Don’t Wait – Participate
I’ve been waiting for years to “see how things will turn out”.
Waiting for the time that I feel more peaceful, or happier, or when the time comes that I actually know all the way through me why I am here and what my life is about.
It’s been a long wait.
These days I wait to see what will happen with the new president in the US. Will peace happen now? Will our country find a way to live up to its ideals? I’ve been waiting to see how I might be a part of the process.
I’ve been waiting and watching as frustration, anger, rage, and hate grow. I find myself waiting to see what those angry hateful people will do next.
Then I picked up the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written thousands of years ago. I was stopped in my tracks when I read the following:
“Uncertain knowledge giving rise to violence, whether done directly or indirectly or condoned, is caused by greed, anger or delusion in mild, moderate or intense degree. It results in endless pain and ignorance. Through introspection comes the end of pain and ignorance.”
And then these questions poured into me:
From my first breath to this breath, can I say that I have not been greedy?
Can I say that I have not been angry, hateful, or perpetrated pain unto others?
Can I say that I have not condoned the violence of others?
Can I say that I have not lied, cheated, or stolen?
No – I cannot claim any of that.
No more waiting, it’s time for me to participate.
What is the end of this pain and violence within me?
Patanjali gives a clear answer: “Through introspection comes the end of pain and ignorance.”
I set myself to the task of going inward to become aware of my thoughts, words, and actions. I want to uncover the roots of my frustration, anger, hatred, rage, violence, and pain. I am not attacking myself, but neither am I condoning myself. I am investigating my life, from my first breath to this one.
My actions and thoughts as a child were often beyond my control at the time. But now as an adult, I take responsibility for myself. I am on the trail of learning how to acknowledge and be responsible for my ignorance, my judgments, and the pain that I have caused others. I am casting a light of curiosity and inquiry onto my shadow, onto that which I would rather not acknowledge. I am learning the humility of being human, of being imperfect, of having high ideals that I cannot and have not always lived up to.
I am participating now, in the depth of my own being.
I am not waiting for someone else to mend the wounds that only I can know.
I am not hiding and waiting for others to admit their faults so that I don’t have to.
Now I am asking myself all the time, “how do negative thoughts, perceptions, and feelings actually transform into something positive?” I am asking this because that is what I see in Nature. I see plants growing out of dirt, out of animal manure, out of compost, out of the asphalt. I see fallen trees feeding mushrooms, ants, and moss. I see the cycle of Nature, ever-flowing, this into that, that into this. Destruction into Life, Life into Destruction.
Through introspection, I am becoming less ignorant of the contents of my history and my heart.
Introspection requires time alone, quiet, not listening to or reading the ideas of another. It is not watching the news to “see what is going to happen.”
Introspection, that sacred journey inward that can only be taken alone.
Inward, to the place where I feel connected to everyone else. Since it seems that I am connected with others within the wordless depths of myself, as I mend the divide within myself between love and hate, peace and violence, truth and lies, I hope that I am participating in the mending of others.