Election Day Practice

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In Sanskrit, Ahimsa means “not harming”.
Ahimsa is the essence of yoga.

Whenever I vote, I feel extremely grateful to be an American citizen and to be afforded the freedoms our democracy promises. Nothing is perfect, no one is perfect, except that everything is because reality is what is now – it is what it is, and to me the present is perfect. I have faith in human progress and the evolution of human consciousness. I do believe we can take necessary action without being unnecessarily cruel or violent. With that said, I also know that sometimes we violate ourselves, others, the environment – in all sorts of ways, minor and significant. And we watch others do it too.

Acting with discrimination & commitment while detaching emotionally from whatever comes about takes time to develop fully within us. Faith grows. Fear subsides.

In writing about ahimsa, the late master yoga teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar said, “The yogi opposes the evil in the wrong-doer, but not the wrong-doer… Opposition without love leads to violence; loving the wrong-doer without opposing the evil in him is folly and leads to misery…”
Sometimes the wrong-doer is a part of ourselves. Sometimes, we feel we are being wronged by another. However, it’s good to keep in mind that what is “right” or “wrong” for me is different from what is right or wrong for another. Except, in my opinion, care for the environment. I believe global warming is real and that it’s very possible for humans to make a difference, but I’ll save that for another post.

As ahimsa develops, fear and anger are diminished and/or are more easily transformed into compassionate action and healthy personal development. Compassionate action is doing the right thing at the right time. You may or may not like the consequences. Others may or may not like our form of compassionate action. Let it go and keep going. Have faith.

In speaking of anger, Iyengar distingushes between the kind that “debases the mind” because it is rooted in pride which limits perception and leads to defective judgement.  The other type of anger leads to spiritual growth in that it fuels our work of overcoming our own faults and short-comings. This strengthens our relationships and work with others. Being diligent with ourselves, we are understanding towards others.

I encourage you to join me today and every day in taking care of yourself and others. Stay cool. Eat some vegetables. Get some exercise and do your thing. Take a few minutes to sit quietly by yourself or with others, or dance or yell, stretch your arms and legs, breathe in and out, connect and reflect. Most importantly, keep breathing.

Enjoy the day, and Keep, keep, keep on going!

Love, Light and Leela!
Jennifer

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