Health authorities in Gaza say that the death toll in Gaza has reached has more than 3,478, amid what they say is a “severe shortage” of medicine.
In Israel, 1,400 people have been killed since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7.https://t.co/ot9WPeu38r
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 18, 2023
Counter the separation between self and other that pervades your mind. It leads to the violence and division we see in the world.
The original purpose of yoga was to loosen the knots in body and mind so that we can perceive what is real instead of being in a state of Avidya, the Sanskrit word for delusion or false perception. This is when we see separation between self and other instead of being able to perceive our common ground—the fact that we all carry the same divine essence at the core of our being.
The yogis knew the dangers of seeing difference. We are all recognizing it now as war unfolds.
Do you feel helpless when watching footage of war? Work on your mind, your thoughts, your ability to perceive the underlying truth that connects us all. This is the meaning of Namaste—I see the light that connects us and reminds us that we are fundamentally the same. We all want peace, security, and safety. We all want freedom from pain. We all feel the same spectrum of emotions.
I used to spend hours talking with my grandfather about yoga philosophy and world politics. He was a freedom fighter during India’s struggle for independence from the British, and witnessed the horrors of war. He was also a yogi. His last words to me before he passed: “Forget these labels of Indian, Pakistani, American, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and see yourself as human. Universal brotherhood and sisterhood are the foundations for love.”
May we all find our way back to love, to being human, to seeing all life as sacred, and to perceiving and treating each other as kin.
If you don’t know what to do about the violence in the world, breathe. Observe your thoughts. Do you perceive separation between yourself and others? Do you carry assumptions about people who come from a different background than you?
It’s not about denying our different cultures, histories, and backgrounds. We honor and celebrate our diversity, while also transcending it so that we never lose touch with our humanity, our common ground.
As violence spreads in the world right now, may our collective heartbreak fuel a spiritual revolution. It begins in the quietness of our own minds—acknowledging the separation we perceive between self and other, and doing everything we possibly can to overcome it.
One way is by cultivating relationships with people unlike ourselves.