Being in Kenya teaching yoga to people from all over the world made the planet seem so small to me. I saw how insignificant my personal preferences are and how profoundly similar we all are. Confusion and war happens when we don’t understand each other.
We as humanity have a lot of work to do to create equality and empower each other. Many of us are still working to create peace and comfort within our own skin. There is urgency for us to stop being so self-indulgent in our self-criticism, judgment and pity because we can’t serve or empower another until we stop the insanity in our own being. This is what has us stuck. To bridge worlds, cultures, races, tribes, and give others relief from hunger, violence and poverty requires us to be willing to communicate and connect when we are so uncomfortable we want to turn the other way and run.
Leveling the playing field for powerful communication requires the willingness to look into the eyes of another through your own discomfort and stay with them when you know they are uncomfortable with you. In the staying, the walls of resistance begin to melt and we can stand toe to toe in our humanness and get to the work that is laid forth for us to do.
When you look at another human being in the eyes and stay through the uncomfortable awkward moments, you will see past your own prejudices about the difference and be in the possibility of celebrating diversity.In the connection, intimacy – into-me-see – is available, meaning you will begin to see yourself in the eyes of others, and therefore see yourself in all of humanity, and God.
Most of us are used to being with people we are comfortable with and speaking with those who are in agreement with us. We begin to get delusional that our truth is everyone else’s truth. Many of us think we have a voice and have something to say but we only say it to those with the same listening. It is easy to speak when you surround yourself with people who agree with you. But how about those who may not see past their limiting beliefs about you? Are you still willing to take a risk and connect?
Try your voice with those that aren’t the usual people with a listening for what you have to say. Be curious if you are speaking and are in alignment with a higher universal substance and truth, or are you stuck in your limiting perceptions and belief systems. Creating equality takes speaking through to hearts and minds of people from all over at once.
If we keep surrounding ourselves with the same kind of people we will get the same results of creating separation as a whole human body. If we want to melt the barriers and create more connection, peace and health globally we need to melt the differences that tend to be a threat to the survival of our beliefs.
This is distinct from demanding respect for your beliefs; that’s a waste of time. You will just have the other person demanding respect for theirs. Equality requires a seeking of deep tolerance for the differences of each and every human being. Most people everywhere want to belong, are seeking a new way for their families and communities, and aspire towards liberation; if you can speak through to peoples’ hopes and willingness then you are speaking the word, the common language of humanity. That’s when words bridge worlds.
Our job as yoga practitioners and teachers is to create the similarities, the “sutras,” by being willing to share and address the fear of our differences. Challenge yourself to look deep into the eyes of those different from you. Start conversation with the unusual suspects: the wounded soldier, the Kenyan albino, your deaf neighbor, someone who can’t read or write, or someone with a completely different taste or view from yours.
Creating community wherever you are on the planet with whomever you meet is possible. Yoga has the power to connect people from all over the world regardless of where they are from and what their beliefs are. My friends, that is what our yoga practice is. Be curious to understand your neighbors and you will better understand yourself and the mysteries of life.
I celebrate you!
Courtesy of Bala Vinyasa Yoga.