As the calendar turns towards spring (in the Northern Hemisphere), and I start to dream about warmth which will melt the snow and show me glimpses of summer, the festival of colors (Holi) that is celebrated in my native India brings the energy of spring into my heart. The joy of dousing family and friends in various shades of dry powder (called gulaal and spraying each other with colored water and more is tough to put into words on a black and white piece of paper…
One of the hallmarks of this festival of colors, at least as experienced by me as a kid, was the camaraderie and kinship that would bring people of all hues and colors, regardless of language or ethnic background, together into a celebration of color. The festival was also marked by various arts and music festivals, where religious boundaries would be crossed, and folks would gather in friendly poetry contests, art exhibitions and more. The idea was to celebrate the existence of color in our lives, and the kinship that comes from the knowing that we all have each and every color of the rainbow within us ~ it just manifests in different amplitudes in different people.
Once the festival and the celebrations are over, this notion and rekindling of kinship need not be put away, to be dutifully revived the next year. This kinship can be embraced and extended ~ to beyond a mere celebration of colors. What if we were to establish kinship in thought with others? This can and does happen when we have kinship with those we may have never physically, met but have been regularly communicating with through social media. What if we were to establish kinship in speech with others? This can and does happen when we pause to pay attention, with our quietude and silence, and respect the speech and words of others. What if we were to establish kinship in action with others? This can and does happen, when we extend our arms and join hands with others to strengthen their efforts to effect change in the world.
While kinship in thought, words and actions is a vision that can create victory for truth and justice in our inner and outer worlds, there are four practical attitudes (according to #yoga) that can help us achieve this vision:
- An attitude of friendliness (maitri) (the seed of kinship!) to their friendliness
- An attitude of empathy (karuna) towards the weak
- An attitude of happiness (mudita) in their success
- An attitude of indifference (upeksha) towards the wicked
Do you notice a pattern in the practice of ths above four attitudes? It appears that they are in somewhat increasing order of difficulty for us to develop, isn’t it? Can we have kinship without friendliness or empathy? How much kinship do we truly have, in thoughts, words and actions, if we cannot celebrate their successes with them? And what about this notion of an “attitude of indifference”? How can “indifference”, even if it is towards the wicked, possibly create any kinship at all?
If you have read this far, I invite you to reflect on kinship, the workings of kinship, and the attitudes that lead to kinship. I invite you to reflect on color, its role in your lives, and how it creates kinship for you with your family, friends and commnuities. I invite you to join us in kinship in our weekly hour on twitter, at 9amEDT/1pmGMT/6:30pmIST (check you local time) on Sunday, March 8th 2015, as we explore and discuss this topic some more, and throw some color on each other 🙂
In color and kinship,