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  • Yogic magickal thinking

    32 comments Published Nov 16, 10 AM
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    By Matthew Teague Miller, who invites you to make fun of him on Twitter after reading this…

    10/10/10 clearly wasn’t loud enough, so we turned it up on 11/11/11, to the delight of many yogis. John Friend, for one, was so excited by the prospects of this “magic moment,” he invented a new form of math!

    I am not one to argue with a guy who can invent his own branch of yoga, so if he wants to invent new math, rad! So, 11.11.11×11.11.11=12345654321. Who cares what you do with the decimal points! Just like your heart, he cracked the math code wide open!

    He’s in the pocket:

    You know how things are totally more magical when you spell magic with a “k” at the end? So does John Friend!

    This is why I love Twitter. New math, extra k’s, shri, “Love and Light” — capitalized for no reason. On Twitter, legions of people were pretending that 11/11/11 is somehow not simply a date, relatively arbitrary in nature, from a calendar we’ve been using for just over 500 years — a calendar whose 10th month is actually called 8th. No, the eleventh day in the eleventh month of this eleventh year in this new-ish century makes it a time which is particularly well-tuned for getting your hope on, to manifest your perfect moment (preferably at a special 11am yoga class, donations accepted). A day when, truly, wings took dream, according to what I read on Twitter.

    Magical thinking and yoga are well suited to each other. Take magical thinking plus yoga, and add Twitter and social networking, and it becomes like an ice cream and cake party.  Maybe it’s the way we yogis like to recycle trite phrases, or how so many yogis need an audience to condescend to. Whatever the case may be, Twitter is an ideal platform for such drivel. (I am fully guilty of this, having tweeted over 8,000 completely useless, banal, stupid tweets, myself).

    While I was reading these 11/11 tweets at lunch, a thought I had earlier in the morning struck me all over again:


    At 11:11 — AM or PM — if you close your eyes, and meditate with full concentration and intentional manifestation on what you want/need, it still won’t happen unless you are willing to work for it, sacrifice for it, make the right choices, and get a healthy dose of luck. Today, or any day.


    Between all our talk of manifesting reality, sankulpas and karmic debt, you could easily think that if you simply wish something to be true, it is instantly so (so, can I be Samuel Jackson?). That is Yogic Magickal Thinking.

    Yoga magic looks at a cool symmetry date like 11/11/11 and imbues it with meaning. 100 sun salutes? How about 111 today? You know, because it’s, like, magick. How about we do some 11/11 breathing in pranayama? If thousands of people stop to meditate for 60 seconds at 11:11 on 11/11/11… it still won’t make my wish to be Samuel Jackson any more likely to occur. Nor will you experience a manifestation-bump, a la the Colbert-bump, if you talk about it being a magical time to a broad enough audience through a platform like Twitter. (But it’s kind of fun to try.)

    The only thing that makes “magic” happen is actual work. Good work yields results that often feel magic, but it doesn’t make it magical. Inventing vanishing decimal points or any other hocus-pocus isn’t going to make anything happen that wouldn’t otherwise.

    And isn’t yoga based on Hinduism? Right? So, if one of a few different Hindu calendars says we are in the Kali Yuga year 5112-5113, why are we tripping on 2011? These guys live in the future!  People who use completely different calendars with different dates all shared the same temporal moment in time with us over those 24 hours this past Friday. Were their days less special than ours? Considering I spent much of the morning cleaning cat shit out of a rug, I am going to say “no.” Swami Pranam, help me out here.

    “Don’t you know?  This hasn’t happened in thousands of years!” said the guy seated next to me, after ordering Pad Thai.

    Wow. That’s crazy. No wonder twityogis were so excited about it. “Didn’t it happen in 1911, too?” the guy’s friend, a fellow buzzkiller, says. An uncomfortable silence falls over their table, but at my table I am reading bomb-ass tweets like this:

    Boom! Manduka (who makes my very favorite mat, and some of my least favorite tweets) laid it out, suckas! Forget 11/10, or 11/12. Those days, the universe was all jacked-up and shit. Like, for real. 11/11/11 was probably the universe’s finest moment, maybe ever. Let’s just go ahead and call it the “Bigger Bang.”

    These are exactly the kind of tweets that make me love Twitter so much. Hundreds of thousands of people, shouting into the yawning chasm of “who cares?” hoping to make a dent, hoping to get a few words to stick, maybe change a mind, crack a heart open, or get you thinking about buying a really expensive (and worth every penny IMHO) yoga mat.

    But perhaps we need some clarification from Manduka. What really, does 11/11/11 mean?

    The rest of the time, the world is like “Don’t look at me,” you know?

    Twitter is a wonderful tool, as you can simply type in a word or phrase and see what other people are thinking about, try “11.11.11 yoga” and look what shows up: 

    Sounds nice, many blessings.


    Was it a potluck? Was there a Manifestation Creation Casserole?

    But then a real buzzkill hits the whole affair:



    Leave it to the venerable Russell Brand to be the calm voice of reason here. His tweet and photo from Friday reveal how foolish this whole magic moment 11/11/11 11:11 charade truly is: “11/11/11/11/11…..Damn.” Missed it by that much. .

    But really, this is what it was all about for me, in the end: 

    Maybe you shouldn’t talk to strangers.  Watching strangers on Twitter talk about 11.11.11, a harmless, funny little numeral palindrome of a day, earnestly and honestly, with a few heaps of pure bullshit, was fun. It does make me wonder what sort of yoga magic we will see on 12/12/12.


    About Matthew Teague Miller

    Matthew Miller lives in San Pedro, CA with his daughter, Lark. He is employed in the auto industry, a full-time dad and part-time yogi. He makes pretty good spaghetti sauce.

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