President Obama’s recent visit with the Dalai Lama in San Francisco reminded me of the journey a close “friend” took to see a yogi master in India back in the late ’70s. Fortunately, he took a cassette recorder with him and was able to tape the conversation. It went something like this:
Yogi Master: Come in, sit down my friend.
Sam: You mean on the floor. At these rates I was expecting at least a bean bag.
Yogi Master: I find that humorous, albeit disturbing, because your soul is trapped in the physical rewards of comfort and consumerism.
Sam: Never looked at it that way. I mean, I’m just getting over a hemorrhoid and I thought ……………………………
Yogi Master: Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don’t think. Let whatever enters your mind flow in and out with your breath. Don’t hold on to any thoughts or images; set them free. Your bills, your regrets, your concerns about the future ………….. let them go.
Sam: I was wondering if I brought enough cash today to pay for the full session.
Yogi Master: Don’t worry, we take MasterCard and Visa; American Express was killing us with the fees. And no checks!
Sam: Good, I could use the air miles.
Yogi Master: What, my dear friend, do you feel is lacking in your life? Why have you journeyed across continents to seek answers you can find from your basement in Bayonne?
Sam: Well, Yogi Master, though I make a decent living, I feel empty, lacking, like this daily grind is futile. I want to end poverty in the world, I want to bring countries and religions together, and I want to be able to reflect on my life when I’m old and feel it meant something.
Yogi Master: Deep shit.
Yogi Master: I said saving the world is a noble cause, but first you must save yourself. You need food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over your head.These things cost money, so don’t feel guilty or ashamed to make some gelt. It’s the bigger and better aspirations that get you in trouble and rob the soul.
Sam: But how can I relax or feel good about myself knowing there is so much suffering in the world?
Yogi Master: Look, the suffering will still be there tomorrow. You get home, have a glass of wine, maybe a few carbs, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so bad. In the morning, you can write a check to UNICEF, if it makes you feel better.
Sam: But Yogi Master, I was expecting something more spiritual, like decompressing in a darkened quiet room as the energy of good fills my being with the power of light, or something like that.
Yogi Master: Oh, you’re old school, eh. My path is not the only way to joy, but it seems to work best with you westerners.
Sam: What about following my bliss?
Yogi Master: Bliss schmiss, first you pay the rent, then you find yourself.
Sam: Yogi Master, how have you arrived at such great powers of insight into the human soul?
Yogi Master: I drove a cab in New York City for six years, you want to hear stories. People think you can’t see through plexiglass, or that the partition was a window into their fears and insecurities. Don’t get me wrong, I made good money, but this here’s a better gig and, to tell you the truth, New York winters suck.
Sam: Yogi Master, is there any other advice you can give me before I journey home?
Yogi Master: Yeh, don’t use New Delhi Cab Service; their meters run fast, and they always take the long way to the airport. Here, take this card. My cousin owns the company and I validated the back so you’ll get a 10% discount.
Sam: May I embrace you before I leave?
Yogi Master: Look kid, for a photo op with George Harrison, maybe, but a kid from Jersey? I mean it’s hot, the AC is down and, quite frankly, I don’t know where you’ve been.
Sam: But …….
Yogi Master: Only kidding, kid, come give ol’ Yogi a hug. That’ll cost you a ten spot — only kidding. Get home safe.
Sam: Thank you, Yogi Master.
Yogi Master: Oh, and kid, take care of that rhoid.