best shootist, best horseman, chef, vinter, hairstylist, and military officer in the world.  Also, the snappiest dresser.  The Rawhide Kid, in the manner of a classical yogi, he has transcended this mortal coil and lives his daily life as the most perfect form of himself. The Rawhide Kid appears to have embodied the lessons of Prince Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.  At each quickdraw duel you can almost hear Krishna whispering in his ear, “Do not yield to unmanliness, O son of Prithâ. It does not become you. Shake off this base faint-heartnedness and arise, O scorcher of enemies!”

The Rawhide Kid, however, has no personal connection with anyone outside of himself. He rides throughout the West righting wrongs and defending the defenseless.  The Kid does these things not because he cares for the townsfolk he protects from bandits, but simply because it is right to do so and is within his capabilities.  In one exchange with the Two Gun Kid in The Sensational Seven, Two Gun asks Rawhide, “No offense, but do you think it’s possible that deep down you’re incredibly self involved and not terribly interested in other people’s lives because you feel certain that you’re the most fascinating person in the world?”  The Rawhide Kid’s smirking response: “It’s not even that deep down, partner.  I’m the Rawhide Kid.”  Although he has achieved pure sense of himself and is able to actualize this ideal, he still lacks a greater awareness.  That greater awareness is explained through the deeper Tantric Koshas, and achieved by the Lone Ranger.

 Tune in next time for the thrilling tantric adventures of the Lone Ranger.

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