I was talking with my friend Cimi after Saturday’s Hatha Foundations class. I’ve been feeling the heaviness of all that’s going on and realized my empathic nature was holding too much. I’ve been going non-stop since COVID started and with some heavy family matters on hand and the upcoming BIPOC Yoga Teacher Training, she shared some thoughts with me that really helped and inspired me to expand on and share here:
We are not going to be the ones who will solve the world’s problems. We can be the change-makers who will provoke the status quo and encourage the transformation of humanity from ignorance to compassionate wisdom. We must learn from our mistakes and teach our children to imagine a better world than we’re leaving for them.
And so because we are the change-makers, what I offer in a manner that doesn’t fit with our colonial mindset, is that we ARE solving the problems of this world by raising the level of possibility. We can’t imagine someone can break a world record until someone breaks a world record! Evolution is slow and there is a pace that isn’t within our hands. But maybe we participate in it by our everyday actions. And who knows, maybe we will make a leap of advancement as our early ancesors did. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-missing-genetic-link-in-human-evolution/). There still isn’t an exact answer as to how that happened. I lean towards the idea of beyond/other worldly support from the stars. And it may be that that support is already here, it doesn’t have to look like a space alien or a blue-faced man driving a chariot in this day and age. But I mean, it might!..I’m open to it. 🙂
I’m always keen on the notion that spiritual teachings operate in a paradoxical way. If we try to negotiate the lesson from life with our linear, ego-centered mind, we will constantly hit a wall. But if we allow ourselves to tap into the inward Self that is and always has been in connection with Universal Consciousness/Cosmic Awareness, then we have a chance to have the conversation with a language beyond words and human reasoning. But alas, we are human and bound by the limitations of this world…until we’re not. The Yogic teachings offer a pathway away from the known triggers of the mind. Through mastery, special abilities of insight are gained. Much of this is outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and an 8-limbed path starting with the Yamas and the Niyamas. I’ve shared about this in other writings and will come back to these again in another blog I’m sure. (View some description in wikipedia)
When I look at the horror of human behavior against one another, there are examples all throughout history of unimaginable harm. What’s happening to Palestinians is what I consider another embarrassment of how limited we are. Even when we suspend the ordeal of choosing which side you’re on, the simple fact that one side is killing another side with some reasoning of entitlement, it’s a behavior that traps the soul into perpetual existence in war. We will not escape the cycle of harm by causing more harm. Yet we don’t know any other way to do it yet. It’s like driving on the highway without a steering wheel. The car will drive but it sure would do a lot better if the car maker knew to add the steering wheel. So we live this reckless life because no one knows there’s another way yet. Or maybe a real example – There is the idea that as humans, we dominate the Earth. We make choices about the land and animals. Could it be that our obsessions with eating meat makes us think we are the mightier ones?
But we’re destroying our own land that helps to clean and purify the air and reduce carbon. We build more animal factories and force production because we’re essentially addicted to eating it and resist the idea that our bodies would actually prefer a cleaner, plant-based diet. But at the rate we’re going with diminishing so many resources to produce meat and other animal products, we’ll end up killing ourselves. It’s not sustainable in the long-run but who’s thinking about that? It feels like a slow enough process that many civilized areas won’t notice the degradation it’s causing. Most people will never need to think about what happens behind closed doors. If only the education system was actually designed to strengthen the minds of our youth to the true world so they could be the problem solvers rather than feed them the same story that keeps us stuck. When will this machine of our broken system look in the mirror and see how beautiful and wonderful it means to have been given a human body/mind? Or maybe that’s not the lesson of this lifetime?
The month of May isn’t bringing flowers from life’s unfolding as hoped, but more news of life’s painful ways. From increased death from gun violence across our nation, to the frustrating battle for life and land by Palestinians. To the upcoming one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death to new surges of COVID-19 moving through India, Japan and other countries. It’s not that there is only bad news in the world, it’s just that the bad news feels relentless and on a repeat cycle that feels senseless and endless. Holding space for Peace in this world is not for the timid. It’s an active course that requires diligence and discernment. It requires what is referred to in yoga as practice and non-attachment – abhyāsa and vairāgyābhyāṃ. (Read more from YogaInternational.com). (Read More HERE)
This is an excerpt from Pandit Rajmani Tigunait’s article:
The purely intellectual knowledge of yoga is of little value. In fact, intellectual knowledge of any spiritual path is of little value. So many of us know what is the right thing to do, and yet fail to do it. We know what is the wrong thing to do, and yet we do it. It seems that we have no choice, as if there were an invisible yet powerful force motivating us to behave without regard to what we know is right or wrong.
That powerful force is embedded in the depths of our mind. Yogis call it saṃskāra—the subtle impressions of our past deeds. And unless we gain access to those deep recesses of our mind, gain a direct understanding of the samskaras deposited there, and learn the techniques that will nullify their effects or destroy them once and for all, we have no choice but to remain under their influence. The process of destroying our samskaras is called “spirituality.”
Spirituality is composed of methodical practice (abhyāsa) and contemplation accompanied by dispassion (vairāgya). Through systematic practice we gain stability of body and mind; we strengthen our power of will and determination. Persistent practice enables us to form new, spiritually enlivened habits, and as we do, unwanted, negative habits are gradually replaced by the newly formed habits.
What I get from this is that we have a long, long way to go as a global community. But, rather than stress about when will we have World Peace, let’s let that be something we certainly focus on but cultivate our personal, daily practice for our own mind/body. Before we get enraged at the world for not going first, we can dive into our practice for the sake of learning about own triggers. If we continue to be motivated from rage and fury, then the offspring of that will have embedded seeds of that which will one day return. Again, when I think of this process, it feels like it will take forever before everyone learns to cultivate that. But it also feels like an endless plight if we don’t. And just like our practices on our mat, one day some of the poses become a little easier, more familiar as a natural way to move. Our pains lessen and our hearts open and our minds become a bit more calm. And then we reflect and think, wow, I notice there’s been some change. Now there’s just 8 billion more to go!
Like a fast racing truck down a mountain, the momentum is strong and our attachments to things are very hard to release let alone even notice at times in our fast-paced world. Our habitual minds have a hard time seeing the many veils that cover the truth of who we are and the reason for our existence. But I do believe that if we stop, it will stop. When I was consumed by behavioral addiction, there was no other choice but to keep doing what I was doing. The addictive mind was the leader and there was very little room for thought and care for the true well-being of myself and others. When given the opportunity to heal, the obsessed mind will run out of the thing it’s used to clinging to and will be forced to turn to the Higher Will. And at the very least, this new ingredient will influence the entire recipe of being. In time, we may come to realize the spice of life is the love and compassion that we bring to it, the open-heart that offers kindness versus the mindless fun we think we’re having.
For our brothers and sisters, our grandparents and parents, our fellow sentient beings – let this practice and non-attachment be worth the movement.
In closing, it brings to mind the 4 great vows of the bodhisattva:
Beings are numberless, I vow to save them
Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to end them
Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them
Buddha’s way is unsurpassable, I vow to become it.
Further detailed here: https://tricycle.org/magazine/bodhisattva-vows/
Here is the vow that I created years back during a retreat at Spirit Rock that I reflect on often:
I vow to follow the holy unfolding of what is already in motion.
I vow to see motion in what seems is not yet unfolding.
Let’s stay connected,