Calm in a Troubled World

There is a lot going on in our nation and in the world.  I have been silent and contemplative, trying to take it all in.  I have noticed repeatedly that there is distress and unhappiness regardless of which candidate each of us supported on election day.  I have looked to the practices of yoga, mantra and meditation for support.  Many of us have either stopped looking on social media or have blocked posts from one or both sides.  If you have not noticed, ignoring the unease does not make it go away.  We will all have strong feelings, and many times find ourselves in opposition with those around us.  We cannot change this fact.

My religion teaches me that whenever there is distress which one cannot remove, one must fast and pray.
— Gandhi

I come from a line of very spiritual people.  My grandfather was a Baptist Missionary in Africa and Pastor in Maine.  When I read this quote from Gandhi, I was struck by the similarity between their approaches.  I honestly think it would have shocked my grandfather too!  When my grandfather was in distress, he would skip meals, go to his study.  He would spend the time in prayer, reading spiritual books and studying the Bible.  We lived with my grandparents when I was at the impressionable age of 13, and at the time he faced the fact that Parkinson's Disease was robbing him of physical strength and abilities.  He responded by taking frequent time in deep reflection.  The message was clear, "Grandpa is having a hard time with xxx so he is fasting today".  He had a very strong will, and I rarely saw the softer side of him.  The fact that I can look back as an adult and realize the strikingly similar approaches makes me smile.  The more we are different, the more we are the same.

This post is not another political post that is attempting to tell you what to believe.  Notice what makes you feel grounded and brings you peace, and make regular time for those practices.  Get very clear so that you can respond with integrity rather than have an automatic reaction.  I know that I usually end up regretting those darn automatic reactions!     

We must always find a way to back to the calm within the storm.  When we experience the calm, we can be of better service to our core beliefs.  We can come from our true nature rather than a place of fear or anger.  We can better serve the things that really matter to us!    

In addition to my regular yoga and meditation practice, I have found Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation to be extremely helpful.  Here is a short example to get you started, but you can use any words or well wishes that suit you.  You can practice this seated or even silently send these well wishes to everyone you pass during your day and notice how you feel.  I wish you happiness, health, peace and freedom from suffering.  Namaste.