Partisan political wrangling, hegemonic religious claims, and exclusive ideologies of all kinds are often invitations to psychic or even physical violence. Based often on faulty reasoning and misperceptions, their exclusivity and the tribalism this encourages tend to foster “us versus them” thinking; sometimes this takes extreme and virulent forms. The yoga mat, the meditation cushion, and the breathing room are places of refuge where the practitioner can water the seeds of enlightenment, quietly decline invitations to strife, and open a path for her best self to put in an appearance.
As sentient beings, we are in a state of perpetual change. We are also bombarded constantly by information and emotional appeals, much of which is designed to elicit an outraged response (controversy sells). We have to take refuge, to protect our minds from the barrage of toxic mental formations that are sent our way on any given day. Simply inviting the meditation bell to sound and breathing in and out mindfully several times can produce the countervailing force needed to shelter and purify our minds. Sitting in mindful awareness of breathing for several minutes every day can reunite our mutually alienated bodies and minds. We may want to give this this oneness of body and mind outward form by bringing our hands together before our chests in imitation of a lotus flower. After our time of sitting meditation comes to a close, we may wish to bring our hands together again and again throughout the day; this can serve as a physical action to help us to recapture the mental and emotional clarity that meditation produces. We will then be more than qualified to take on the challenging aspects of our worlds; we are primed to allow our best mental formations to dominate.
Our relationships with other people will improve as we carry the mindfulness we find on the meditation cushion into every conversation, each transaction, all the interactions that make up our days. This is a completely rational and clear-minded way of being in the world, one that requires no dogmatic assertions or exclusive ideology. It can radically transform our lives; I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Image from yourbellalife.com