I see YOU...
I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about my role as an individual, as a yoga teacher, as a role model for my students during the current crisis of racism we are facing as a nation. I grew up in what I call my “happy bubble” of Southern California raised by the most inclusive, nondiscriminatory parents whose only wish was for me to be a good human. As a result, I feel that I’ve led a very sheltered life far removed from the hatred and ugliness of a racist society. In my role as a yoga teacher and in my practice of a yogic life, my deepest core belief is that we are all connected on a soul level to each other. That as C.S. Lewis so beautiful stated, “You don’t have a soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body.” These beautiful, diverse, multi-colored, multi-sized and shaped bodies we have been assigned are just vessels that house our divine inner being. Truly the purpose of Yoga is to remind us that we are not the external stuff of life (the Chitta Vritti) that causes our suffering, and to help us quite that mind stuff in order to listen to our deeper truth and connect with our divine spirit. Our spirit has no color, no size, no bank account or ideas of who or what we should or shouldn’t be. Our spirit sees beyond the external and into the soul of another.
So how then, you might ask, did we end up in such a racially divided world? A world full of have’s and have nots. A world that has since the dawn of time fought wars over the color of one’s skin or one’s chosen beliefs? Well that would be the whole “we are humans” thing. We identify with our bodies, our minds, and our thoughts. And the biggest and most powerful thoughts are those which are led by FEAR. When fear takes over our minds, we completely lose touch with our divine self and we identify with our primitive or limbic part of our brains. It’s fight or flight mode and it goes deep. When we are in this space it’s like our brain has been hijacked or we are in a trance and it can feel as if there is no way out. It also makes it appear that what we are thinking is actually TRUE. Add on to that those deeply rooted, fearful thoughts that have been passed down from generation to generation, and you have one solid foundation built on a rock of fear.
So how do we wake up from the trance? It’s actually so simple that it seems like it wouldn’t work. We STOP moving and thinking long enough to become still. In that stillness we open up our hearts and we listen. In that space of listening we find our deeper truth and that connection to SPIRIT or SOUL. Now I said simple, but really it takes a whole lot of patience and practice depending on how loud those voices in your head might be screaming. That wiring goes way back and to re-wire that mind it's going to take some practice. Adding a daily meditation practice to your routine of just 5-15 minutes a day is a great way to start. Check out some of the links I've included further down for tips on getting a daily mediation practice going.
This time right now is a Universal Wake-Up Call. It is a cry from our hurting, connected spirits that we must stop and listen. NOW. As Dr. Wayne Dyer put it, ““When you eliminate the concept of separation from your thoughts and your behavior, you begin to feel your connection to everything and everyone.”
As we head back out into this scary world of pandemic and racial fears, I invite you to adopt a simple practice. Since we are required to mask our faces and can only use our eyes and hands to greet one another (and since I find that the harder I try to smile with my eyes I wonder if I really come across as looking a bit crazed)…let’s adopt the gesture of Anjali Mudra, or prayer hands, in our greetings to each other. This hand position evokes the spirit of the word Namaste which honors our deep, soul level connection.
Namaste – My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.
In that moment, use it to take that time to pause, to deeply listen, and to remember. WE ARE ONE.
Mary Baker - ERYT-500 yoga teacher, adventure lover, fitness junkie, doughnut snob, whiskey & wine sipper