This was the third time I've been in the audience for one of his live performances. The jokes and stories ranged from making fun of traditional male and female roles in marriage (men shouldn't put the seat down because doing asserts the misogynistic precept that women are too weak and shy to do it for themselves) to skewering the "success" of homosexual conversation therapy camps (because nothing changes people's innate sexual orientations like putting the fear of electroshock treatment in front of them).
The audience, I'm sure a very socially open-minded group, was game for whatever he was willing to share, though at times audience responses were groans as I feel as if he very much had us questioning our own hidden biases. One of his humor hallmarks is to go on eloquent effusive rants that we first think are rallies against our "enemies" but turn out to be thought provoking diatribes that make us turn inward and question the very nature of our own deepest beliefs. Pause. Laughter. Next subject. It's marvelously disarming if you're game.
He closed the show with an analogy about how we as individual tend to view ourselves as unique, and separate from everything else, using apples on a tree as stand in for us. He waxed poetic about if we open up our minds, we would realize that those apples, as juicy and unique as we are, are connected to something bigger than ourselves - A BRANCH - that provides us with nutrients, life, and support.
For a while, we sit in wonder at the concept of that connectedness and knowledge of the branch, and maybe even the fact that there are OTHER APPLES. We still have our own apple-ness, but there is a network, that branch, and we are actually part of a bigger organism.
Then after a while of chewing on that concept, we realize, that we aren't just an apple on a branch with other apples. That branch is actually connected to an something even bigger: A TREE. A big living vibrant tree with hundreds of branches maybe even hundreds of other apples. Our minds spin at the implications we never before considered: we are connected to a tree that provides lasting support, complex communication, a huge network for growth and prosperity and future beyond our little branch.
That keeps our minds busy for another long while, but then we realize that tree is also connected to something even bigger: THE EARTH. The tree roots hold fast into the earth, and one that earth there might be hundreds upon hundreds of trees, or other organisms, all interconnected, all with branches, or smaller parts, all with apples, or fruit, or unique individuals that are both dependent upon and networked together within it.
From the realization of the earth we eventually expand our consciousnesses to the realize the solar system, and the galaxy, maybe even the universe and the dimension beyond time and space.
JP said that's what it's like to take ayuhuasca (laugh track). But, the geometric, exponential, fractal, and Einstein-esque nature of the story doesn't have to lead to a punch line.
We are all unique individuals. We spend a lot of time just being apples, turning inward and never realizing just how interconnected we are to each other much less someone on the other side of the earth. Too often we focus on what makes the others different from us, or what makes us less or more than something else, or what is wrong with the world.
Our yoga practice can help us find of our own inner "apple," and give it all the nurturing it needs to be beautiful, healthy, strong, flexible, and feeling unique. Then we can recognize, appreciate, and in turn nuture and other apples, branches, trees, etc.
In the spirit of the Jewish New Year I think the apple analogy, is quite appropriate. May you all have a sweet year, may the shiny apple in each of us always acknowledge the other. Namaste.
UPDATE: I am no longer a follower of Mr. Sears, specifically for his new offfensive brand of humor that mocks those that take seriously the pandemic, social distancing, masking, and vaccinating. All the awareness and connectedness that he seemed to have been promoting at the time I wrote this piece from a place "been there done that" acknowledging of the follies of ego seem to have been lost to the chest thumping of someone trying to stay relevant in the age of outrage. It's disheartening. Just letting you know.