Considering I am a long time practitioner of yoga, I can be kind of cynical. I am not just talking about feeling frustrated by a limp side crow pose, but a prevailing sentiment that humanity is fucked. Excuse my French...I meant people are fucked.
There is part of me that wants to have faith, yet the older I get, and the more information I am exposed to, the more hopeless I feel. The despair is palpable because I cannot escape the endless flow of content reminding me just how damaged humans really are.
We live in a nation where 24-hour news networks are shoving negativity in our faces like a child wanting you to smell their dirty socks. This metaphor may be lost on you, but my 4-year old is constantly wanting me to smell her socks. Come to think of it, what is up with that?
On my better days, I have early morning visions that maybe there is a chance society will be transformed, and we will come together and learn to operate from a place of love, not fear.
The lyrics of John Lennon swirl around my semi-conscious state as psychedelic colors flash before my closed eyelids. I then open my eyes, get out of bed, look at my computer, see a terrible headline, and then get back into bed to weep while I wait for my butler to bring a croissant and orange juice…but then I realize I don’t have a butler and that was also part of my dream, so I weep some more.
Do You See How This Vicious Cycle Is Eroding My Soul?
Even though I don’t think being informed about world affairs has to be psychically crippling, it is still challenging for me to see the beauty of existence in the face of such ugliness. This, among many reasons, is why yoga practice is so pivotal to my sanity.
Regardless of how destitute I feel, I can always turn to yoga and meditation to find peace – even it is just for a moment. But check it out...I am living in the moment, am I right?!
Even though I have a strong personal practice, sometimes I crave to be around the energy of others to help lift me. Where I live in Southern New Hampshire, there is a growing movement of Kundalini yoga. Even though my personal practice is Vinyasa, Kundalini has had an increasing impact on my study of yoga.
Mass Meditation for Yogi Bhajan
On Oct 6th, there was a mass meditation and celebration to honor the life of Yogi Bhajan, the guru who brought Kundalini to the west. Ten thousand people across 100 countries came together to meditate.
I had never been a part of a communal meditation before, and had no idea what to expect. Yet for some reason, I knew my soul needed this experience.
After a demanding kriya, the class sat down in their meditative poses as our teacher used her MacBook Pro to connect to the live feed of the event. Accepting this post-modern irony, we all closed our eyes, and began singing along to the mantra. After the rhythm, melody, and timing were established, I started to lose myself.
I could feel the connection I had with not only the people in the room, but all the yogis across the globe participating. I was energetically supported by their intention to bring positivity into the world. It was breathtaking. Beautiful. Hopeful.
Then, the live feed lost connection.
I almost went into a state of panic. How could we go on without the guidance of the live feed?! But our teacher lovingly encouraged us to continue on our own, and we did. We had to hold the space ourselves.
The feed then came back on, and amazingly our chanting was still synchronized. Despite the absence of tangibly being part of the group through the Interwebs, we hadn’t skipped a beat. Randomly the feed would go away, and we would be on our own yet again, only for it to come back and pick us up as if nothing had ever gone missing.
The message was profound. Even when we are alone, we are together.
Usually this type of disturbance would annoy me. Rather than staying present, I would get all judgey about our modern times and how this breakdown of technology is indicative of our failure as a society. Yet, I didn’t feel that way.
I was overcome with forgiveness for all the imperfections of civilization. There was this sweetness to the whole scene. I could taste how simultaneously innocent and flawed each and every one of us really is, and swallow the meaning behind the perceived madness.
Seeing The Suffering
I then started to travel across the globe in the astral plane, seeing all these people who cause misery: rapists, warlords, corrupt politicians, greedy businessmen, killers, women-beaters. I saw them not just as the monsters their actions reveal, but the broken people inside.
I felt so much sympathy for the tragic truth that those that cause suffering were suffering too.
I then traveled deep into my own heart and found this innate connection to God. At times I feel so disillusioned by organized religion that I forget the profundity of spirituality.
Since the dawn of time, cultures have had a connection to Godliness and prayer. That bond, that pervasive commitment, isn’t just about social conditioning or controlling the masses. Prayer has purpose, prayer has power, prayer is acknowledging the infinite oneness.
Prayer is the actual cosmic fabric of the universe, cloaking us with its unconditional and eternal love. – Toni Nagy
My eyes poured tears of endless emotion during the entire meditation. The complexity of sensations ranged from utter sadness to pure elation. The entire spectrum of the human condition passed before me in a haze of silken clouds. Through the fog of my own confusion I realized that the greatest act of activism anyone could do…was to face their true self.
Through mastering our emotional impulses and being responsible for the energy we put out into the world, we are the most pivotal part of the solution. I was everything and nothing. I was all and none. I was here and nowhere. I was my own Dr. Seuss book.
Getting Back To Reality
When it was over, reality hit…hard. The teacher kept the live feed going and all my normal ego conversation came back in my mind.
“Why are we still listening to this? This lady talking is annoying me. I think it is time I go to bed. What time is it anyway? Is the guy next to me asleep? Wait, did he just fart? Oh no, that was me.”
It was a harsh return from skating across the time-space continuum in a state of bliss. Yet instead of hating myself for being so grossly human, I reminded myself I could bring these lessons with me. So I went to sleep that night and envisioned a world where prayer was the answer, and of course, I also dreamt of my butler.