I always knew I liked Incubus, and in 2011 when their latest album “If Not Now, When?” was release, I figured Brandon Boyd and I must be on some kind of subconscious level together…
I’m a graduate student at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, and lately I find myself struggling with the method of approach my university encourages I use with clients. We emphasize differences, distinctions, characteristics that make us all individuals. Though I believe in the idea that we are all individuals and that our unique essences must be acknowledged, my spiritual side fears this “separation” we’re creating is pulling us away from the ultimate goal we set for ourselves on the yoga mat: union.
This concept of “If Not Now, When?” has been something I’ve offered my students these past few months. If we continue to fear, if we keep giving away pieces of ourselves, and if don’t take a moment to sit back and appreciate the community we live in, when can we expect things are going to change?
Personally, I believe the answer is never. We crave a world where all people are viewed equally and all forms of life have equal importance no matter how big or small, yet we emphasize the separations between us and we widen the gap.
My mother always taught me to read the food labels. The less ingredients there are, the better it is for you. Does this mean we should disregard the tomatoes that were carefully ripened to form our tomato sauce? Should we ignore the ancient grains that go into making our breads? Absolutely not. What “ingredients” make us who we are remain crucial to our being. We all bring in our own tastes, textures, and colors to the meal, but without the bread to dip into the final puddle of sauce your dinner would not be complete.
“Great, she’s comparing human beings to food…” Well, not exactly. What I’m encouraging is that as a community, we appreciate the world, the people around us. We acknowledge the different flavors, and we find ways to connect them together. If we spent less time categorizing people we would have more time to get to know them.
Union comes from togetherness, and if anything each of us are like puzzle pieces. A 1,000 piece puzzle would never be complete without piece 999, so the next time you aim to separate yourself from a person or people, remember that your differences are no more unique than theirs, and that without their pieces your puzzle remains unfinished.
Returning to this idea of “If Not Now, When?”, if our awareness of union doesn’t take priority now, when do we expect it will? I will always encourage my students to respect that each of them have their own uniqueness, yet I believe that until we stop separating ourselves, the mat will only be a mat and the yoga will never be whole.
Giuliais a yoga instructor at Qi Denver and an active participant in her yoga community. In November, she will be receiving her MSW and plans to heal the world one asana at a time.
Editor: Tanya L. Markul