Looking Past Beliefs to See What’s True
The weather is starting to heat up and summer will soon be upon us. With the visibility of the November elections fading in the rearview mirror, and the COVID pandemic becoming less threatening for many of us here in the United States, it feels like now is an appropriate time to look at how we can begin to nurse some of the injuries we’ve sustained over the past year and begin the process of healing.
From my standpoint, one of the biggest hurts I’ve witnessed is the process of separating ourselves from each other. Although enormously painful and potentially damaging, I’m not talking about the quarantine, safer at-home precautions. The type of separation I’m referring to is when we take a particular stance on a certain issue and then chastise those who take an opposing viewpoint. This often leads to us going to our own corners and recruiting others to join us in our position. And the more people we try to recruit, the more cemented we feel in our arguments. And the more “right” we feel, we go further away from those with whom we disagree.
Nearly all of us have particular beliefs on a variety of issues. But remember what they say about opinions: they’re just like you-know-whats, and everybody’s got one! Joking aside, if we begin looking at this from a yogic perspective, a belief is a thought that we’ve decided to identify with. We hear about an issue and there is an argument, for or against, that makes sense to us based on our current knowledge of the subject and our past experiences. That’s when we start leaning one way or another, for or against. and the more emotion (i.e. energy) there is behind the issue the stronger the belief becomes. The ego loves this stuff! The ego is all about strengthening itself by identifying with something outside of ourselves, something outside of our higher selves, outside of our True Nature. This thought process leads to an “us against them” mentality. The more “right” we are the more wrong we need to make them. As we back further into our corners, the division, the separation, becomes even more intense and the ego gets even stronger. Ultimately, this is the root cause of family disputes, political fighting, religious differences, racism, war, all human suffering: Separation from our True Nature (a.k.a. God) and identification with ego.
No human is exempt from this; we ALL do it. But with us yogis, we can be a bit more conscientious about it. Before we take a firm mental position, we begin by being aware of what we’re doing: taking a mental position and forming an opinion. We know to do our homework, check multiple sources, especially those you typically dismiss, and be curious about the “other side’s” position. Note where someone is basing their argument on facts versus opinion, speculation, and faulty logic. YOU get to decide what to believe. Once you’ve formed that belief, recognize it for what it is.: an opinion, and everybody’s got one!
Can you imagine how healing it could be if we all took a step back and looked at those in the opposite corner, seeing who they truly are, beyond our self-imposed beliefs? If we could see who they are, without any of our own labels and filters? We’d be seeing that spark of divinity that lies within each of us, recognizing our own True Nature.
In yoga communities, like ours, we say “Namaste”, which translates as “the light in me honors the light in you”. Another phrase we use is “Jai Bhagwan”, meaning “victory to the spirit (within)”
Is it easy to look past beliefs, opinions and filters? No. Is it worth the effort? YES!! Practice, Practice, Practice; it’s all Yoga. <3
Jai Bhagwan & Namaste