A few months ago, we had a state election. I spent the whole day in the sun handing out “How to Vote” cards for the Animal Justice Party. [For those who think that that is incompatible with teaching yoga, please refer to my Ahimsa blog – non-harmfulness.]
More recently, we’ve had a federal election, for which I spent a half day doing the same thing – handing out “How to Vote” cards to people who were apathetic about voting at all, and apathetic about the plight of animals everywhere.
The right to vote was won by ordinary men and women in enormous struggles. What a great thing it is that in this country we – the ordinary people – have a voice in how our country is run. Whether you’re happy or sad about the results of the election, we need to give thanks and be grateful for the opportunity to have a say – a right denied to so many people in the world.
“What has this to do with yoga?” you’re probably wondering. Well . . . . lots.
Giving thanks is a great way to start your day. Develop an “attitude of gratitude” as they say. Every morning before I get out of bed, and before I do my morning chanting, I give thanks. I give thanks for the wonderful parents I had and for the wonderful family I have. I give thanks EVERY day for my freedom! I am free to do just whatever I want, whenever I want to. And I am free to vote for whomsoever I want. Every day I give thanks for yoga, and my friends and for the wonders of nature.
Giving thanks each morning makes my day go so much more calmly than it used to. Even though there’s plenty of doom and gloom, there’s also plenty to be happy about.
Yoga is ALL about gaining inner peace. As I recall, so is Christianity – seeking “the peace that passeth all understanding”. Same peace. Whether or not you’re happy about how the election was run or who won or lost, if you have a strong practice of gratitude, you are still able to find and sit with that inner peace.
How can we grow this inner peace?
All the yoga poses (asanas) aim for peace. All the breathing and meditation practices aim to help bring about inner peace. So that even when things in life don’t go the way you want them to, you are able to be calm, and grateful for your life.
Remember that old song – “Don’t worry. Be happy now”. Develop that attitude of gratitude.