I saw this amazing photo on Instagram the other day, and after my initial elation it gave me mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt a connection to whoever posted it in front of their home, and proud that people are taking a stance for human and civil rights. Yes!
But it also made me sad that in these modern times, this is still an issue, now more than ever. It made me reflect on how backwards things have gotten, and what we as a country are becoming. It makes me feel... separate. Different. Divided. From those who don't believe what I believe. From those who hurt others. From those who oppose my values. And I don't like to feel this division. I like to believe that we are all One, even in our polarity. I don't enjoy the feeling of wondering if a person is "on my side or the other side".
So I use my yoga.
Yoga teachings ask us to use the practice of Upeksha, the fourth Brahmavihara:
“Kindness for those who are happy, compassion for those who are less fortunate, honor for those who embody noble qualities, equanimity for those whose actions oppose your values.”
- The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Devi (yoga sutras 1: 33)
This is not an easy concept, and I find myself struggling with it each day as I listen to NPR, or read something in the news that deepens the feeling of division.
What I CAN do is love. I can practice equanimity instead of hatred or fear. By choosing Upeksha, I can bring myself into a place of love. In his commentary on Patanjali’s yoga sutras, Swami Satchidananda says, “Remember, our goal is to keep the serenity of our minds.”
Then... We can all work together to raise the vibration of ourselves, our community, our country, our world. If we are focused on the negativity, we aren't doing the work that is necessary to shift into a higher consciousness. And in this powerful collective higher consciousness is where we can
be the change.