It was Thursday afternoon.
I was getting ready to teach yoga class when I received text messages from my two best friends. They both had a similar message: “x was on the flight…”
The flight was MH17 that crashed in the Ukraine after it was shot by Russian separatists. I did my best to get my act together and arrived at the studio just in time for my class. With emotions stuck in my throat I couldn’t help but share this awful news with my students. Suddenly, violence on a world scale had hit too close to home.
As a yogi, I focus on the bigger picture—always asking myself what I can learn from a certain situation, especially when it is typically perceived as a negative circumstance. Under that premise, I offered my students the chance to see this event as an opportunity to practice Ahimsa (non-violence or compassion).
There is no question this incident is horrible. Entire families, young people on the verge of their peak in life, infant children and seasoned researchers have died because of an act of terrorism.
Yet, to me, it is equally sad that people exist in this world who are disturbed to the point they shoot a missile at a civilian aircraft. It is easy to point a finger at the “bad guys” and claim they are the reason we still haven’t been able to attain global peace.
But what about our own individual world?
As long as we criticize ourselves, get annoyed when someone takes our spot in the yoga studio, give someone the finger when they cut us off in traffic, violence and negativity keep us from experiencing peace and compassion. Let’s remember this from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Clearly there is more going on in the world than the crash of flight MH17. On the same day of the crash, Israel started an offense in Gaza. Whether it is in Israel or the Ukraine, there is turmoil. It is not just these isolated events that cause so much unrest in the world. The fact that the whole world, or so it seems, is arguing on social media and in the press about what has happened—why, by whom, and whose fault it is that X happened—only shows that something is dangerously amiss.
We need to wake up. Arguing about the horrible events happening around us is not going to make this world more compassion or more at peace, let alone change the world. This simply keeps negativity spreading, and is the opposite of practicing Ahimsa.
The only answer to violence is love!
Please, let the crash of flight MH17—as a symbol of all the violence in the world—lead to something good, so that the passengers and crew didn’t die in vain. Let’s all pray, meditate, send good vibes, or whatever it is we do, for a more peaceful world—and loving kindness among all people.
I recorded the meditation for world peace I shared in my yoga classes over the past few days, and ask you to join me there. Let us all spread a wave of positivity on this—our—planet. Feel free to share with anyone who may benefit from it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor: Catherine Monkman