Today is National Opposite Day
At first thought it seemed like a fun and simple thing to recognize – National Opposite Day. And then I thought more about it. And to be properly in sync with the notion of this concept, today is NOT Opposite Day – that’s how all the cool kids refer to this day. I see this as a day to celebrate the true and false we hold in the mind. And the idea that we consider the opposite of what we usually think, say or do could be more revealing than we realize. What have I built into my habit system that feels fixed on a certain way of perceiving the world? Where have I said, “oh it’s always this way” or “no, it can never be that way”? What if the opposite is actually true? What if life exists in perpetual motion of opposites that help us expand our minds to the paradox of existence?
2021 has already seen the yin and yang of life as January 6th started with news of Georgia’s Senate election which delivered Senate control to Democrats, followed by an escalation of lies that mounted an insurrection at the Capital. January 20th saw the quiet departure of #45 who’s life has been the opposite of successful, and an inspiring and open-hearted inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris who have helped return diversity and hope!! While the excitement of their entry is absolutely something to celebrate, the yin/yang reminds us not to fall asleep and be lulled into thinking it will always be good or that no harm will come. Though we may be tired and feel the heaviness of
systemic racism, we are a global community still realizing the existence of white supremacy, exploitation of minors and women that includes human trafficking of all genders, races and ages, lack of equality for LGBTQQ, the caste of capitalism and the facade of facism to name some of the hidden patterns of human behavior. While we will always find failure, we must also celebrate and see progress.
Most of us can relate to the fatigue and frustration from COVID-19 and yet, I look at this pandemic as a small version of pandemic harms that have existed for thousands of years and for better or for worse, have built the human experience. In no way do I mean to minimize or downplay all the deaths and harm caused by COVID-19 – and as most of you know many more deaths are expected as a result of this pandemic. What helps me stay strong is to draw some perspective by shifting focus on the less noted harms that we live amongst on a daily basis. Where do these seeds of harm get watered? What choices exist in the moments when we choose war or peace? Meditating on the ongoing and daily struggles of life somehow gives me courage to make it through this current battle in order to be strong for the ongoing battles that wage against all humanity. And as I say that, I affirm this movement with the strength of all who have the ability to activate, as we don’t do this alone, but together we make the difference. Thanks to many great saints, sages, spiritual leaders in many forms like talk show hosts!, there is bright lightness of mind and soul when there is debilitating darkness of thoughts and actions.
Blessings of Passage to Larry King
Some may not know that Larry King had an interview with Swami Satchidananda in the mid-1980’s and he shares one of my favorite stories dealing with anger and “owning” the moment. It might be the opposite approach most of us would take! Larry King – in an interview with Dr. Phil shares about his conversation and specifically, how one can maintain the power of self in the most infuriating of moments.
From conversations with clients of mine in the medical field, I learned that the vaccine for COVID-19 in the U.S. relies on a strange ingredient – the blue blood from the horseshoe crab. These ancient crabs have walked the earth for 450 million years but scientists say they will likely go extinct in 10 more years. The are bled not just for the vaccine for COVID-19, but for many vaccines due to the special quality their blood has. Read more from nationalgeographic.org and audubon.org. When I first learned of this, I was shocked that I had never knew to even consider whether a vaccine was vegan or not! In the U.S., horseshoe crabs have been used in this way for the last 45 years according to an article from cbsnews.com.
As things currently stand in the United States, producing vaccines and other treatments that need to be injected into the bloodstream requires sticking needles into the hearts of horseshoe crabs and draining them of around a third of their blood, which is the only natural source of limulus amebocyte lysate, or LAL. Pharmaceutical companies use LAL to test their injectables for a bacterial contaminant called endotoxin, which can be deadly if even minuscule quantities make their way into the bloodstream. In a normal year, pharmaceutical companies conduct an estimated 70 million endotoxin tests. -audubon.org
I have been following a plant-based diet for over 15 years now and prior to that, fish and egg were part of my diet for 5 years, all starting with cutting out dairy 25 years ago. I have many reasons for these choices from my yogic journey and not consciously participating in the harm of animals to general health and knowledge of what my body actually requires for me to thrive. The choices I make today are based on research and living. My relationship to a plant-based lifestyle has only deepened over the years and to do anything different would be the opposite of all that I’ve learned. When I was told that the vaccine and most vaccines use the blood of the horseshoe crab, I was sad and had to meditate on this. When I learned they drain 30% of the blood from each
Photo: Timothy Fadek/Redux
crab in a laboratory and return them to the oceans, I was a bit relieved. The estimate is that around 5-25% don’t survive and of the females that survive, they may not be able to lay eggs after being bled like this. I imagined what would Swami Satchidananda say about this – WWSSD?! Of course I can’t say I know what he would say so I simply consider what came up for me. What I came up with is that this process is intended to save human lives. For some strange reason, the blood of these ancient creatures has benefit for our survival. I want to be a part of the conversation that moves us toward switching to the lab-created alternative being designed and used in Europe – yes, there is an alternative. But we have to make it through this time first with what we have. So for now, I wish for all of us to stay alive and healthy and be able to create a better tomorrow. So whatever creates the best safety and chances for survival for all is how we’ll get there. In many forms, we are being threatened by a wild virus from nature and my hope is by making it through this, we will rise stronger and smarter and make better choices. This planet we live on is full of the dark and the light at all times and even with my best choices, I will forever be connected to all that happens on this human journey.
Today is International Customs Day
Read more at World Customs Organization
Customs is the agency in a country responsible for collecting tariffs. Customs also controls the flow of goods into and out of the country. These goods can be anything from animals to hazardous materials to personal items. The WCO helps make customs administrations around the world more efficient. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the organization consists of 182 members from all over the world. Three-quarters of the members are from developing countries. They are responsible for managing more than 98% of world trade.
Take a moment, scan your home space and consider how we connect globally by way of stuff we purchase. Many if not most of the items in your home were made by the hands of someone in another country, hopefully who were treated properly though always a reminder a cozy sweater may have been made with an opposite experience (Read recent article about conditions in India as noted by the Human Rights Campaign), then shipped in a massive container on an even more massive cargo ship, traveling the waters of the globe to make it comfortably and conveniently to your home. I’m looking around my home and I see those items. Rather than feel bad for what is there, choose the opposite approach – be grateful for what is there and ask what could you do differently next time. Mostly, anything that is inexpensive likely has an opposite story of why it can be so cheap – someone is losing out. When you look at everything, ask if anything could have been made locally using locally grown materials like wood, wax and locally grown fibers, plants, etc. Could there be less things and more high quality items? And if the income isn’t there like it wasn’t for most of my life, how can you be creative or search well in second hand shops and thrift stores? Search online for creative ways to build shelves and make tables or also use sites like homestratosphere.com to search for ways to buy and sell used furniture.
A good place to support for locally made and local materials: fibershed.org and fibershedmarketplace.com
All this to say, from what I’ve learned through the swamis with Integral Yoga, Peace is G-d. The aim is to always work more and more towards a peaceful life. Where choices allow me to be of best service in the world by being a messenger of harmony not harm. Remember, in this world of duality, there is an opposite and equal force that you can make space for at anytime because our mind is what largely can shift any perception. If a daily practice is what helps you or special support is needed for guidance, build that in as your daily routine and learn to trust it.
May we activate and be bold when called from that place of Peace within that isn’t angry with War in our blood. May we rest when needed. May our heart think clearly and our mind’s feel deeply, and may the opposite also be true! 🙂 May this year continue to unfold and reveal the beauty of humanity even when darkness lives on and, May the Light of Truth overcome all darkness.
Let’s stay connected,
Owner and Director of Mukunda Yoga Center