With things changing (seasons, consciousness, rallies, PMs) and yet not changing (cyclical habits, clinging onto old values, that Referendum), do you ever wonder where you stand in it all?
Having a centre, a core within ourselves, has never been more needed as we are exposed to more information (factual and manipulated) and at a greater flow rate. So many are feeling the more they know, the more they are without agency, support or representation.
Do we just let things… be? Let others’ control our lives or let things be as they are? Does the mere thought of creating positive change seem too colossal?
If we are interested in things like yoga or meditation, they certainly can provide time and room to switch off, to relax and relieve stress. Most of us need this in our lives.
Though yoga and meditation can also give power to our moral core and capacity for change. In fact, that’s part of their purpose.
We shouldn’t use deep spiritual practices to hide from our inner or collective dilemmas or conflicts. Nor will it help us in the long run, let alone the evolution of society, if we simply hope for the best and leave things that need changing or addressing to someone or something else.
When John Lennon and George Harrison appeared on the David Frost TV chat show in 1967 (the peak of Beatle mania), they were asked why they meditate and it was even put to them that meditation and spiritual practice was ‘narcissistic’.
Lennon replied that in giving himself a short time each day to sit in silence, he had the energy and and ability to go and do ‘what he needed to do, for himself and the world.”
The Bhaghavad Gita, the ancient Hindu text (c. 5BC) considered a major work of spiritual wisdom that is to this day respected universally for its truths, mentions Yoga over a 100 times. In all its references, yoga is a tool for engaging in life in a rich and productive way, as well as the outcome of living life consciously and fearlessly.
Here are some of the main definitions and characteristics of Yoga given in the Gita:
Clear, discerning, totally voluntary, dynamic participation in one’s life.
Sacrifice that elevates us, motivates us, informs us, actively engages us and does so in a manner that is harmonious to all other living beings.
Heightened sensitivity and awareness of all life around us and within us, and an outpour of love in reciprocation with life’s wonder and beauty
Fearless, illuminating, and a journey that does not end with death.
Pure, determined force that moves us toward the mysterious and secret, and connects us with the wonderfulness of existence, of being and of all life.
We might not be able to match Greta’s standard of courage and global reach. But what each of us can do is dig deep inside, do the work there, every day – and from within venture out for positive change. This too is Yoga.
-with thanks to Catherine Gosh and Graham Schweig for their translations and commentary on The Bhaghavad Gita