It is the first of May. Over the last ten days of April, my mind has been all over the place with all that has been happening in India. If my social media feeds are any gauge, a lot of my friends and family are in the same situation. We are all witnessing the pain, the grief, the suffering – some are in the midst of it and others, who are at a distance, are doing whatever they can to offer help and support.
The anger and rage, despair and despondency, seemed to grow exponentially, as the situation deteriorated at a rapid rate. It seemed that almost everyone that I talked to knew someone who was affected in a big or small way by the virus’ spread in India. A lot of folks, including me, were asking – how could this (be allowed to) happen?
It isn’t unusual for us to ask this question when unprecedented pain, suffering, and death is brought upon humanity – how can a loving God (or higher power) allow so many to be subject to all this? How can this be a just outcome? Where is the goodness in all this?
I believe that these are all good questions to ask. I also believe that darkness and dark times can awaken us, remind our hearts of our empathetic nature, and inspire us to yet again focus on creating goodness and healing through our actions.
My belief in goodness is being re-affirmed every day by the same social media streams that are carrying pleas for help. For every individual plea, there seem to be dozens of people stepping up with ideas, resources, messages of hope and prayers. Non-government organizations, faith groups, corporations, and countries are taking action to provide all kinds of resources.
In the midst of the tragedy, when I refocused my mind, my heart began to see an awakening that led to an outpouring of goodness and goodwill towards India and her people. The questioning and blame setting and analysis of ‘what went wrong’ will continue for a while, and yet there is affirmation that goodness of human hearts is alive and well.
Hundreds of pop-up food kitchens. Folks lining up to donate plasma. NGOs creating makeshift hospitals. Doctors creating zoom networks to provide free consultation around the clock across the country. Teenagers creating “GoFundMe” campaigns to raise money for UNICEF India. Healthcare and frontline workers working untold hours at grave personal risk. The list of goodness and good people goes on and on…
What have I learnt? Darkness is an opportunity to create more goodness, or awaken the reservoir that already exists in our heart. We belong to goodness, because we have breathed it through the live of our parents, our caregivers, our well wishers, our friends and family, our spiritual guides and lights, and even the kindness of strangers.
If there is a winning or losing, then Goodness wins. Let us remember, and stay focused on helping the helpers who embody the hearts and hands of the divine.
P.S. Join us for our weekly conversation, Sunday May 2 at 9amET / 630pm India. India and I are grateful for your love and grace, and look forward to sharing tea and cookies with you again. – @AjmaniK
A beautiful cool breeze is flowing this morning before the heat rises. The blackbirds are practicing their landings on the fence — the young ones are learning how to land on top of cattails. I notice at least four or five new bushes lining the forest side with their white flowers now blooming.
The sun crests the roof from behind me and starts to warm the left side of my head behind the ear. Flap, flap, flap goes the edge of my sleep shorts as I sit cross legged clutching my cup of tea, The back of my right knee is cradled on top of the left, both of them supported by the toes of my left foot, heel suspended in mid air, lifted by the wooden rail of the deck running crossways. The bullfrog announces his presence by blaring out a morning song. As if in cue, a skirmish breaks out among some blackbirds — perhaps a heated conversation about ownership of a particularly fruited bush.
My thoughts shift. The world has destroyed itself and reconstructed itself, over and over again, for centuries. My hometown of the city of Delhi, the center of many an Indian empire, is said to have been razed to the ground seven times by invaders, and been built again. So, I sit here watching the birds go about their morning routine, which is rarely if ever interrupted unless there happens to be a roaring thunderstorm that forces them to take shelter in their nests and ride it out. Unlike humans, they don’t construct permanent walls or roofs or tenements or try to brave the storm by driving through standing waters.
Yes, the younger, more impetuous ones do fly a bit faster than their parents, and seemingly a bit more recklessly in between the bushes and trees, and occasionally miss their landings atop the cattails to end up closer to the water than their mothers would like to see. But what would you do if you woke up one fine morning of your young life and realized that you had been given wings, and one of your parents, knowing that you were ready, brought you to the edge and gave your quivering young body — that is shaking with fear at the prospect of falling to your death to the earth below — a final push with a prayer beneath her breath and said, fly!
She knows that if she has misjudged the strength of your wings, you may end up on the storm soaked ground below and the earth will either gently catch you so that you may try again, or embrace you forever, orange and yellow flecked wings and all — such is the nature of life, of discernment. We try, we fail, we learn, we adjust, and we try again. No progress, at any level, from the march of an ant to the launching of a new rocket to carry humans into space, has ever been made possible by simply sitting in our nests with the fear of flying or learning to fly.
When compared to birds and bullfrogs and geese and spiders and ants and willows and roses and pine trees and even rocks, we humans are mere fledgelings in the lifespan of the earth, let alone the universe. So, the creator has endowed us with Nature as a playground and observation space where we can learn some valuable lessons that can help humanity either rise and soar, or plummet and destroy itself. The laws of time, space and causation cannot be circumvented without first understanding the basics of cause and effect. Natural laws always takes precedence over human laws, for the wisdom of the One who created the former far exceeds the ones who created the latter.
However, we humans have been given one extraordinary faculty that distinguishes us from the rest of Nature.
And that is the faculty called ‘free will’ by some and ‘discernment’ or ‘viveka’ by others. As I arrive at writing this section, the wind has shifted. A cloud has temporarily come over the Sun behind me. The blackbirds are starting to retreat and the geese have left the pond momentarily to take shelter on land. Discernment on display, and yet it is a cause and effect response to nature’s stimulus. A bit like a child touching a hot stove and learning, forming a memory that it isn’t a good idea to challenge the laws of fire and heat.
So, yes, ‘viveka’ is a faculty and a facility granted to us to convert our learning into experience and then into wisdom. When Arjuna, the aggrieved Prince of the Bhagavad Gita, refused to fight to restore the justice due to him because he did not want to kill his own half-brothers who had connived to cheat him of his rightful inheritance to the kingdom of Indraprastha — the city razed and built seven times — his teacher Krishna said to him: you have been given the duty of a warrior, so you are bound by the laws of Dharma (natural justice and truthful living) to act in the cause of its restoration; rise up and discard this despondency; stand up and fight or else an entire race of good people shall be decimated at the hands of the promulgators of evil or adharma; do not let emotion cloud your discernment, for ‘viveka’ is your greatest faculty — the ability and courage to do what is right for the greatest good; action with love produces detachment to the outcome, and yet detachment does not mean that you be attached to inaction.
It is the restoration of the good, of goodness through the use of discernment that elevates us within.
Back to my morning by the lake. When the mighty hawks stray and soar too close to the blackbirds and their young, the much smaller but deft in flight blackbirds do not hesitate to guide them back to their nests. Order is swiftly restored. The blackbirds’ size isn’t a disadvantage – they are much more flexible in changing speed and direction as compared to the hawks, because of their size. Each of us, as individuals, may be smaller than the big machinery that wants to endanger our young, and yet, with the exercise of ‘viveka’, with consistent action that works towards the restoration of ‘dharma’, we can engage in reconstruction of truth, kindness, empathy, friendship, and bliss.
Our greatest faculty and facility is the divine’s love that we carry in our heart. Let us wield that love with courage in all that we do, even if it means that we run the risk of being thought of as weak and ignorant. The evil and unjust are the ones who are weak, lacking in ‘viveka’ —and it is their hubris and heart calcification that will be their destruction. We, the wielders of love, will be the agents, the dispensers of that justice.
Natural justice is dispensed by the natural laws of time, space and causation. It is the law of karma charioted by the holders of ‘viveka’, that has for eons and civilizations, ensured victory for those committed to action for the restoration of Dharma — truth and justice.
For when the storm of natural justice arrives, it restores equality among all, regardless of size, strength, power, status or color — the hawk, the blackbird, the finch, all respond to the storm by taking refuge in their nests. Their use of discernment is in full display. Maybe we humans can observe, learn and use natural wisdom to restore ‘viveka’ in our lives too. I believe we can. How about you?
Epilogue: Written mid-week during my week-long ‘virtual retreat’ to effect some inner restoration. A lot of wandering threads here, so feel free to take what appeals or relates to you. Namaste.
P.S. Join our weekly twitter #spiritchat on twitter – Sunday, June 7 at 9amET / 1pm GMT / 630pm India. We will talk about restoration, dharma, karma and more over tea, fruit and maybe even some cookies. Bring a story to share. Namaste – @AjmaniK
The daily nightsong that begins in the pre-dusk hour with great earnest, has been particularly persistent this season. Over the past few days, I have found myself trying to identify the player(s) of this orchestra through online searches of bird songs, Audubon societies, and more. Truth be told, I have not yielded much, if anything. It is more like a whole lot of nothing.
And then, one night last week, after another round of futile googling of the source(s), I was reminded of Winnie the Pooh…
My favorite thing is to do a whole lot of nothing – for something good often comes out of nothing.
I paused, and asked myself – what is so wrong with not knowing the source(s) of the nightsongs? How about I simply do nothing more than embrace the beauty of the orchestra, without trying to assign name, cause or reason to the sounds and harmonies? What if I were to simply choose to enjoy, even celebrate the gift of spring’s songs, without trying to analyze them?
And so, for the past few nights, the night’s songs that last from dusk to dawn, have taken on new tones, new rhythms, new colors for me. It is as if they have been reborn. I have been opening the windows a bit more, drinking a bit more tea, and simply been sitting in open surrender to the all and the nothing.
The result? The allness and the nothingness have often flooded me, occasionally stopped my breath, flitted a not-knowing smile across my face, and filled me with the very same orange-peach glow that sunset often spreads across the sky at spring’s twilight. I have stopped my wandering and wondering in those few moments, to allow for something good to happen as a result of my celebration of nothing(ness).
Impossible to do, you say? Well. Consider another Winnie the Pooh gem of living wisdom:
They say that nothing is impossible. But I do a bit of nothing every day…
Embrace the impossible moment. I invite you to create time and space, where you do a bit of nothing every day with loving effortlessness. Maybe something good will be created as a result. Maybe, in embracing nothingness, time and space will cease to exist, and be reborn as love. Maybe we will discover that our inner black holes are in fact filled with the allness of light, and that nothingness is simply a portal to That something, which is in fact, everything.
P.S. Join us Sunday April 14 at 9amET, as we embrace nothingness while listening to each others’ songs, drinking tea, and sharing light. Namaste – Kumud
Sunset and twilight – an invitation to celebrate nothing(ness)
Common ground, like common sense, is becoming increasingly difficult to find. It isn’t that common ground doesn’t exist any more – it is perhaps that it has become buried under the layers of our increasingly fragmented lives – like the bulbs we planted in autumn, biding their time waiting to spring from underneath the layers of snow and frozen earth.
When we may think we have reached the end of the line, and that we have nothing more left in common, perhaps we can dig a little wider. We can step back, take a walk, or even sit in morning meditation and ask – what is it that we may have ignored or overlooked? And the answers may surprise us…
Commonality of backgrounds (immigrants from different continents), forgotten common interests, overlap in family values, shared beliefs (in goodness and kindness), common celebratory practices (food!) – even agreement in things we disagree about, things that annoy us, our shared dislikes, and much more….
Such was the invitation this week… to (re)discover, uncover common ground. To (re)search for it and renew it yet again. And the more I stepped back and looked with fresh eyes of the heart’s light, the more I found it in my close and distant relationships, even some faded and forgotten friendships, and particularly among the few that are especially close to me.
I discovered that it is perhaps in retraversing that common ground that the heart can find new paths, and find reasons to do some (not so) random acts of kindness. It is beneath frozen lakes and lagoons that the lighted waters flow again from the spring thaw in the heart. It is tending to common ground that enables us to repair the bridges that have grown algae because they haven’t been tenderly paused on, gently walked on, lovingly talked to and softly sung to for so long…
But why would we bother to do the work to find common ground in the first place? To assuage our guilt? Or to save, heal, being back to thriving, that which is worth keeping? And why is it worth healing? Because we have invested so much in it and come so far? Or whether we still see the potential for future growth, success and expansion – the spark that can kindle a thousand more micro explosions of joy when given the proper conditions of pressure, temperature, timing and ideal mix of fuel and air in the combustion chamber that is called common ground?
P.S. Join us in our weekly twitter chat, Sunday Feb 24 at 9amET / 730pm India – walk and share some common ground (over tea and cookies) with us. Namaste – Kumud.
Visiting some ‘common ground’ bridges and pathways… as spring broke through briefly (Friday, Feb 22 2019)
What is the greatest opportunity available to me, as a human being having a spiritual experience?
This question has been filtering through my heart over the past week or so. So, let me share with you.
Is it the opportunity to discover our own truth? The Truth? Is there such a thing as a personal truth that is separate or distinct from a higher, universal Truth?
Is it the opportunity to develop a practice that elevates us to a higher state of Awareness? What may this state look and feel like to us? How may we discern if we are moving towards it or away from it?
Is it the opportunity to achieve, discover or uncover our (original) state of (semi) permanent peace, joy and bliss? We have all had transitional forays into such a state, haven’t we?
There are possibily more “greater” opportunities (other than the three listed above) that you can think of. I have to admit that the answer to my original question unfolded for me in the form of the three.
The opportunity for Truth, also known as Sat.
The opportunity for Awareness, also known as Chitta.
The opportunity for Bliss, also known as Ananda.
Sat, Chitta and Ananda. The three opportunities can merge into One.
On the path of truth, our awareness raises us towards bliss.
We can avail this greatest opportunity through our discerning actions – to become, or rather (re)discover our state of Oneness – also known as Satchittananda.
So, I invite you to reflect, and then share your answer to the question:
What is the greatest opportunity available to you, as a human being having a spiritual experience?
P.S. We invite you to join us to discuss ‘Spirit and Opportunity’ – Sunday, February 2nd 2018 at 9amET/2pmUTC on twitter. Namaste, and thank you!
And no, the fact that two of the most successful rovers launched to explore the surface of Mars were called Spirit and Opportunity. Go figure!
An artist’s concept portrays a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars. Rovers Opportunity and Spirit were launched a few weeks apart in 2003 and landed in January 2004 at two sites on Mars. Each rover was built with the mobility and toolkit to function as a robotic geologist.
We are often faced with the advice of “letting go” of certain things in our lives, so that we may be able to “lighten the load” and move forward on our path, whatever that may be at the moment. I have often, repeatedly, given this self-suggestion to myself – “let go of that which is weighing you down”. However, as all of you well know through direct experience, it is much easier said than done.
Why is the process of “letting go”, even of that which does not serve us well any more, and worse yet, may be actively or passively causing us and those around us much pain, distress, and even outright harm – so difficult to act upon?
One possibility is that we cannot seem to bring ourselves to what we believe to be correct action, is that our power of discernment has been weakened. What is discernment? One simple definition is, the ability to judge well. How do we regain, strengthen this ability to discern well so that we may act well?
According to the Bhagavad Gita, our power of discernment is connected to Yoga. Yoga is deemed to be philosophy in action. Yoga comes from clarity and our power of discernment. Discernment is that which leads to a completely volitional and dynamic, action based participation in our life! There seems to be little doubt of the influence that discernment can wield in our lives. So, how do we we regain it?
The first step to regain discernment is to be willing to first acknowledge that we may have lost it in certain areas of our lives. Then, we can look at our actions and habits, and separate the ones that meet the ‘dynamic participation’ criteria from the ones that don’t. Next, we decide to give more fuel, more energy to those actions that elevate us from within. After regular practice, we may find that our dynamic, volitional, life-elevating actions, a habitable home in our heart.
With positive feedback from our heart, our discernment shall grow. We may then find ourselves becoming aware of “holding on” with discernment rather than focusing on “letting go”. We find ourselves “holding on” to actions fueled by joy, love, light, delight, lightness, lightedness, delightnedness and more.
Discernment empowers us to put philosophy in action. We beome practitioners of Yoga!
P.S. We invite you to join us to discuss ‘The Power of Spiritual Discernment’ – Sunday, January 28th 2018 at 9amET/2pmUTC on twitter. Namaste, and thank you! -Kumud.
The bee hovers, uses discernment to be a dynamic action based participant in life!
In the first post of 2018, I had talked about the XYZ of spiritual actions. During the weekly Sunday conversation, the question asked by some of the community members was – “in some way, aren’t all actions spiritual in nature?”. Some posed the question a different way – “are there any actions that are not of a spiritual nature?”.
These beautiful questions led me to consider the ideas of service and duty, as related to our actions. I went back to re-read some portions of my dog-eared “Karma Yoga” book that contains several essays by Swami Vivekananda, describing “The Yoga of Action”. Some of the essays therein are titled “Each is great in his own place”, “The Secret of Work”, “What is Duty”, and more. You get the idea – it is my go-to companion when I have a question about “action” that needs some clarity.
The essay titled “what is duty” delves into how the definition of “duty” can vary, based upon our upbringing, the values we are imbued with, the role(s) that we may be playing in the society that we may currently live in, and so on. The nature of duty is that it is flexible, and that it varies in time and space, as we live our lives. Among all the varying hues of “what is our duty”, there seems to be universal agreement on one idea of duty:
“Do not injure any being – not injuring any being is virtue”. – Vivekananda
The notion of “duty” can also create internal friction. What is my duty as a brother? As a father? As a husband? As a son? As a volunteer? As a spiritual seeker? The answer that I give to each of these questions often determines the nature and the attitude with which I perform my daily actions. Some mornings, particularly when it is oh-so-cold outside, I would rather sleep in than face my duties of the day. So how do I overcome this internal friction? One answer is to remember the gift of pure love and joy for the work that a sense of duty has brought to me. When I learn to act with unselfishness, without motive, the coarse friction of duty can quickly dissolve into love – like the grains of brown sugar in a cup of warm tea…
Yet it is work done through the sense of duty that leads us to work without any idea of duty; when work will become worship – nay, something higher – then work will be done for its own sake” – Vivekananda
And so it is that a sense of duty can subtly transform into a sense of service. Heaviness (duty) transforms into lightness (service) when viewed through the lens of selflessness. A sense of service elevates us from a lower plane (of existence) to a higher plane, where the Self can shine through. How do we transform, rise? It is by doing the duty next to us, in whatever role that we find ourselves. We gain strength by doing so. And we go from strength to strength, to higher states, by doing our actions with as much love, joy and selflessness as we can imbue into them.
Our attitude of service (before self), even as we keep doing whatever happens to be our duty, can thus becomes the secret of work.
What are your thoughts on duty and service? What has been your experience with the two? Are they different or are they the same for you? When we develop an attitude of service (towards others), do we really help them or do we actually help our own selves?
P.S. We continue our ‘action-based’ theme for this New Year of 2018 with a conversation about ‘Duty and Service’ – Sunday, January 14th 2018 at 9amET/2pmUTC on twitter. Please join us! If you have ideas, questions or suggestions for the #SpiritChat community in 2018, please share in the comments. Namaste, and thank you! -Kumud.
In the middle of a heavy winter, a light spring broke through… as duty seemed to transform to service…
It is often at the beginning of every new (calendar) year, or any new significant ‘life event’, that we pause to consider and evaluate the changes that we may want to make in our life. It is the ‘crossroads’ that often provide us the openness to make (different) choices than the ones that we have been making on our journey(s) that have brought us this far. If we feel empowered enough and free enough to allow ourselves to make different choices, we can then take the next step.
This next step often involves ‘taking new action(s)’ to bring our new choices to life in our daily lives. If we do not act differently, our choices remain ‘frozen’ in our heart and mind in the shape of intentions. It is our new daily actions that breathe heat into our heart, and thaw out the intentions so that their results may flow within the world – ours and those that we are connected with. But where are we, who are often ‘stuck’ in our habits, dogmas, myths, and sometimes even our beliefs, to find the energy, the reasons and the support to take new actions?
Let us start at the ‘end result’ in my mind. Let me suggest that we go to the end of the alphabet, and consider the ‘XYZ’ of thawing our intentions through actions.
First, the X. We may think of this as the “X-factor”, or the ‘great unknown’. On my recent trip to Mexico, I was ‘accidentally’ introduced to a Mayan healer who talked about the concept of “Xi”. Yes, it is similar to the eastern concept of “Chi”. Xi is the dynamic life-force that flows within all of us. The Mayans believe that Xi comes to us ‘at birth’, through the one who births us. When we are in a ‘lower state’ of vibration – weighed down by anger, hate, revenge, and so on – our Xi suffers. We are drained of Xi. The good news is that we can re-energize ourselves by putting ourselves into a ‘higher state’ of vibration through the practice of awareness (of breath) an mindfulness (of the moment). What is the state of our Xi, the X-factor in our life?
Second, the Y. I think of this as the “why”. You may have heard the quote – “when the why is big enough, the facts don’t count”. I am sure that there has been at least one instance in your life where your reason, your why, was so strong, that you ignored all of the “so called’ facts. You took action anyway. I am not talking about ‘impulsive’, ‘spur of the moment’ actions that we often take. The bigger “why” is something that has been nudging us, speaking to us in our heart for so long that we can no longer ignore it. When we find ours, it becomes fuel for action that raises our Xi, and empowers those around us to raise their Xi too. Yes. That Y. Do you know your ‘Y’?
Third, the Z. We are often advised to ‘begin with the end in mind’. So, that becomes our Z. It is not exactly an ‘end’, but a milepost that we may create for ourselves. The milepost can inform us about how far we have come as a result of making new choices, taking new actions. The ‘Z’ can beckon to us to keep moving, to take that next step, while also being mindful and present about how and where we arrive with every step. Sometimes, we may ‘lose’ some loved ones along the path, and their loss may deplete our Xi, make us question our Why, cause us to reset and revise our milepost, our Z. We are reminded of the circle of life. Life has a way of reminding us of the XYZ – the consequences of our choices, our actions.
Life also has a way of renewing us. We begin anew. We arise, awaken to our reservoir of love. We relearn how to put joy in every step, in every action and celebrate every arrival along the way. Step by step, we raise our Xi, we rediscover our why, and we create new mileposts through our new choices and actions.
Like Richard Bach said, and I paraphrase – we are rarely given the gift of a choice without also being given the XYZ of making it happen…
Happy New Year, and Namaste!
P.S. We ring in the New Year of 2018 with ‘The XYZ of Spiritual Actions’ – Sunday, January 7th 2018 at 9amET/2pmUTC on twitter. Please join us! If you have ideas or suggestions for the #SpiritChat community in 2018, please share in the comments. Namaste, and thank you! -Kumud.
We are like turtles on the path of life… we often develop hard shells to protect our soft cores from life’s many attacks – sometimes our shells get cracked – we may even lose half a face and an eye, get a cracked lower jaw, barely able to eat or drink, left for dead, paralyzed and bleeding in the middle of the road that we were simply trying to cross – and then, along comes One who has the heart of a rescuer, compassion in action, who takes that extra moment to pause and examine, who does not judge whether we are worth saving or not but simply acts – and before we know it, a sling is fashioned from a scarf, we are placed on a pillow in the back of the car, and brought to the warmth and relative safety of a garage to spend the night, hopefully to rest and receive a bit of healing…
We all have felt the intervention of those who have literally rescued us from a path of self-destruction, or after being ‘run over’ by the world around us… for some of us, this ‘rescue’ has happened more than once, perhaps because we needed to be rescued (again and again)… we weren’t strong enough to get out of rehab just yet, we hadn’t healed enough, our shell was still cracked from that first battle, and we decided to take on the world again…
Morning came, and I was almost reluctant to step into the garage to check on the patient. At first glance, she looked awfully still in the open box. I walked away, to return a few minutes later. A little nudge of t5ht he box, and she poked her head out a bit from under her shell. Relief. At least she had made it through the night. The rescue work of my wife (trained nurse), ably assisted by my daughter (nurse in training) and her visiting friend (aspiring veterinarian), had bore fruit in the very short term.
It often takes a potential tragedy to bring out our best rescue and rehab skills, for us to discover our hidden strengths, and to perform actions that are in harmony, excellence and alignment with the greatest good of the moment… that is true spirit of Union, of Yoga… the moment(s) where all of our spiritual practice(s) meet higher, selfless action.
At 9am, as soon as the local Nature Center opened, we received a call in response to the message we had left last night. “Bring her in. We would love to try and rehab her”. Off to the nature center we went, for the next step – a chance at rehabilitation by trained specialists who would do their best at healing and perhaps a full recovery. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a full recovery, with a release back into the wild in our neighborhood. We hope to meet “Sally Ride” once again.
The entire rescue and rehab effort brought a lot of folks together – we (re)connected with the local science and nature center, received very good advice from a turtle rescue center in North Carolina, connected with a reptile expert in Southern Ohio, and tapped into many online resources online and YouTube movies about shell repair and restoration… my daughter is even considering to a summer project about the life of turtles (and maybe even Ohio wildlife)…
I am sure you have been witness or beneficiary of such Yoga in Action too – what was the situation? Who was the rescuer/the rescued? What resources and energies came together to affect the rescue and rehab? How did the experience affect you, your (long and short term) spiritual outlook on life and nature? Share your stories with us in #SpiritChat on twitter – Sunday, June 25th 2017 at 9amET/1pmUTC. Let us celebrate International Yoga Week with Excellence in Action.
Change is always changing. A circular statement? Although it is, change is never static. The impact of change on individuals, families, colleagues, and citizens is unsettling and welcome. We begin to see the dichotomy of change. Some change we like, and other changes we do not.
Change can wear on us or enliven us. More than either of these options, we may end up talking more about change than changing. Talking is easy. Change takes action.
A famous Mahatma Gandhi quote is “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” The words are inspiring. “Be the change” has evolved into an almost static moment. Just be, and all will be fine!
“Be the change” is much more. I believe it means that we need to act on the change we wish to see. We need to be the example we want to see.
The standard of “be the change” rises. More than just one person –
What if one person gathered 20 others to facilitate change?
What if one person helped 20 people?
What if each of the 20 individuals engaged in change or being helped by another then did the same?
The power of change multiplies when we join with others and then they do the same. Picture this. Twenty people standing in a circle holding hands. On top of each grasped hand, another hand connected with another 20 individuals connected in a circle. And then again and again. What you visualize is the concentric power of 20 people facilitating change.
Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist, said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Twenty people is a small group. Twenty people, energized by one, can energize a community.
We can be the change, or we can rise to another level. We can act on the change we want to see.
Being present is a starting point. From here, we need to act with the passion of change and the compassion of understanding the change required to make a positive impact. A positive impact is a community growing, serving, and making lives better.
Enabling a thriving community is not complicated; it is hard. We can never let the challenges hold us back. Instead, we need to rise up to the challenge for the sake of our communities and character.
Join us for a #SpiritChat conversation about change and community. As part of this conversation, consider starting a small project of change within your community on January 20th. A grassroots initiative started called #One20. The goal: On Inauguration Day, let’s make it a day of doing good works. Let’s show our better side by doing good where we are. Let us act on the change we what to see and experience. Learn more at One20.today and on the One20Today Facebook page.
Ajmanik’s Note: I am so very excited to host my long-time friend Jon Mertz in our weekly #SpiritChat twitter chat on Sunday, January 15th at 9am ET/2pm UTC. Jon’s theme of a ‘call to action’ to create change is a perfect example of “Karma Yoga” – the practice of Yoga through ‘Karma’ or action. Do join me (@AjmaniK) and Jon (@ThinDifference) this Sunday!