There is a great, hidden, and sacred invisible pattern that connects everything in life to everything else. I am an inextricable part of this just as surely as a nimble, bright-eyed, tiger is part of the jungle or a clear mountain stream never feels out of place as it meanders its way towards the sea. Being an important link in the pattern means my every action counts for something in this universe and the effects of my every effort ripple outward to the farthest ends of space and time. When I act I CHANGE THE WORLD in some way for better or for worse...but my ego will cause me to forget this essential reality. It has a terrible side effect of causing me to feel that I am separate from everything else. Then it becomes easier to act selfishly, to fall prey to greed or self-preservation, to think that there is no larger meaning, no greater context for my actions, or that I don’t have real, significant, power to change the world for the better.
But practicing yoga brings me back to the experience that I am part of the greater pattern that connects all life. I live in a continuous contemplation that my seemingly singular, isolated, and personal action is also a tiny action being absorbed by all that exists. I operate from the empowering stance that me living with integrity, putting honesty, consciousness, and love into my smallest acts has real weight in this world. I accept the responsibility that I have power to make a difference in a field, an art, a cause, a relationship, or any area of my life that I feel strongly about. I operate as though I shift the world even though the immediate effects of my actions may be subtle and therefore difficult or impossible to detect. A passage from the Bhagavad Gita says:
Whatever way of life the best adopt, that also is adopted by lesser folk. The world follows the standard set by its greatest exemplars. BG, CH. 3-21
My aim is to do everything in my power to live by and represent my most cherished values and convictions. I do this for myself, to help me get up out of bed each day, to satisfy my conscience, to give expression to my yearnings to excel, to have something vitally important to live for, and to work to become the ultimate me. But I also do it in the hope that others will be inspired and become devoted to being the best that they can be; I do it because my actions are the actions of the whole. I acknowledge that it can be risky to think that I am qualified to be an example to others. However, I take the plunge, I go ahead and risk, because I want to be involved in making the world better. Therefore, I actively use this passage to prompt myself to work hard, growing in wisdom, so that by aspiring to represent my values and set an example I am not being ignorant or boastful or conceited. I aspire to be humble and to work doggedly to be the best I can be so that I can uplift the whole world in any small way.
I aim to live my life with the attitude -- “If not me to bring forth the qualities that I wish to see in the world then who?”—If I want to see honesty or bravery or leadership or compassion, I pray that I don’t wait for someone else to exemplify these qualities. It’s up to me to put forth a new vision of the world or work to bring justice where injustice prevails. I want to use my actions to manifest the stance or attitude that I feel is needed to effect a positive change and because my every action counts, impacts the whole, I can trust that my action will produce real change. I can tap myself, wield my power, and influence to push or pull the world in a distinct direction—no matter how tiny I am, how few people I know, or how little result my efforts appear to bring.
The ‘someone’ that needs to act is me—YES little ol’ ME because I represent the entirety with everything that I do. I am supposed to take up the challenge and to doggedly devote myself to my vision of the ultimate me as a catalyst that transforms the world that I am inextricably part of. I have been given this body and mind, this place in time and space, and my unique, singular configuration of circumstances for the express purpose of making my own vigorous, determined try at changing myself in order to change the world. The power of one is mighty; THE POWER OF ONE IS MIGHTY
“Do you see how an act is not, as young men think, like a rock that one picks up and throws, and it hits or misses, and that’s the end of it? When that rock is lifted, the earth is lighter; the hand that bears it heavier. When it is thrown, the circuits of the stars respond, and where it strikes or falls the universe is changed. On every act the balance of the whole depends. The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth and light, all that these do, and all that the beasts and green things do, is well done, and rightly done. All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale’s sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and the gnat’s flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole. Be we, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learnto do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility.” -- Ursula Le Guin.
Photo by Amberlie Johnson
Kapo Kids Unite Online Workshop
June 27 and 28
Watch live or the recording at your own convenience