40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTSFebruary 21, 2023
Ayurveda, what is it?February 23, 2023
loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity
He literally begged them to stop. He told them he couldn’t breathe… and the call for an ambulance indicated exactly how it would end!
The actions of that police officer were absolutely appalling and that man’s death was an avoidable tragedy.
The police officers present were fired, not charged with murder or manslaughter, which many saw as not being justice, but tokenism, cover up, institutional rank closing, and yet another case of white privilege.
Institutional racism is not just about numbers of people who are racists in an organisation. It is about a culture of avoidance and cover ups. It is about biased complaints, procedures and weak disciplinary consequences for offenders. It is about cowardice.
We pray for this victim’s family, and the millions of George Floyd’s that suffer similar treatment on a daily basis. Because it isn’t filmed, or a headline story, we may not know about the extent of this. We also pray for the four police officers who did not see how wrong this was.
When a belief system is ‘institutionalised’, it means it is embedded, implicit and hidden. But it is hidden in plain sight of those who are its victims.
To think that one human being could do this to another, in today’s so called civilised world, is heart-breaking enough, but when you add the current state of the world into that mix, it becomes a whole new level of insanity. We on-goingly witness absolutely abhorrent human behaviour and carnage all over the world in the evening news.
How innocent are we?
Each of us has not only seen racism, but have even held racist views that were handed to us as a result of where we grew up. Cultural racism is deeply ingrained. White, black, yellow, brown people are racist too! If you haven’t acknowledged institutionalised racism in your own heart, then you are either deeply asleep, or amongst the privileged, who are provided with the luxury of ignoring it. Silence won’t get us far. It is time to get uncomfortable and wake up to Truth. To ignore this, is the definition of privilege.
Is there an even deeper issue? Is there an authority issue? Power, control, intolerance and greed issues too? To see racism only in individual acts of meanness, and not in invisible systems conferring dominance over a particular group, is another definition of privilege.
Privilege not only puts some at a disadvantage, it puts others at an advantage. Consider it to be like an invisible package of unearnt assets, which the privileged can count on cashing in every day, yet continue to remain oblivious to. It is like having an invisible, weightless backpack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, rights, freedoms, tools, keys to open doors, where others are locked out of, as well as having blank checks.
There is a fundamental difference between earnt strength and an unearnt advantage and dominance, which has been conferred by a system. Power from unearnt privilege can look like strength, when it is in fact, permission to abuse and dominate another. .
The hatred, division, arrogance, fear, and every other negative human attitude that comes from a refusal to acknowledge the reality of “All life is One”, indicates a need for deep spiritual awakening, a regeneration from the roots up, both within family life and the workplace culture.
CEOs would love to witness an amazing sense of creativity and camaraderie within their teams, rather than the ‘hatred’ undercurrent of ruthlessness, bullying and backstabbing that is so often prevalent. Whatever happened to “We are all created equal?”
We all need to ask ourselves some questions, such as:
– when was the last time I lifted my head up from my phone, computer, stove, or whatever, to get a helicopter view of what is really happening in my own world?
– How do I dominate or influence others, and what is happening in terms of benefits to the long term game?
– Do I think strategically, rally around the team, see a few moves ahead on the chess board and make confident and measured decisions to benefit the institution?
… because these are some of the skills we need to nurture in a positive, rather than a destructive way.
Being vegan, loving, kind and gracious in yoga but then being judgemental, narrow minded and unkind outside the bubble, or in your heart, is to make yoga part of your virtual reality. Your yoga life needs to be less like a flight simulator and more of the real thing. As mentors and teachers of yoga, your job is not to grow good yogis. It is to grow great human beings. It is your humanity that will change the world, not a phoney depiction of you as a yogi, or a pseudo version of yoga.
Let us extend the four immeasurables to all sentient beings: loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity.
By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and equanimity, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.
Yoga Sutra 1.33