Looking Within: What lies behind social outrage?
Does the intensity of the protests match the issues? ...
How many of the protestors can clearly identify what they are angry about?
Lately, many people heedlessly speak out, act out or attack others under the auspices of bringing peace to fellow man. In the name of altruism, they offer a paradoxical rhetoric that contributes to our growing intolerance. Meanwhile, understanding or correcting real problems fall by the wayside. The effect creates more anger and brings less actual change.
It is too easy to publish fleeting thoughts or emotions without really understanding the complexity of problems and their solutions.
Social media is flush with manifestos, personal judgments, and petty comments. Most of these accounts base their viewpoints solely upon political belief rather than an actual experience. These arguments heavily weighted against a particular person or group lack a cohesive argument. In fact, there is a void of dialogue about personal stories. We never discuss the men and women who endure the suffering or struggle to survive. The downtrodden seem to become obscured in the vitriol and rhetoric of their champions.
It is an all-or-nothing vigilante style philanthropy that takes to the streets and social media. This movement depreciates those who have legitimate claims plus disregards suppressed people who continue to suffer in silence. To move from anger to love we must look within, otherwise the anger will grow. Each person must become aware of his source of passion. For clarity and vision, we need to look deep within ourselves.
By using ancient mindfulness techniques, we can pinpoint any false sense of compassion that lies at the root of our anger. Knowing our nature brings a fresh perspective. That clarity productively champions disputes by using positive change.
The unconscious mind is powerful; it can bring chaos or love.
For many, mysterious secrets lie deep within the persona. Even so, it has the power to flow onto our streets causing havoc and confusion. Without thoroughly experiencing it our insight and compassion will be stifled.
Indeed, true humanitarianism works for ALL men, treating everyone with kindness and honor.
It is humanity's evolution of morals: tolerance, charity, and compassion, that reaches out to all beings. There are no differences of gender, sexual orientation, race, caste, age, religion, ability, or nationality. Perhaps we could see humanitarianism evolve by adding a new aspect to that list, that being political affiliation. But regardless of whether politics should be overlooked or not when judging others, we should all agree that spurning anger, doubt, and fear in a society is wrong and is a dangerous game.
The threat lies in the tone of voice we hear with our ears and the profanity on the signs we read. When the crowd represents itself by burning flags and effigies, dressing up as genitalia or misusing sacred icons we must look beyond face value. We must find the hidden meaning.
Take notice of an absence of sweetness and light. Watch how the speeches, filled with rage and resentment, creates more of the same. These are actions that will divide us.
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."
~ Thomas Jefferson
We realize that this mania springs from hearts of stone, rather than the hearts of compassion. Not only that but something odd lingers after the tirade which confuses our senses and tightens our throat. As we witness mass hysteria, we become further detached from the mob, even more, we remain ignorant of what they are feeling.
Years ago two freedom fighters, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., led by perfect example. They showed us how non-violent civil disobedience can be an effective tool for awareness and change. Their compassion and love crisscrossed between cause and effect. They reached out to the opposition swaying opinions to see a better way. Because of this they could elevate and educate both sides to bring positive transformation and growth.
“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Today their examples seem to have been forgotten. Amazingly, Gandhi and King were followers of the Vedic philosophy on which traditional yoga ethics are based.
Every man lives in two realms: the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Even in today's style of popular physical yoga these ethical principles never quite bridge the gap between philosophical theory to real life. Therefore, it is our duty to learn and explore these ideas to improve and elevate ourselves. Undoubtedly it is these principles that have kept our civilization from falling into chaos. Furthermore, it is these codes of conduct that carrying us toward a peaceful future. They are the seeds which Gandhi and King had sewn to deliver their people from subjugation.
How do we envision our humanitarianism movement shifting to one of love, solutions, and harmony?
We begin by first searching our inner thoughts for the source of our passion. Exploring the possibility that we may have a stronger love of being right or perhaps winning the debate. If we determine our motivation and acknowledge any "false compassion," our minds will open. Becoming aware of our ego in this way can free us from feelings of outraged and helplessness. Using the tools of self-reflection based in the yoga sciences brings positive change and a broad awareness.
A self-realized person will know that knowledge does not guarantee an attitude of kindness or understanding. As expressed in the doctrine of the Vedas the greatest knowledge one can possess comes from one's experience, not from texts, teachers, or social media.
If this is true, then the answer to all suffering comes from experiencing reality as it is. Therefore, we must rely on experiences of truth beginning with our inner-most thoughts, feelings, and assumptions rather than what is broadcast on the news or within social groups and media.
As Gandhi and King could attest, the only way to peace, compassion, and love is through knowledge of yourself. Anything else is only a determination to prove your point or to breed conflict. That is competitive ego, not compassion.
On a personal level perhaps you could consider taking the time to explore thoughts regarding your value as a person. Understanding that our value as individuals is an inherent element of the soul which exists within all of us can bring love and connection. As such, each of us has a core of worth that is not dependent on the choices we make or the actions we take.
Looking at life in this way frees us from feeling separate from one another. Anger towards the unidentifiable will move away so we can focus on productive healing and growth. Despite our need to win, being validated, or getting attention, self-knowledge is the only way to be compassionate and truly loving.
When we endeavor to understand and find ways to contribute we value ourselves and others. This way we can embody our self-worth and connect with those whom we desire to help.
For additional information in witnessing the thought process involved in meditation and yoga theory read the Chapter "Yoga Affect Defined" and Section "Samkhya (Cosmology) and Yoga (Psychology)" in my book "Yoga Affect: A Primer for a Beautiful Life." To assist in implementing theory into your daily life begin journaling in "Yoga Affect: A Guided Journal." Both books are available on Amazon.
To learn more about traditional forms of yoga and how to add these methods to your life please visit my website: http://www.SandZuid.com.
Sandra Zuidema is the author of the Yoga Affect Series. Yoga Affect: A Primer for a Beautiful Life and it's companion journal, Yoga Affect: A Guided Journal, both available on Amazon.com. To learn more about the series and please visit the website SandZuid.com