The other day I got into a car accident.
I was sideswiped by a car on the highway. I am fine, the other party is fine, cars will be repaired and we will all move on. But something very pronounced came to me in the moments after I was hit, as I sat waiting for the police to arrive.
I sat in my car and started meditating. The first thought that crossed my mind was, “God. What did I do to deserve this? I meditate, I practice yoga, I teach yoga. I am of service. I am a good daughter, friend, lover. Is there something I can do better?”
My eyes were closed but suddenly they shot open! I turned the rearview mirror toward my face and just looked myself in the eyes. That’s when it hit me.
While it is a privilege to practice yoga, it does not make us privileged in this world.
Just because we are engaged in yoga and meditation, these practices don’t make us any more special, any more important, and they certainly don’t exempt us to life’s hardships. We will still cry, feel anger, get into car accidents, deal with death, fall and get up again just to maybe fall again.
As a tear rolled down my cheek, I paused, and these words came to me in a softer way: We have a choice in how we respond to these events, and that is why we practice.
Oh. Okay. Thank you, God, for helping me understand this.
With the current hype of yoga, there can be a misconception that if we get on our mat often enough, meditate long enough, or read the right books, that we enter a higher state different from the one we are in now. I’ve experienced people get carried away with this “high” and, heck, I’ve been there too!
Though may I suggest that the state we reach is not a place far removed from where our two feet are right now. In fact, we don’t physically go anywhere. We re-root ourselves into presence where all the beautiful sh*t happens. We get to actually feel life and not just go through the movements that get us through life.
The work toward world peace absolutely starts with ourselves, no question about it, but there comes a moment when we as empowered and awakened human beings must start to put our practice into the world.
So I ask you who practice yoga and/or meditation: for every minute you spend on your mat or meditation cushion, can you name where that minute shows up in your life?
I believe if we can all get honest with the answer to this question, the ripples of love will become more like a current of love that overflows into the cracks of this world. And through this current, we can affect positive change that may be felt for decades to come.
Om shanti shanti shanti. Peace peace peace.
Author: Ayami Yamamichi
Image: Katherine Riley/Flickr
Editors: Kataria Tavčar; Caitlin Oriel