Uh, oh! I feel a rant “re coming in”. It all started when a yoga person affixed the above graphic with a question: Are you adopting the lockdown? Or repelling it? To be honest, the question saw me a bit angry. I immediately thought of all the people around the world who had lost their loved ones, had lost their jobs, had lost their homes, were killing themselves with work to help those in need, were sick themselves, and so on. Were they supposed to look at the pandemic as an “opportunity”? And if they weren’t “flourishing” right now, was that somehow their own fault because they didn’t make the proper position toward their situation? Then, there are those of us who are privileged enough to have tasks, nutrient, a neighbourhood to live, etc. Should we still be expected to flourish during this difficult time? For example, should someone who has been living alone without experiencing any human suggestion for more than seven months, with no end in sight, be expected to see their brand-new, wholly lonely life as an “opportunity”? So, yeah, I couldn’t refuse observing. I said that I felt this duality was neither kind nor helpful. And I asked whether there wasn’t something in between these two “opposites, ” something more along the lines of credence? The pole felt exceedingly judgmental to me, but I did try to be genteel in my response.
But it got me studying. Later in the working day when I was taking a accompany with Brad, I told him about what had happened. He said something I thought was so astute:
“Did you ever look at a bush that has gone through a long drought? It’s patently not abounding! But it has lived. That’s all it is very important to do right now–survive. There will be time to flourish later.”
We live in an area that is regularly beset by shortages as well as forest shoots, so I was readily able to picture a majestic redwood tree, like the ones I love to visit in the Muir Woods, with its needles baked and fragile but its core strong and solid, waiting patiently for the winter downpours to return.
And I “ve thought about” the Bhagavad Gita. I told Brad that in that story, the man-god Krishna is counseling Arjuna, who is about to face great difficulty: going into a battle where he might be forced to kill relatives and beloved professors. Although Krishna strongly fosters Arjuna to do his duty as a soldier and fight the battle he has signed up for, he does not tell Arjuna to “embrace” the “opportunity” before him. Instead, he tells him to make the yogic approaching to the his work, which makes facing the difficulty with working attitudes of equanimity, or an evenness of mind.
“Set thy centre upon thy operate, but never on its reward.Work not for a reinforce; but never cease to do thy work.Do thy work in the treaty of Yoga and, free from selfish longings, be not moved in success or failure.Yoga is evenness of mind–a peace that is ever the same.” — translated by Juan Mascaro
In the end, after much discussion, Arjuna accepts Krishna’s advice, committing to a yogic approach, and enters into the battle. Do you ever wonder what happens after that? The result of the conflict is actually catastrophic. Arjuna does survive, but the war is a terminated catastrophe and both the armies, Arjuna’s and the one he and his brothers are fighting against, are slaughtered. Afterward, Arjuna is cursed by Gandhari, King Dhritarashra’s wife, for allowing that butchery to come about. Eighteen years later, at the end of his life, Arjuna does achieve enlightenment, but he has a lot more difficulty to get through before that happens. To set it bluntly, even after he “embraces” yoga, his life is not a luxuriant garden of outpouring blooms.
All of this is why I repute the duality of “threat” vs. “opportunity” is a false one and is a way of thinking that acquires light of the true nature of predicament, including the challenge of surviving through a global pandemic. On the other hand, yoga does provide us with a solution that is both more helpful and more compassionate for those who are living through difficulty: growing serenity. As the Bhagavad Gita tells us, a yogi is one 😛 TAGEND
“Who unperturbed by changing conditions sits apart and watches and says ‘the powers of nature go round’, and remains house and shakes not.
Who abides in his inner self, and is the same in pleasure and tendernes; to whom golden or stones or earth are one, and what is pleasing or annoying leave him in peace; who is beyond both kudo and condemned, and whose spirit is continuous and quiet.” — translated by Juan Mascaro
So, don’t cause anyone pity you for not choosing to “embrace” the difficulties you’re facing these days. Instead, simply use whatever yoga practices help you to stay steady throughout these challenging epoches. And if you find yourself at your wits culminate now and then, have as much compassion for yourself as you would for another.
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