I used to be an activist. I’ve marched for change, negotiated for respect, sat with peaceful comrades of social justice and written countless diatribes on every angle of human struggle one could imagine.
I say used to, not because I don’t still have an investment in evolution. I just do it differently now. I have spent a great deal of time pointing out the ills of culture and society while my soul lay waste as victim of my penchant for the greater good. I had many ideas about what that meant and while I indulged these ideas with all the self-righteous indignation I could muster something else in me suffered. In my vehement parading toward change I neglected the subtler voices in me that were sensitive to the matrix of interweaving realities within and all around. One of these realities reminded me that my stewardship of the earth is only as evolved as my inhabitance of my own vessel. So many times in the midst of my activism, large or small, I lost touch with the voices inside me that tried to speak to me of patience, perspective and rest. I could not hear these messages emanating from the deeper recesses of my being, I was too enamored by the ideas in my head I was trying to manifest. And those ideas entranced me into believing that my will should be done at the expense of a greater Will.
That’s why the Occupy Wall Street movement has caught my attention in a way that no other protest hasin the last decade. Not that I know what’s going on there,there may well be people with their good intentions locked up in cerebral cages, but something rings differently about a movement that chooses to occupy rather than simply protest. This speaks of a group of people willing to sit for a while, in the feelings and impulses that called them there, as an act of truth, testament and faith.
A small group of people were doing yoga at this gathering and a columnist asked what possible point doing yoga would have. I think nothing could be more relevant. In every posture, yoga asks us to move into ourselves, to occupy the flows and rhythms of our inner lives. We are asked to truly inhabit all that is, waves of sensation and emotion, the electrical currents of our thoughts, the subtle vibratory quality of our deepest wishes and strongest instincts. We become an occupant of our selves. No longer encapsulated in the phantom house of our thoughts, we feel the intensity of what is true in the moment. Unfettered by expectations and demands of ourselves we are able to see clearly what’s real, stay with it, and eventually respond intelligently to what is seen.
Perhaps the intention of the Occupy Wall Street movement is to do something similar. They have been criticized for not having a clear agenda, for not articulating their demands. This is an evolution of activism, not a regression. The Occupants of the dozens of cities around the world have come together and postured themselves in a way that so that they can better inhabit the truth of our times. They have dedicated to occupying the deep anger and angst that a world economic maelstrom has provoked in them. They are committed to dwelling in the collective impulse for something more than living under the thumb of a corporate head master. The longer they remain postured in this way, the more will be revealed about an intelligent movement forward. The point, as they have indicated, is to occupy their truths.
Occupying a yoga posture means to see the small nuances of each moment within it, to hold with the inner and outer vibrations of rising impulses and the layers of reality from which they emerge. May those occupying the streets of cities around the world take up more than just space. May they truly inhabit the reasons they’ve come, the deep wish in their hearts for change, and the mystery and complexity of their own movement and that of the other as hard as that may be. May they stay so connected to self and other that they can see when something shifts, within and without, responding with intelligence to the new shape taking form in their global movement. May they dwell, as long as they need, to see reality from all perspectives and model for the rest of the world what can take shape when activism becomes occupancy. Above all, may they occupy consciously until their anger and passion transform to forge the bricks of a new inner and outer world.
Photo Credit: Yoga Dork
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Pam Moskie has been cursed and blessed by the insatiable desire to understand our place in the cosmos. At a very young age this desire blossomed into spiritual expedition which has led her through both bliss and lunacy to an inner landscape she now comfortably calls Home. This trek through the muck and wonder of the human condition informs her teaching of yoga. She is a writer and Master’s student and her blog can be found at Falling Open.