We’ve been resting & recuperating in a little cabin on Chesapeake Bay this week. Doing nothing “important.”
We haven’t listened to the news or checked much of the outside world … until Jim said 2 days ago, “They killed an Iranian General in Iraq today …”
This breaking situation in the midst of our little getaway … Where I have been studying the Yoga ethical principle of ahimsa — non-violence — for upcoming yoga classes. This year I’ve committed to practicing & sharing the ethical principles of Yoga with our little community in Uniontown. The yamas & niyamas, the first 2 limbs of the 8-limbed path of Yoga, are outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. (See Panditji’s commentary HERE)
In addition, we witness the violence being unleashed by the rampant bushfires in Australia, killing an estimated half billion — with a B — animals & endangering firefighters & humans. (See my IG post for opportunities to donate to animal rescue & firefighter support)
What is to be done?
My first reaction is outright ANGER. When will we wake up to what’s happening to our planet … because of our action / non-action? Even if you don’t subscribe to climate change … What violence have we unleashed on our water, soil, & air? Let alone the creatures trying to survive our cancer-like need for more? And it’s well-documented that negative impacts disproportionately affect the poor & oppressed.
On the other hand, what country’s government believes it’s a “good idea” to assassinate a foreign military officer?! Yes, he has been implicated in hundreds of American deaths … this is unconscionable. (Someone on social media posed the scenario: An American General is assassinated by a foreign government when leaving the Dallas airport … How would America react when the foreign leader states it was justified based on intelligence? That s/he has been directly/indirectly involved in several hundred foreign deaths. Think on our history … ).
Note: I acknowledge different opinions/views. I invite respectful debate & conversation.
My second reaction is FEAR. Fear for our servicemen & women who are now put in even more danger overseas. We as a nation have no idea of visceral violence of military conflict on our own soil. We have the luxury of watching it on TV.
Fear for the humans … volunteer firefighters, mostly … who leave family to go fight fires that could have been prevented if only for our commitment to non-harming.
My third reaction is “NOW WHAT?” What can I do from my small corner of the globe? I don’t know … yet I’m starting with:
1) Get informed. Listen to reputable news sources.
2) Redouble my own practice efforts. Meditate, seek to understand, fortify my internal resources.
3) Commit to non-violence. Even when I lash out in anger, fear, or despair. Recommit to non-violence. Take action in the name of non-harming — donate, speak out with fierce compassion, get involved where I can.
Non-violence is a PROACTIVE practice … not passive, not rolling over & taking injustice. Even the Dalai Lama has stated that violence in the specific situation & form of DEFENSE of one’s life is warranted.
Non-violence is beautifully & powerfully depicted by Ieshia Evans in this NY Times photo:
Ieshia Evans stood calmly as she was arrested by officers in riot gear during a Black Lives Matter protest following the police shooting death of Alton Sterling.
Photo by: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
Yoga’s foundation is ahimsa. Non-harming is the philosophy & practice upon which all the yamas & niyamas, as well as the other 6 limbs of Yoga, are based.
Lastly, I leave my internal roilings on this topic for today with this:
May ahimsa begin with us.