I just came across this article that I wrote eight years ago. It seems fitting, so here it is again:
Yoga and Politics
Lately I’ve been struggling with the concepts of practicing nonjudging and acceptance as it applies to our upcoming elections. I’ve found myself getting angry, fearful, worried, and very
judgmental — qualities that aren’t exactly yogic. So I dedicated Sunday morning to figuring out how to apply yogic principals to our political situation, and I’m sharing this with you because the process can be helpful in all aspects of our lives — not just politics.
First I pondered this question while I was doing my morning rounds of agni sara and kapalabhati breathing. I was looking out the window while practicing, and I noticed a flash of brilliant blue. It was a magnificent Blue Jay. He was almost purple and looked very grand with his black and white face paint. He was nebbing around the bushes and stopping often to listen to the other birds. I realized that no matter who the president is, he will continue to go on with his Blue-Jay business. He will be his magnificent self regardless. And likewise, we can be our best selves and live according to our values regardless of our circumstances. As the Buddha said, we can make a light of ourselves. This realization helped me a lot, but I still had questions. After all, the Blue Jay will not have to pay taxes or send his kids to war. So I sat down on my cushion to meditate on it. I do this whenever I need clarification, whenever I am struggling with a decision. Here’s my
I start with dirgha and ujjayi breathing — just like we do in class — and I let the mind quiet down and fade to the background. (This takes a lot of practice — if you have a hard time quieting
the mind, don’t despair. Keep practicing!) Once the mind is quiet and I am centered, I ask a question and wait for the answer to rise up. Sometimes it comes in words, sometimes an image, and sometimes it’s just a realization. The key is to make sure it comes from center — not the mind — and trust that it’s real. Here’s what came up when I asked how I could apply yogic concepts to the election:
“Trust. Trust that all things happen in the right time and place. Every situation brings an opportunity to learn. We are all learning at our own individual pace. No one is wrong. Some people are in ‘elementary school’ and some are in ‘grad school.’ Be aware. Open your mind and learn about the issues. Listen carefully to what they are saying, not how they are saying it. Make the best choice. Vote. And then let it go — you’ve done the best you can. Go back to the Blue Jay: Be your best self. Be a light. Pray.”
Some say that this voice belongs to God and others say that it is your own innate intelligence. Whichever idea resonates with you, just know that there is something that you can tap into at any
time. You just need a few minutes of quiet to access this tremendous gift that leads to peace of mind.
Sept. 17, 2008