I left yoga today feeling emotionally unsettled. During my practice I realized I wasn't completely there. Not necessarily because my attention had wandered, but because I was insecure. I had a very similar experience during Kung Fu not long ago, but had the added disadvantage of being distracted by a remote but powerful memory. In any case, I circumvented personal interaction with my teacher and headed for the door, for the safety of anonymity. Which, of course, led me to the local Starbucks where I purchased my comfort beverage of choice and a banana. I went outside to find a seat and was greeted warmly by an elderly gentleman who was sitting alone. I selected a seat at the table closest to his without hesitation.
It wasn't long before I realized this sweet little old man was thumbing through the pages of a XXX-rated sex magazine. This effected me in a way I couldn't have anticipated. Whatever response this man hoped to elicit I wasn't sure, but I did know one thing; he wasn't going to hurt me. This was inexplicably comforting. Whatever he held in his mind didn't matter. It had nothing to do with me and couldn't hurt me in any way. He was so obviously past the age of being capable of sexual violence, perhaps even sexual function.
I didn't leave for a while. Walking away I felt quieted and had the sense that this man represented something to me - perhaps my own unbalanced desires (sex being such an easy one for people to distort). Perhaps one day mine will wither and age. If I stop nurturing them they lose their power. Perhaps one day they will be as scary to me as this old man and his pictures, instead of the monsters they are now.