Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Taking Sides

There have been an overwhelming number of issues presented to me this week. Big, controversial issues. Important, life-changing issues about major life topics. Abortion. Childhood vaccines. Gay rights. And it seems among the major questions is: What side are you on?

Sides. This is an interesting concept. I often used to take sides. I believed one side made more sense than the other. I loved a good argument; a hot debate. Who had the best research? Who had the most credible sources? The most logical argument? Who will win?

It was this last question that finally got me. Which side would win? My answer is: neither and both.

There are two words that come into my mind when I think about “sides.” They help me to remember the key ingredient in my practice: unity.

The first word is “Namaste.” I say it at the beginning and end of each practice. Meaning “I bow to you,” it is a term that recognizes that there is a Divine spark in each one of us. When we say “namaste” to each other we are recognizing the absolute truth and beauty in each other. We acknowledge that we are the same and in this unity we shine ever more brightly.

The second word is “Aum.” In yogic philosophy it represents the First Sound or the Original Sound. It is the source. In it and from it we come. When we unite our voices in this reverberation we return to our source. And through our voices we understand our unity. We are one.

There are no sides in these words. There is no conflict. No winner. No loser. We do not use these intonations to point out our differences. Rather, we use them to unite in the practice to become.

The yoga practitioner who "busts out" drop-backs is united with the student in bridge pose. They look different on the outside, but that is only on the surface. They are doing the same work on the inside. One just takes a different route than the other to get to the same place.

When we take sides we focus on how we are all different. And we tear each other apart by using these differences against each other. What we lose sight of, then, is that we are all working towards the same goals. We all have the same needs. We want to preserve life. We want protection from harm. We want to love and be loved. We have just chosen different paths to achieve these goals.

Still, our goals unite us. We are one. We are Divine, from an original Source. We practice together and raise our voices in unity. 


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