We throw around the “L” word a lot in our culture. Text messages, e-mails, and face to face conversations are peppered with, “Oh, I love you’s” and “Love ya’s” and does anyone remember LYLAS? And, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing - no, not at all. But, I think sometimes we’ve forgotten how powerful love is. And, maybe we’ve forgotten how to truly express love. And, with love comes peace.
There’s a lot of hurt in the world right now. A lot of mistrust. For me, the tumultuous nature of the day to day news has me reading for a few minutes, and then needing to pause. But, I remember as practicing yogis, we can do our part to help our communities heal:
- It is your responsibility (and mine) to practice ahimsa. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word for non-violence. And, that non-violence? You guys, that starts from within. I get choked up whenever I talk about this in class. We can’t see hate in another unless it resides within us first. Everyone is a reflection of how we see ourselves. Once we can acknowledge our imperfections and celebrate our wondrous traits, then we can fully accept and see the good in others. From there, we are more capable of expressing love. In this sense, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s a necessity.
- Practice compassion. Invite compassion when you’re having a rough day - you forgot a friend’s birthday, you didn’t make it to yoga, you dropped the ball on a work deadline, you didn’t like what the doctor had to say. It’s okay. It freaking happens. And, once you invite compassion into your own being, your desire to alleviate the suffering of another grows. Practice empathy. Try to understand the feelings of another. Listen. Really listen - stop trying to think of what you’re going to say next. We all need to be heard.
- Maintain peace with every/anybody. There’s a Yoga Sutra that comes to mind here (especially when you meet another with decisively different views than you). These are the Keys to Peace according to Patanjali:
“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.”
Share joy with those who are happy, compassion for those who are sad, celebrate the success of the virtuous without envy, and become indifferent to the wicked (not hateful).
Love unites us. There’s more love than hate in the world. You guys teach me that every day. So, remember ahimsa, compassion, how to practice peace. Maybe, jot down this Sutra and tape it to your bathroom mirror. How are you spreading love? How are you cultivating peace? I’m inspired by you all everyday. Thank you for reading and allowing me to share. I can’t wait to see you soon.