In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.
(maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam) ~ From Yoga Sutra 1.33 credited to the Sage Pantanjali
Some of the news lately has had me wondering if there will ever be real peace even in me let alone the world. The shooting in Charleston was especially heartbreaking and it is very difficult to not feel anger toward the man who committed this act of hate. I think everyone has their triggers, those issues that fire us up, for me racism is that issue. Don’t get me wrong, when I see any form of violence or intolerance it effects me – how could it not – but racism is the one that brings out the deepest anger for me.
When I feel this sort of anger or frustration I turn to the teachings of yoga to find may way back to peace. Yoga Sutra 1.33 speaks of the four attitudes to cultivate toward others. It’s truly a road map to inner peace. Cultivating happiness, compassion and goodwill have become habitual for me I think, but neutrality or indifference to those who we perceive as evil is a whole other ball game. Having this sort of indifference is not the same as accepting the behaviour. I know that in my intellect. What I don’t know if how we as a collective can make change while being indifferent to those who act in such nefarious ways. I’ve read a lot of different posts about the shooting and it’s aftermath and one in particular stuck with me Allies, the time for your silence has ended. While maintaining peace and putting peace into the world in my small way remains my ultimate goal, I need to act as well when I see injustice. I can remain indifferent to the shooter, knowing that his journey too has a purpose but I don’t need to remain a silent supporter. I can use Pantajali’s philosophy to remain equanimous in my own mind while speaking up when called to. I will act.