Ignore No Longer
The first and biggest affliction we all suffer from is ignorance. Patanjali 2.3. The further on I go the more I realize how blindI have been. Blindness and ignorance go together. On some level we have all been ignoring. Ignoring the cries of the planet, ignoringthe cries of women, ignoring the cries of the homeless, ignoring systemic racism in America. We are so ignorant that we voted into the highest office of the country an old ignoramus, a self-serving, white, reality show, t.v businessman with a toupee on his crown chakra. Avidya. That’s the word. I have not only been ignoring what’s in front of me, but I have not had the grit, the mulabandha, to own up to what is happening. What is happening is that white people of privilege are complacent. Yogis are complacent. Self-satisfied. I recognize that I live in a cubbyhole of white, middle class yoga privilege.
“In a dark time, the eye begins to see” wrote Theodore Roethke. It is a dark time no doubt. Now we need to recognize and see that forces of oppression are happening all around us, happening right in front of our eyes. See America’s addiction to guns. See the bias against women, blacks and Mexicans. See the stupidity in the motion to Build the Wall. We have ignored too long.
I see the destruction of the environment.
I see the greed of people in power.
I see the unethical treatment of animals.
I see that we value the dollar more than justice.
I see homophobia.
I see yoga teachers abusing their power.
I see America’s habit of incarceration.
I see that those of us with privilege value comfort over equality.
I have spent years on the mat in pursuit of my own well-being and have used yoga to alleviate my own suffering. But that is not enough. It is time for Right Action.
That is, to stand up (Tadasana!) against the forces of oppression that continue blind, ruining the ecosystem and refusing to help those in need. And mindfulness is not enough. It falls short of creating change. I got the message over these past 2 weeks, that to stay complacent is to support the forces of power that dominate, suppress, ignore, violate, abuse and take. I see now just how duped I have been by a system of favoritism. It is clear that we cannot ignore any longer. Like with this pandemic, are we really willing to go back to our old ways? Going back to the old ways is like putting on a blindfold and running into a house on fire. How can we ignore that now is the time to change??