The art and science of Yoga reaches far beyond the impressions most people have of it being a series of bendy, physical exercises.
Yoga is a systematic body of knowledge and practice that teaches integrated living, while realizing our highest good. If you practice yoga, you have an opportunity during elections to engage mindfully with your community and with the power you have as a citizen.
Yogic sages and enlightened masters remind us that most of us perceive ourselves to be isolated islands because we are in a sleep-like state of consciousness, from which we must awaken to grow spiritually. In reality, we are interconnected beings in a constant state of co-creation within an intelligent whole.
From this yogic perspective, to care for someone else is to care for yourself. This is also true for the care of all living things, including our planet Earth. As we evolve, we come to see that we are literally the world, the very same stuff of which all matter is made and the life-force that sustains it. For this reason, caring for the Earth is an essential part of being alive and sharing gratitude for the opportunity we have while here, to love, learn and evolve.
As yogis, we understand that what happens in one part of the world affects everyone around the world. For example, the vulnerable ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean, far removed from the day-to-day concerns of most in the South, is currently a hotbed of political and economic activity. As the polar ice caps recede and their power to cool the planet is diminished, mineral and petroleum deposits are revealed on land and in the ocean. These are subject to exploitation from major oil companies and other big businesses. But this comes at a very high cost to us all, putting the delicate environment at greater risk while profiteering from, rather than halting, the planet’s rising temperatures.
In the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna teaches Arjuna how to live as a yogi while embracing the tasks that are his to do. Like Arjuna, we can practice yoga by acting in accordance with our deepest purpose throughout each day and at this election time.
I encourage you to follow your soul voice and inner wisdom and choose a government that reflects your intention as a yogi. Consider the wisdom of acting to care for all life in your country and on the planet.
If you have the right to vote and are not sure if you will exercise it, think of all those who have gone before you who have risked their lives to give you this privilege. Not that long ago, women and black people could not vote in North America.
Still, worldwide, many do not have this basic democratic right to weigh in on who they wish to lead their country.
When thinking about your electoral candidates and the state of global agitation, you may wish to do the following exercises to help you make your decision and contribute to world peace.
Vote Like A Yogi: Rooted, Vital and Expansive
Familiarize yourself with your local candidates and the party leaders. While looking at their images or reading their words, quietly breathe in and out a few times and see if you can tune in to how their presence makes you feel.
Notice any sensations you experience in your body. Do you feel constricted?
Do you feel relaxed, energized and grounded? Does their message feel resonant in your gut, heart and soul? Do you feel rooted, vital and expansive when you consider voting for them? Or do you feel your energy shrink or become agitated? Yogis know that to act in rooted, vital expansion is in alignment with nature and the highest good of all.
If you feel dissonant with all candidates, you may consider not voting. But do so from a place of conscious choice rather than reactivity. Give it a voice. Write to the candidates and leaders. Express why you did not vote for them and what you are looking for in a leader.
Make a firm commitment within yourself to live by these standards.
Even if you don’t go to the polling station, whatever you do contributes to how you co-create within the greater whole. There is no such thing as no choice. You are already part of it all.
Send Light To Our World Leaders
Whether or not you have a ballot to cast at this time, you have the ability to contribute to world peace through your thoughts and actions. You can help our world leaders by visualizing light surrounding and infusing them. Hold the intention that all those who seek to govern are nourished and inspired to serve the interconnected whole rather than perpetuate greed and disconnection.
Just as you would for yourself or for someone you love, wish for the light of consciousness to ignite the hearts and minds of everyone, everywhere, so that it may guide their choices. As each one of us chooses to shine our inner light, together we illuminate the world.
May you be inspired to live the art of yoga wherever you may be, in whatever you do. Remember that we are all connected.
Love yourself. Love others. Love our world. We are one Earth family.
Editor: Renée Picard