Not long ago I was teaching a Sunday morning yoga class full of strong-ass, determined, zen-loving people.
They were all pushing themselves, and sweating, and breathing, and making it all happen to the groovy sitar music with the fire and passion of a thousand warriors.
And, the most remarkable thing happened…when it was time for headstand, every single person, all 14 went up on their their mat.
I turned off the music, and for a moment, suspended in a state of reticent calm, I felt like I was given a glimpse into an alter-universe of beauty and oneness and intention, the kind of undeniable truth one usually only sees on acid.
It was the most peaceful thing I had ever seen, the strange magic of this reversal of heaviness, almost as if they were suspended from something above more than they were stabilized by gravity. Seemingly effortless. Total stillness. It was stunning.
And I’m thinking, if they could only see what I see…
Give me a cause, and I’ll show you a pitbull—a fighter, a yeller, a protester and a bewailer of how things could be and should be when you fight for your rights! Honk if you love peace and quiet! And, in the most extreme of circumstances, grab your weapons and arm yourself!
It’s time to go to the mat(tresses).
Fear mongers. Rioters. People with misguided egos and stomach ulcers. I’m not sure these are really the right homies for the job. Who wants to be in anger management when revolution happens? I’d rather be sitting on my bedroom floor listening to Beatles records with my dog and my guitar, even if I suck at playing it.
Seriously, can we all sit with some mint-infused decaffeinated green tea and relax for a minute?
George Carlin said “fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
Even though I’m wearing bell-bottoms and a halter top right now, I know it’s not the 60’s; there are reasons to be fed up with the sad state of things, and sweet idealism might not go very far. I’m not about to stage a bed-in à la John and Yoko, but If I could buy the world a Coke and keep it company while we all curled up to watch The Wizard of Oz, I would.
Think about putting away your anger before you whip someone in the face with it by accident. Then maybe do something to promote brotherhood on earth instead of threatening it, intimidating it, hurting it or trying to kill it.
Don’t walk around being a sh*thead to people. Why bother creating any more suffering for yourself and others in this life than we already have?
Everyone deserves dignity.
Stop being rude to the girl behind the counter at the yoga studio just because she can’t find your class package in the computer and judging the homeless guy asking for change on the freeway off ramp. He’s your brother in this life.
Negative thoughts are poison for your body, by the way. Worse than smoking. And if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, go ahead and eat some chocolate cake for breakfast, call in sick to work and go to the beach. Trust me, it’ll feel awesome.
In the words of Master Kan from the “Kung Fu” TV series: “Perceive the way of nature and no force of man can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on: avoid it. You do not have to stop force: it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced.”
Does this all mean you have to shave your head and boogie down to the nearest Shaolin temple on a spiritual sojourn to China to get the low-down from the Kung Fu masters? Or walk around on your fingertips? Children in training slap their fingers on a bag of sand 2,000 a day to toughen them up to do handstands on one finger.
The most disciplined thing I did all day was play my guitar for half a hour.
And I still suck.
So smile, because you’re reading this, and chances are you’re spending some idle time reading stuff on the internet, maybe feeling like a lazy bum, not getting anything done but maybe that’s what makes you happy.
Close your eyes. Put the focus on some of that Qi, that life force, the thing unseen that makes the world go ’round.
And the next time you feel like going off on someone over something that probably doesn’t matter much and never will, you can always shut up and pose.
More awesome from Anne:
Author: Anne Clendening
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Steve McCurry uploaded on YouTube