Cut the ignorance-born doubt abiding in your heart by the sword of Self-knowledge, and get up (to fight), O Arjuna. In the battlefield of our hearts we all must face both our virtues and our vices, our Jesuses and our Judases. Sex, money, vanity. By approaching both the dark and light parts of ourselves, we aim not to destroy but to acknowledge them as inextricable and equally powerful elements of our Selves. They will aid us in fulfilling our destinies, in realizing the Highest version of our Selves. Jesus is my virtue, and Judas is the demon I cling to. Without the Fame there would be no Fame Monster(s) and without the Fame Monster(s) we could not have been Born This Way. A Karma-yogi gets freedom from both vice and virtue in this life itself.
My cocaine soundtrack was always The Cure. I would lock myself in my room and listen to “Never Enough” on repeat while I did bags and bags of cocaine. Bullying damaged Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s ego and her damaged ego drove her to anger and her anger drove her to self-worship. Then her self-worship unconsciously drove her to achieve self-realization and her self-realization has spawned the self-realization of millions. Therefore, Gaga is a yoga teacher. Because yoga is learning to deal with the consequences of who you really are.
She leads us by example, a warrior queen living passionately tonight. Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. Only the fortunate warriors … get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. Warrior queen, warrior one, warrior two. It is this that constitutes the essence of yoga: this self-realization that we are all seeking, consciously or unconsciously, and towards which we are all gradually evolving. Reverse warrior.
It is only our own ignorance, our inability to discriminate between the real and unreal, that prevents us from realizing our true nature. In typical Gaga fashion, it is through her yoga that she also defies yoga, as by all accounts she is realizing her true nature precisely by refusing to discriminate between the real and the unreal. I know not the difference between the hair that grows from my head and the teal wigs that grow from my imagination. They are the same. When we practice yoga, we are encouraged to penetrate illusion to become one with the true nature of our Selves; Gaga continues to discover her core Self by not only penetrating illusion, but also by immersing herself in it, so that there is no meaningful difference between what is illusory and what is real. I’m in a permanent state of Gaga.
It’s important, though, to discern between illusion as performance and illusion as expression. Yoga teachers young and old will warn against yoga as fashion show. Yoga, they will say, is for the practitioner to work on herself and not to create a display for others; the former aims to transcend the ego – the ultimate goal of yoga – while the latter feeds it. One may ask which, if either, if both, Gaga has achieved. People criticize her for trying to divert attention away from her music by wearing “outlandish,” “weird,” and “bizarre” things. But that verbage only has meaning in the context of a subject judging an object. Does her motivation for wearing teal wigs originate from her Self or from the desire to please others? The former is yoga, the latter is not. We all exist as images in the minds of others, but yoga and Gaga posit that even without those subjective minds making us into objects, we would still exist. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not. Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit for ever. This reflects Gaga’s now-infamous philosophy of Fame: I want people to find a sense of inner confidence and Fame for themselves that has nothing to do with being famous.
Another thread in Gaga’s narrative is the transformation of reality into dreams, and the melding of the two so they are intertwined as to be inseparable, in the same vein as reality and illusion. We just told lie after lie after surreal dream after moment, ‘You can do it, you can do it, you can be it.’ And then we woke up one day and we were like, ‘We are. It worked.’ I told so many people for so long that I was a superstar [when] I wasn’t, and one morning I woke up and the delusion was real. This yoking together of dream and reality is in line with the textbook definition of yoga: The word yoga means literally “joining.” Of course, in yogic tradition, the two aspects of Self being joined together are body and mind (the third element being the manipulation of breath as a method of tying the two together), but this body/mind duality parallels both Gaga’s reality/fantasy and reality/dream dualities. 26 postures to freedom. Possible yoga junkie, is there such thing as Bikram rehab? Before you can get into Bikram’s standing head-to-knee posture, you have to have an idea of what that is; Gaga teaches that by simply having that idea, by imagining it to be real, we manifest its reality.
The underlying purpose of all the different aspects of the practice of yoga is to reunite the individual Self (jiva) with the Absolute or pure consciousness (Brahman). It might be argued then that what Gaga has done is to reuinte her Self (reality) with the Absolute consciousness (fantasy and dreams): she continues to yoke together Stefani and Lady Gaga, Judas and Jesus, human and pop superstar, pedestrian life and theater. While we know Gaga practices yoga – I’m feeling great! I just went to yoga in Singapore. Red lipstick all over the place. – we can see that she also lives it.
Yoga is to put together your spirit with the movement. You become.
And this is what life is - to become.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
Don’t believe your limitations.
1. Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
2. Lady Gaga, “Judas”
3. Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
4. Lady Gaga: Just Dance: The Biography, Helia Phoenix; Orion 2010
6. Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
7. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
8. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
9. Lady Gaga, V Magazine, July 2011
11. Krishna, The Bhagavad Gītā
14. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
15. Lady Gaga, Twitter, November 2010
16. The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, The Sivananda Yoga Center; Simon & Schuster 1983
17. Lady Gaga, Twitter, July 2011
19. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran; Wordsworth 1996
Meghan Blalock is a writer living in New York City. She writes for Gotham magazine, and has also written pieces for the local music blog Sound System NYC, The Rumpus, Southern Living, Gaga Stigmata, Woman's Day, and other publications. Her poetry has also been published in amphibi.us. Her work is viewable here and here. She's currently training to be a Yoga instructor.
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