In the language of yoga, we say that everything is connected. In the language of science, it is said that quantum entanglement is a phenomenon observed where particles, regardless of their distance from each other, act or react as though they are connected. It is similar to how twins have this instinctive feel of what the other is going through even if they are halfway across the world. The setting of our intentions then can be more powerful than our suspicious minds would allow us to think. We can possibly and likely change the outcome of the world around us simply by changing our thoughts and the habitual patterns of our minds.
In Jivamukti, the mantra that guides our practice is Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. It means: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. It is an acknowledgement of the power of our intentions. Our kindness can be so potent that at the level of thought, word, and action we bring forth happiness to other beings.
When we read the news, we may be overcome with despair at how hopeless the situation feels to the victims of the typhoon Yolanda. Though help is coming their way, they might not necessarily feel that. As yogis who are far away from the situation, how can we balance being sensitive towards their suffering at the same acknowledging that our own lives have not stopped? We still go to work. We eat three times a day. We have time for our obligations and we have time for leisure and we have time for yoga. Should we feel guilty that we have it good while others are suffering?
Suffering is always present. The typhoon Yolanda is an extraordinary event that alerted the world to this suffering, but there has always been suffering and there will continue to be suffering. Many beings suffer in the quiet ways that we have considered normal. Our economy is based on a game where greed is the currency, and many people work in sweat shops with inhumane conditions because they work within a system that leaves them with very little choice. Our education is based on competition, who does what best is rewarded and those who are left behind are conditioned by our society to believe that they are weak and undeserving and this is what we make innocent children feel. Our sustenance is largely animal-based, where other beings are put into this world only to suffer. So yes, much suffering is quiet and considered normal and part of our everyday lives. Extraordinay events like the typhoon Yolanda point out the collapse that is happening in the world and urges us to take action and change.
Following the quantum entanglement theory and yogic teachings of interconnection, the solution is simple: Love. Love in the form of thought and words is intention and in the form of action is kindness. This kindness can be directed towards anyone, and through practicing being kind to those who are near us, we can be kind to those who are far away from us. Through practicing being kind to those who are like us, we can expand our kindness to those who are not like us. Through practicing loving kindness directed towards the victims of the typhoon, we can apply the same loving kindness towards the victims who quiety and routinely suffer.
Kindness is a democracy. Kindness is boundless. Kindness is contagious. Kindness is the kind of virus that if spread has the power to heal. If we can be kind to those who are around us, we are effectively making the world a better place for the typhoon victims to come back to. If we can talk about global issues and the economy and climate change from the perspective of what I can do as an individual and how we can all work together, it does not diminish our sympathy towards those who are suffering now. Our resolve to take action at this moment to prevent future suffering is honoring the experiences of those who are victimized now and signing a private contract with the universe that we will be kind in ways that are expansive and concrete and speaks to the current needs of the world's problems.
If we want to reduce suffering in the world, we acknowledge that our kindness has no limits and we acknowledge that what we do matters. If I am kind to one being today, that will cause a slight shift towards kindness in the atomic makeup of this world, and perhaps as quantum entanglement suggests, it will bring kindness towards someone else that I am not even aware of. And even if that weren't true, I was at least kind to one being. And the interesting effect of being kind? We produce seratonin which is how our brain tells our body that we are happy. Nature's design is such that if we want to be happy, we make others happy first. Kindness is the blueprint we were meant to build our lives on.
Our intention to be kind can empower us even amidst great suffering. Because even as we know that we are limited by this body and we can only do so much, we realize precisely that- we can do so much. We cannot do everything, but we can do something. Our progress towards kindness is this acknowledgement that we can always choose something over nothing.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Thank you to all those who attended the community classes this weekend at Yoga+ Makati. Thank you for your time and your donations. May all beings everywhere be happy and free.