In this world, we are all so very diverse- gender, age, race, sexuality, gender identification, education, socioeconomic status, loves, fears, and on and on. Yoga means so very many different things, but the main meaning is to yoke, to join, or simply union. In our sweet yoga community we have Trump supporters, we have Hillary supporters, we have people with no political affinities whatsoever. We have Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Socialists alike. It is in communities such as these where we come together for answers if we are grieving, traumatized, at a loss. It is also communities such as these where we come to celebrate if we feel happy. So what to do when a community and a country are so far divided? How do we meet the needs of everyone here so each person feels included and as though they belong?
First things first, I do believe in our tagline- You Belong Here. I believe this is important to all of our students whatever way you chose to define yourself. This should be a special place where we all can feel at home while we search for the greater truths in life. If this is true, what can we each do to ensure every person feels this belonging? What can we do (no matter our political affiliation) to help heal our communities locally and at large? First, we have to begin from within. Once we work on this piece, we can then make our web of support larger and larger. Below are some ideas that I have based on what I have learned over the years and some words from one of my teachers, Swami Swaratmananda (or Sri Svar as you know him). May these offerings be of help to each of you, whether you are feeling positively, negatively or neutral. The tools work the same for healing us all.
Words from Svar regarding this election:
DO NOT BUY INTO MEDIA FEAR: We need to be careful not to buy into the media hype and have our emotions captivated by what they project as news stories. We need to learn how to witness and not be drawn into their twisted world narratives. American media sells fear. Generally speaking Americans operate from fear because of what media feeds us. I was a news hound in the 80s and going overseas made me realize how negative the American media is. When I get out of America, I find that people are less fearful even if sometimes they have more reason to fear. We can give Trump the benefit of doubt and presume that maybe Trump played the media to get free air time, and get votes. We can’t presume to know. We just have to wait and see. What we can do is to examine our emotions. Are we operating from fear? I see the harm American media has on the American psyche, I rely and trust the American people. I trust the US constitution. I trust the rule of law of the land.
LEARN TO SEE THINGS NOT FROM FEAR BUT LOVE. We need to switch gears, and learn to operate from a place of love. Find a place to trust and love the American people, especially the ones who voted in a different manner than we hoped. Maybe they know not what they do, maybe they do. Who are we to judge? We can’t presume to know better! We learn to accept and love everyone. After all, we are all One! Love conquers fear. Operate from a place of Love and not fear, and all will be well. Create the change in you and the world will change.
So, how to create the change in you? One of the most helpful ways I have found is in offering prayers of loving-kindness. You can use this as your meditation or just any time throughout the day. Start by saying each line for yourself (“I”), then for our community (“you”), then for all beings everywhere.
May I be free from fear and harm (you, all beings)
May I be content as I am (you, all beings)
May I be at peace with what comes (you, all beings)
Once you have the hang of this, you can move in an order from smallest to largest. Begin with “I,” move onto “you,” then to your friends / loved ones, someone you feel neutral toward, and someone where you feel aversion. Then bring the circle back in, ending with yourself. You may be surprised at how differently you feel at the end.