Yoga teachings espouse don’t be angry, don’t be bothered. But in the midst of the outrageous acts that have transpired in the last weeks, acts that are vile, cruel, and stupid, it would be downright strange not to feel indignation over what has happened. And that is the best word, indignity. We need now to dig in. We must stand up against the institutionalization of racism in this country to give black and brown people their dignity. We need to defy racism and the people that perpetuate it. To understand the perpetuation of racism in the United States, I recommend watching 13th, Ava DuVernay’s documentary on the history of slavery and the incarceration of African Americans in the U.S. of A. I watched it again this week with my fifteen-year old son. In seeing 13th, you understand the long oppression of blacks in this country. Racism was here at the beginning and continues up to the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. It continues all the way up to the White House where today sits a leader with a broken moral compass who will not stand up against prejudice but only perpetuate it with his strong-man posturing.
As modern day yogis, we need two steady arms in our practice. One arm is discriminating awareness. The other is compassionate presence. Wisdom and compassion are needed today so that within our families, schools, and communities we rebuild our collective moral compass. Not with heavy handed Thou Shalts. Rather we need to arm ourselves with discriminating wisdom and insist on justice, safety, protection, and respect for all beings. We need to arm ourselves in kindness and empathy. In this way in our meditations, our messaging, our Zoom classes, we will have all hands on deck to make a stand against injustice.