In this time of increasingly shocking divisiveness, it's easy to forget what the word "yoga" really means.
The Sanskrit root actually means "
One of the most helpful things I've read this week was this Taoist Parable shared by Alan Briskin:
During a time of great drought, a Taoist master was asked by members of a village if he could help bring rain to their dry fields. They confessed trying many other approaches before reaching out to him, but with no success.
The master agreed to come and asked for a small hut with a garden that he could tend. For three days, he tended the garden, performing no special rituals or asking anything further from the villagers. On the fourth day, rain began to fall on the parched earth. When asked how he had achieved such a miracle, the master answered that he was not responsible for the rain. However, he explained, when he came to the village, he had sensed disharmony within himself. Each day, as he tended the garden, he returned a little more to himself.
When he returned to balance, the rain came naturally.
Of course injustice in all forms must be addressed and healed, but the greater challenge is to embrace a heroism that does not further divide us.
As the Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman wrote 13 years ago:
"People are afraid that if they let go of their anger and righteousness and wrath, and look at their own feelings--and even see the good in a bad person--they're going to lose the energy they need to do something about the problem. But actually you get more strength and energy by operating from a place of love and concern. You can be just as tough, but more effectively tough. It's like a martial art."
Or as the Bhagavad Gita (6:29) observed nearly two thousand years ago:
"Through the practice of yoga,
the yogi sees the Divine Self
in all beings and at all times."
Perhaps that's the hardest part of the struggle: Seeing the Divine in
ALL BEINGS...and at
And yet if we want the rain to come naturally, we have to make bringing ourselves back into balance our priority.
We have to "Become the Ocean," or as Leonard Cohen also wrote:
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."