Yogi Assignment: Love-in Meditations
A difficult place along the long and winding road of awakening is the realization of how remarkably far you have come and also just how far away you actually are from where you want to go. You may feel frustrated, angry, depressed and just generally overwhelmed. I know I have felt all that over the last week and numerous other times during my many years of practice.
Whether in yoga or life, when you find yourself at a critical juncture there is immense learning there. Yoga is an honest reflection of your state of being. Chances are that if you find yourself in the midst of paralyzing fear in yoga that same state of mind is also somewhere else in your life. The format of yoga offers you a chance not to escape from it all but instead to face all that you fear and eventually embrace it all in clear open awareness. What looks like flexibility is often strength. When appears to be raw power is often an expression of trust. In the quiet space of practice you learn to navigate the often contradictory waters of the inner world. There is a voice of wisdom that guides you through difficulty and gives you the courage to continue when the path looks dark and hopeless ahead. There is a faith that is transcendent of the inevitable ups and downs of the material world. And there is a peace that passes all understanding if you open your heart and mind to it.
Every backbend has the potential to open your heart, if you’re strong enough to let all the love and all pain in. But if you’re only willing to look at what feels good and comfortable, then you’ll close your best off to one of its most meaningful states—empathy. In order to open your heart you have to be ok with really feeling someone else’s pain, even if it means coming down from your own safe perch. Feeling with, suffering with, this is compassion. But in order to truly go there you have to be willing to listen and feel the pain of another. If you just block it out, snuff it out and turn away from anything even a little icky or uncomfortable, then the heart is like a hollow two-dimensional shell. It never opens, breathes, grows and it truly never learns what love is all about.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. So let it in, let it be fierce and fiery, let it consume every fiber of your being. Love is the answer. Those are great words but what is love in action? Some say that love in the public domain is justice. How can love be weaponized in the fight against oppression?
I’ve been in Alabama teaching the most amazing group of students this weekend. During my time here I visited the Civil Rights Institute. To watch the progression from the Plessy V. Ferguson court case that started the “separate but equal” battle of segregation all the way through our present day was equally heartbreaking and inspiring. I cried over Emmet Till and the assassination of MLK, but most of all I cried because we are still fighting the same battles. We must never give up the fight for justice.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars -must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
While the very small dispute that I am engaged in the yoga world is not in any way comparable to the monumental battle for equality, I have been inspired this weekend to turn the conversation towards love in action.
Starting tomorrow I will be hosting daily live meditations where I will guide anyone who wants to participate to go through the process of calming the mind, tuning in to love and then sending love and peace and prayers to the most stuck situations in our lives. I will personally be sending love and peace to the owners of Alo/Cody and asking for love to fill them up so much so that they drop this fight and make peace. Join me in this love-in marathon of meditation and let’s come together and burn so brightly with the power of love that peace and justice prevail. When people are filled with fear, they make war. When people are filled with love, they make peace. And no one can delete our thoughts and prayers! How much love will it take to move this mountain? We will keep meditating and sending good vibrations until love wins. Are you in?