Tomorrow is Election Day! This is an excellent opportunity to practice. I plan to be at my local polling place before 7 a.m. Normally, I believe that one's vote is a private matter and not to be discussed. However, I am happy to publicly cast my vote tomorrow for Barack Obama, a Presidential Candidate who seems to embody many of the principles of yoga. From reading Barack's writing, I sense a striving to cause as little harm as possible through his actions (ahimsa) and to speak and act truthfully (satya), as well as a desire to really serve others. If he is even half as good as he seems, the whole world would be better off with him as President.
Here in California, there are a number of key measures on the ballot which relate to some basic human and animal rights. I am looking forward to voting to give all beings a better chance at freedom! (A small ironic aside - when I was looking for a succinct and beautiful description of ahimsa to link to above, I got to a dictionary site on which the advertisement banner said "Yes on Prop 8" - the California Proposition which would ban gay marriage. On the ahimsa page - really?! I'm sure it was just a random coincidence - the universe is often quite amusing! I did not find a satisfying article, so look for more information on ahimsa and satya in later posts.)
Whether or not you agree with my points of view, if you are a registered voter in the US (or any country) I urge you to vote. It is important to take action and speak clearly on these crucial issues that are on the table in this, and in any election. We can only be responsible for our own actions, but if each of us acts responsible, we have the power to change everything. Please go out and vote to the best of your ability from a place of peace, good-will and clarity.
Although I feel it is very important to vote with conviction, I am trying very hard to practice aparigraha - non-grasping or letting go - this election season. There will be more about this concept in a later post. (It is a pretty intense practice!!!) If tomorrow's results are not as I hope, I will need to let go of my expectation and continue to exist peacefully in the new reality. Once again, I can only be responsible for my own actions and reactions. It is hard to practice compassion for people whose actions and beliefs seem to cause widespread pain and suffering. And yet we are all beings doing our very best to live on this earth in the way we think is right. Every one of us suffers, and harms others from that place of suffering.
I am off to yoga class tonight, where I will dedicate my practice to John McCain, Sarah Palin, and those who will vote against me tomorrow. :-) Oh yeah, and George W. I've been trying to practice compassion for him for years. It's pretty deep and powerful stuff!
lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu ~ may all beings in all worlds be happy and free
om shanti ~ peace to all ~ goodnight