In my last blog, I concluded that in order to experience happiness and peace in a world of negative news, tragic violence and helplessness feelings, triggered by climate change, huge forest fires, family separations at the Mexican-American border and children dying because of wars and bombings; we need to shut ourselves off from those triggers of fear and terror. I asked whether that meant that we should become a monk or a nun so that we could think only of divine things. Yoga does suggest that in the early stages of our lives.
Of course, now that we are mature and living actively in this world of violence and hectic activity; becoming a monk, nun or cave dweller is impossible for almost all of us. We live in this world and yoga says that we should live skillfully in this world.
Then if the journey to happiness and peace is the inward spiritual journey in the physical world, what are we to do?
Yoga says that we are to be the arms, hands, feet, and face of Divinity. We are to act in tune with the life-giving Source of Creation. We are to perform our daily duties as the life-giving Source of our existence or as our Divine Mother would. Christianity has a phrase that is often used, “What would Jesus do?” We are to act like Jesus.
Although the journey starts inwardly, as it did for Jesus, or the Buddha, or Muhammed, or Moses, or any great yogi; it must move into the active, physical world of creation and nature. If that does not happen, then we will be frustrating the Divine Source of Life. Yoga says that we need to take control of our minds and emotions and not let the outside world toss us around. We need to learn how to control our thoughts of inadequacy, scarcity, inferiority, and mortality. These limiting thoughts feed incredible fears when any of the uncertainties of life show up or when we see others suffering from war, violence or injustice. Our fears will lead us to anger and will just add stress to our lives because there usually is nothing that we can do about many global and national events.
Reacting negatively to the painful events creates more pain for ourselves. However, yoga says that acting skillfully, like God or the Divine Mother, provides us with a powerful response to what seems like a helpless situation. For example, when we do anything to change the negative, death-dealing, dignity-decreasing way that some system works; we choose to not act in accordance with that system. We initiate another more positive, life-giving, dignity-enhancing system.
A number of us are attempting to do that by starting a co-operative grocery store in downtown Fond du Lac. We call this effort the Farm2Table Co-op & Café. We want to supply reasonably-priced local, organic natural food year ‘round in the downtown area.
The Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund is changing the system of silence regarding domestic violence and sexual abuse through a three-year initiative that has started a community-wide conversation about discussing taboos. We at the Center have contributed to that by holding special yoga training sessions for victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The Center now offers free yoga to the clients of ASTOP and the Friendship Corner, a National Alliance for Mental Illness program.
The Himalayan Institute has trained the people of Northern Cameroon to make wood products for sale in Southern Cameroon. This allows the Cameroonians to become self-sufficient. Through the help of the Himalayan Institute, they built their own library and medical center freeing them from potential dependency on a foreign organization or state.
These are the actions that we need today. When we fret and get depressed about the pain and the agony present in today’s U.S. cities, in today’s frenzied fossil-fuel world, at the Mexican-American border—we must act as God would. We can do wonderfully creative things even dismantling some of the negative systems, of which we are a part. We, then, make the world a better place for all. We build systems that help people—like the Fond du Lac Center for Spirituality and Healing, or the Farm2Table Co-op and Café, or the “Fond du Lac Says No More” initiative of the Women’s Fund, or the Himalayan Institute’s Humanitarian projects.
For me, doing all these positive, loving, helpful actions moves me away from the burdens of life. I remember that the Divine Mother is in charge anyway. All I need to do is keep acting, creating and participating in good systems; letting the outcome be decided by my Divine Mother.
That’s all anyone of us needs to do!