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Interpreting the Signs

By Michael Ketterhagen, PhD

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a State trooper sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself, “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.

Approaching the car, he sees that there are five old ladies—two in the front seat and three in the back—wide-eyed and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand. I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

“Ma’am,” the officer replies, “you weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly. Twenty-two miles an hour!” the old woman says a bit proudly, pointing to a nearby road sign.

The officer, trying to contain a chuckle, explains to her that “22” is the route number, not the speed limit.

A bit embarrassed, the woman grins and thanks him for pointing out her error.

“But before I let you go, Ma’am,” the officer says, “I have to ask… is everyone in this car okay? Your passengers seem awfully shaken and they haven’t muttered a single peep this whole time.”

“Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute, officer,” says the old lady.

“We just got off Route 119.” --Unknown author

During this Covid-19 “virus world,” we are experiencing many things. The virus itself, the death toll attributed to the virus, the different reactions to the virus (both nonchalant and fearful), the social distancing orders, the online activity of many people, children learning at home, medical doctors doing tele-appointments, and many more.

These are all signs of the time and they can be interpreted very differently, just as our story above indicates.

How would a yogi interpret all these events and experiences, all these signs?

The Yoga Tradition knows that change is an essential part of our physical and mental worlds. Only the core of ourselves, that still, loving Center of our being, where the Source of Life resides, is unchanging.

The Yoga Traditions also teaches that the greatest human fear is “abhinivesha,” our fear of death. Actually, the translation of the Sanskrit word “abhinivesha” is fear of losing our identity. We identify with so many of the external signs that we are experiencing rather than the reality of our inner Self.

That means that we will be interpreting all these signs with fear rather than preparing ourselves for all the new realities that will be coming after the Covid-19 threat ends. Instead of looking at all the things that we will be missing, because we have identified with them and feel the pain of their loss, we need to look to the future and realize that we will be living in a completely different world. There will be no going back to the old familiar ways of doing things and of thinking. The planet’s universal consciousness will have changed dramatically.

Just think about that!

However, in order to think about that we must cultivate a clear, organized, balanced, and positive mind. According to Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, my yoga teacher, the only way we can do that is to pray and practice very specific yoga practices. Those practices will not only make us physically strong, but will sharpen our mind and nervous system to see clearly what we need to do now and to see clearly what is ahead.

Next week, I will share some of those yoga practices. Meanwhile, eat and drink nutritiously.


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