The Fourth of July for me is a chance to celebrate freedom and liberty on all levels—the personal, social, national and international. The Yoga Tradition, as you know, believes that human beings are “Divine, Infinite and Perfect.” Judaism, Christianity and Islam believes that we are “made in the image and likeness of God” (Gen 1:27). Therefore, because God is the epitome of freedom and autonomy, human beings are destined by our nature to be free and autonomous. Humans are free to do and be whatever we want to be.
With this core autonomous and free nature, we are able to do all that we desire—on all levels (personal, social, national and international). Everyone in the United States has a great time celebrating that truth. In the U.S., we call this opportunity to celebrate our freedom an opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
In the pursuit of that dream, however, in contrast to yoga and Judaism, Christianity and Islam, we tend to focus on the lower aspects and dimensions of ourselves. We focus on our physical and emotional needs and desires – like lots of money and possessions, big houses, physical walls and alarm systems to protect our possessions, and employment that provides us with many toys. We focus on increasing the pleasures of the senses—taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight. We focus on the enhancement of our ego and our identity as “citizens of the most powerful nation in the world” and all the beliefs that support our self-image as a U.S. citizen.
Yet, yoga and the core of Judaism, Christianity and Islam emphasize the freedom and liberty to be our true selves. These traditions celebrate our divinity, our perfection, our infinitude. In other words, these traditions celebrate on this Fourth of July our likeness to God—who is absolute good and perfect kindness. We often put those ideas of goodness and kindness into the word LOVE.
So, this Fourth of July is our opportunity to celebrate goodness and kindness on all levels—to love on all levels. According to yoga, this is the positive way of celebrating “ahimsa” (non-violence, non-harming).
We celebrate that we are eating the highest quality of food possible, hopefully organic and local. We celebrate that we never lie or mislead those we love in order to make ourselves look better in their eyes or manipulate their actions. We celebrate that we long to protect life – from conception to natural death – and all the stages in between, especially young children.
We celebrate the increased use of wind and solar energy power in the U.S., Europe and Australia, thus decreasing the effects of accelerated global warming. We celebrate our U.S. citizens’ desire to feed, clothe and protect all children, no matter what their color or nationality.
We celebrate the increased awareness of billionaires like Bill Gates to respond to the health needs in Africa. We celebrate the United States’ promotion of peace throughout the world by our citizens’ increase in giving more and more food and aid to those in the war torn areas of the planet.
We celebrate the city of Seattle’s law that curtails their citizens’ use of “single-use plastic straws and utensils,” thus reducing the plastic waste crisis on earth.
We celebrate the kindness that different races give to each other as they march together for different justice issues. We celebrate our core goodness and kindness, for that makes us truly free.
Happy Fourth of July!
Happy Celebration of our kindness and goodness!