We live in hard times. In one big sweep, all of the veils that we have been hiding behind have been lifted. Many among us are left staring down the barrel of our own denial. We have been waiting for things to change, to take their course, and now they have. But for an undeniable portion of the population, the change was a brutal blow. Where I live in Northern California, the actual outcome was spoken of as an impossibility and now there are masses of broken hearted, afraid, angry people compelled to ACT.
Social media is overflowing with suggestions about ways to get involved. Write letters, make phone calls, MARCH. Yes! Stand up, claim the right to be here, to have a voice, to fight for what you desire, but there is more to it than that. In order for this work to have a deep and lasting impact on the current reality in which we live, we MUST be doing the same work inside of ourselves.
Stop what you are doing and close your eyes.
Call up all of the characteristics about yourself that you loathe: desperation, sadness, loneliness, fear, worry. Stay there. Look at what you push away, look at what makes you cringe about yourself. Look at your hidden, shameful pieces. Look them all straight in the eye. This is the only way. We can’t keep turning away from what is rumbling under the surface, screaming to be seen. We can’t expect others to change if we are unwilling to change ourselves. We can’t stay ignorant or in denial of our own unlovable parts, yet expect the world to transform into a more loving and accepting place. If we cannot see our disapproval of others as pieces of ourselves, nothing will ever change.
The philosophy of Tantra teaches that what is within us is manifested in the world. The most advanced Yoga Practice is owning and assimilating ALL pieces of ourselves into an integrated whole. Even the things we want to forget, we accept, and that is the most IMPACTFUL work we can do. As we assimilate and integrate our shadows, we will also step more and more into the ownership of our GREATNESS. We will more willingly see what we have to offer, what is loving and loveable about ourselves. When we do the work of understanding ourselves, then we can move out into the world with the ability and skill to understand others, really.
Judgements and separation exist in the world, because they first exist inside. If we can move toward internal non-judgement and unity, then our outer world will start to reflect our internal state. So we MUST, start doing the work. The practices of yoga, meditation, and self reflection are more important now than ever. It is NOT selfish to take the time, it is the most powerful thing we can do for the world. What if the willingness to do your internal work was what you gave the world?
Start wherever you are. Whether it’s asana, running, journaling or making art. Prioritize your internal work as PARAMOUNT. Going to an asana class can be the first step in making radical revolutionary change in the world if you are willing to show up fully. We are all being called to ACTION. Don’t forget that the call is as much an internal one as an external one. As you show up for the protests, call the congressmen, write the letters, show up equally for yourself. YOUR practice, whatever it is, will make all of the difference.