I debated whether to discuss the US election at all, and then two things occurred which illuminated the message I’d like to share with you today.
First, as a bit of background, I traveled to London to visit my daughter’s family after not seeing them for a year, and to celebrate my grandson's fourth birthday.
I am required to quarantine for two weeks in self isolation and will not see my family until after 14 days. Luckily, I have a lovely airbnb to stay in and am grateful to be here.
Being 6 hours ahead in this time zone and having plenty of free time, it has been interesting to follow the US election comments through social media and various news sources. On the morning following the election, I read the late night comments from election night in the US. While not much had been decided, the comments from some rather longtime yogis and teachers of yoga that I know were surprising to me. Name calling and judgment about the intellect of the millions of people who had voted for President Trump and other very disparaging remarks about the newest Supreme Court justice - these comments were not following any yogic principles I know. It took all the will I had to not make retorts in the chains of comments, but I refrained and am glad I did. It would have been better still if I had not judged them in my mind as I read the comments, but I too am still practicing each day and working on the lessons of life.
An hour later, I came across a recommended video link from a friend, and I decided to watch it. This second occurrence was quite positive and gave me a lighter perspective on the previous behaviors of other yogis.
Sadhguru is a teacher, philanthropist, spiritual leader, author and was speaking to a room full of students at Columbia University Business School in New York. He is a rather no nonsense, straight talker. He began his talk reminding us all of the fact that we are tiny specks in the whole of the cosmos and even in relation to the planet earth, which is spinning in space without any help from us. He added that while we believe that life is human-centric, in fact humans are merely another creature which appeared on the planet relatively recently according to evolutionary science.
He shared that if all the worms on this planet disappeared, life on Earth would cease to exist in 12-18 months. If all the insects on this planet disappeared, it would take 5-6 years for life to cease. If all the humans on this planet disappeared, the planet would flourish. Something to think about………
A few of Sadhguru's tidbits of wisdom:
*Speaking of the US election, without naming any names, he addressed the accusations about the current “divisive language” by our leader (of course meaning President Trump). Sadhguru said that the divisions and the issues were all there for many, many years before the last four years in America. He added that the language used has been positive, as the issues are now raised to a level of discussion and heightened importance which may actually lead to improvements. Positive steps have been made and more will be made, but blaming one man for anything as systemic as racism or poverty or environmental issues is foolishness according to Sadhguru.
*Our strong identities are what cause us great pain and suffering. Again, as related to the election, “taking on an issue with missionary zeal will eventually yield to strong identification with the mission and attacks on those who are not identifying in the same way.” Further he stated, “If we speak of justice, unknowingly the mind thinks immediately of revenge.” He added that justice yields division, even if for the right reasons. Justice usually leads to fights, destruction, and pain.
This second point seemed particularly relevant to my yogi friends who referred to Trump supporters as stupid and the appointment of justice Barrett to the Supreme Court as illegal. They were attacking with revengeful language, while simultaneously claiming to stand for justice and for a kinder, gentler country and discourse. These same yogi friends are also invested in the environment to the point of missionary zeal, and indeed attack anyone who does not identify in the same way. Again, interesting to think about……..
*It is the success of business that can make a difference in the world.” He regularly speaks to business leaders and says that is where the most impact can be made - not vilifying business but getting the leaders to understand why a different perspective might be good for the world and business at the same time. Helping them understand the importance of the process, rather than the end goal.
*”We should display sensibility in every aspect of our life” “If you want to win the cricket match, it’s not about beating the other team. It is about hitting the ball and doing it well. Doing the right things, devoting oneself to the process is what yields success.”
**”The media is playing it (divisiveness) up at a certain level. In our democratic society there should be a free press. Unfortunately all media across the world is owned by some corporation or another. It is no more free. It is tangled up with money. Big Time…Journalists are serving a company.…
Media is not just another profession in a democratic society. It is an important pillar of democracy. Without it, democracy will slowly go away to something else. …..It could be a complete mess, if there are no more checks and balances in the press. Today, don’t you already know which media belongs to which party?………Anonymous journalists, those who don’t dare to put their names, they are saying all kinds of things. But If you walk through the country, it is the same as it was - there are still problems and solutions. If you go off television and switch off your phone, and walk on the street, you’ll see everything is quite fine.”
*”Work and serve where you have access and acceptance - this is where you can make a difference - otherwise it will be like beating your head against the wall without the access and acceptance. You need to find the door, not the wall. Then you can easily walk through.”
He spoke for nearly two hours and covered many topics. Some of his comments resonated with me and others I’m still considering with some skepticism. I especially enjoyed the section on food and health. If you’d like to watch this thought provoking discussion in entirety:
May you and your loved ones be healthy and safe,