It is a sore truth that yoga will not save us despite what we want to believe.
Millions of practitioners flock to yoga yearly,but it is not the practice alone that will save us. We might think or hope that yoga will give
us a beautiful body, but until we learn that all bodies are beautiful (no matter what they look like) then yoga will not save us. Yoga, when practiced regularly, will meld body and mind so that we learn our body’s signals and what best feeds it.
Yoga will not save us until we can practice as if nothing else outside the island of your mat exists.
Rumi quotes alone will not save you. I am so grateful that poets such as Rumi, Rilke, and Hafiz march their way wall to wall on Facebook. The poets alone cannot save us until we internalize their words. There words will effect us over time. Allow them to walk ephemerally in and out of our consciousness.
“Kill the cow of your ego as quickly as you can, so that your inner spirit can come to light and attain true awareness” ~ Rumi, Masnavi II: 1446
Yes! I believe that. But how does one live it?
Buddhism teaches us to make sure our work and
words benefit us as well as others. How do we do more than simply share these thoughts and hope everyone gets on board?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
How can we dissolve the ego while at the same time being the change you want to see in the world? How is always the question, but there is only one answer. The answer to this question is, lots of time by ourselves: quiet time, deep digging time.
We can not know how our decisions effect others until we have spent plenty of time alone weeding out the garden of ego, stripping it bare to the clean, fertile soil.
When we do that, we finally see how the condition of our soil effects our neighbor’s garden. We can’t have an organic farm next door to a conventional one. The pesticides will drift on the wind, contaminating all of our neighbor’s organic efforts, rendering all that work more or less useless. Until we can stop being the conventional gardener, worrying only about the state of our own crops and our own profit, we will continue to poison our neighbor’s garden.
We live in hard and changing times.
This summer has been so wickedly hot. Even those of us with our heads buried deeply in the sand cannot help but feel the fear of inevitable climate change. This new spirituality, the spirituality of the Rumi quote, the inspirational meme, the yoga class, can make us feel good. However, in its current state demands nothing of us.
This is not the fault of spiritual movement, but the fault of practitioners. We need to demand something of ourselves. This is a time of hard work and of strengthening the mind, bodyand spirit (another platitude, I grant you).
We need to become warriors. Where is our training ground? Meditation. Finding the inner quiet, acknowledging our weakness, our demons, and rising above them.
Detaching ourselves from easy escapes that are so readily available to us. Whether they be in the form of food, television or material comforts. You don’t have to give them up entirely. Just become aware of your actions and look at why you hold such attachments.
Who cares what pants we wear to yoga class? Who cares if we even go to yoga class? As long as we practice something that challenges the illusion—the illusion of who we think we are. Then, we are cultivating the garden of our true self.
The point is to spend time with yourself. Look at that crazy, scary, wonderful, magical core that is you. It is capable of the darkest evil and the brightest good. But that is not power, it is reality. Disengage yourself from the idea of power and the attachment of control.
Stop talking and just listen. Find that single note at which your core self vibrates. Strip away the noise of pop culture, of beliefs you hold which are not your own, of what you want to be instead of what you are.
How do you want to save the world?
Start by singing that one single note, that one single vibration of your true self. Inspire your neighbors to add their note. Eventually, when we strip away the discordant noise that fills our every moment from waking to sleeping, we will exist in a harmony that is so uniquely ours no one will be able to help being moved. Really and truly and permanently moved.
Editor: Carrie Stiles