Yoga Inspiration for Difficult Times
One of the oldest meanings of yoga is to yoke, but not to yoke just anything, yoga refers to yoking a wild horse to a chariot. The human mind was observed to behave like a wild horse, liable to start and jump at any whim. Patanjali, who wrote the yoga sutras some 2000 years ago says that yoga is attained through practice and imperturbability. In other words the wild horse of the mind can be trained to best benefit if we practice daily, remain steadfast and focused, and do not allow life’s irritations to divert us from our goals.
In the Bhagavad Gita, a mythologic text contemporary to the Yoga Sutras, Krishna says that yoga is selfless action. Krishna tells Arjuna, the hero of the epic, that he must show up on the battlefield of life and act, do his dharma, his calling, and let go of the fruits of his actions. In a simple modern colloquialism: “do the footwork and let go of the result.” Krishna is a god incarnate, Arjuna is a warrior. Krishna does not tell Arjuna to go into the forest and pray. He does not tell Arjuna to turn the other cheek or wash the feet of his enemies. He says, and I summarize, “You are a warrior, it is your calling to fight a righteous battle, you must show up and fight the battle before you. You may not win, but you may not turn away.”
So what will I do in this time of turmoil? I will take the lessons of yoga and I will show up for my life. I will practice meditation and yoga postures and movement. I will stay strong and healthy so that I may arrive on the battlefield of my life prepared for what is put in front of me. I will do the footwork and let go of the outcome of my actions.
In daily life, this looks like my mundane daily meditation. I sit in my garden lean-to every morning rain or shine for 30 minutes to an hour. Later in the day I will move my body through yoga postures, dance, bike riding, weight lifting. I will will enjoy the moment of life that I am in. I will support those in need and I will step forward to defend the harassed and abused. I will minimize my participation in consumer culture and I will conserve resources. I will boycott companies that perpetuate abuse on the planet or other humans. I will write letters. I will call politicians and business people who have the power to protect both native people and the planet.
I plan to be leaving to join the Standing Rock Water Protectors within the next couple of weeks. I am called to show up in support of those standing up on the battlefield of indigenous rights, the rights of the environment and the planet. I intend to be willing to put my body where my heart is and to show up where I am needed and can make a difference. If you would like to support Standing Rock and have North Dakota-winter-reliable resources to gift to the Standing Rock Protectors (sub-zero shelter, propane stoves, solar panels, oak or ash firewood, financial donations) please feel free to contact me. Or offer your donations to the Native American Longhouse at OSU or directly to the Water Protectors online.
Finally, I will keep these words of @sonofbaldwin in the forefront of my mind : “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”