At least in the United States, it appears the humans have really been struggling this year. The pandemic has shined a light on the worst problems in our societies. From systemic racism, to health disparities, financial inequities–we can see it all with better clarity now.
Seeing that the problem exists is certainly a step in the right direction. But it doesn’t mean we are capable of fixing it. At this moment in time I have my doubts that the United States will be able to solve its huge problems of systemic oppression. My yoga practice does give me hope though.
A true cliche
It sounds cliche to say (but it is actually true)–> if we all realized we were connected to each other we would probably treat each other better.
My consistent dedicated yoga practice has helped me to understand myself and over time I began to see there were areas that needed to change. Seeing the problem areas and becoming willing to change introduced me to compassion, for myself. Then it dawned on me… other people are probably in the same situation. They are struggling and need adjusting too–but maybe they don’t see it?
This realization that others are struggling, like me, made me have compassion for other people. When I approach a new person from compassion as the baseline there is a better chance I will treat them better.
I am not saying I have infinite compassion for every and any person I meet. I am still human and still need adjusting. But the baseline compassion has increased greatly.
Pandemic silver linings
The pandemic has caused a lot of problems but also helped us see where we are going wrong as a society. It has forced us to slow down and question and find a new way.
Several friends (who still have work) have told me they are glad they were forced to work from home and not spend so much time in the car. They report their business is better, their marriage has improved.
Yoga asks us to be dedicated to a practice, regularly, over a span of time (ideally, an entire life time). This dedication means I am regularly slowing down. I need to slow down so that I can study myself in order to increase my knowledge and truth. When I see my truth I can see the truth in others, I am connected to them (see above).
As I write this the classes at College Hill Yoga have been virtual since the end of March–five months! I am amazed but also, at this point, knowing what I know about COVID-19, not surprised.
I was reluctant to remain committed to the online classes because I really missed the students and thought I wouldn’t be able to teach them everything they need. But it is working. The students are learning. And the ones who have stuck around seem (from my perspective) more dedicated than ever.
Before the pandemic I was always trying to convince students to form a yoga studies group, or book club or sutra discussion. No matter how enthusiastically I presented the idea I could never get much response. But now that everything is remote many students are participating in a Practice Studies group. I was shocked, and now thrilled. I couldn’t be happier.
Being forced to find the good within the struggle has always presented me with amazing gifts. I am glad for yoga for it keeps pushing me to find solutions.
Happy practicing to you!