The Three Gunas

If you are still struggling with the post-election dystopia, have you considered trying yoga? Before you do, may I please explain something? As Gabriel Halpern said in his dharma talk last weekend, starting yoga to find peace and comfort is like being caught in a rain storm and deciding to jump in the ocean.  As a yoga studio owner, it saddens me to see countless class passes expire. In doing what they perceive as purely physical exercises, many students curiously and bravely, perhaps unknowingly, scratch the surface of their mental abyss. Then they suddenly suspend their practice. Either they are not ready or don’t have the the discipline to remove what conceals their joy. Being “set in our ways”, even when they don’t working for us, is a state of Tamas – inertia, darkness, ignorance – think inaction and procrastination.

Excuses are a way of hiding the truth from ourselves. In a Tamasic state, we use a lot of negative energy obscuring reality. To free ourselves from tamas, we have to go through a state of Rajas, (just an inexperienced guess that Black Friday Shopping requires Rajas). The term Rajas in sanskrit refers to the energy of passion, activity and transition. Rajas is change. As we all know, it is agitating being taken out of our comfort zone. When we are able to find balance between dullness (Tamas) and turbulence (Rajas), Sattva is achieved – the pure state of intelligence and virtue.  Sativa is the state of joy and the energy of unconditional love.

The past few weeks have been an “I’m back in “08 again” reminder that I have to keep visiting the bottom to swim. Yoga exposes every dark corner I try to hide from myself in.  Asana brings me into my body; currently a foreign, discontented place. Meditation is not a space where feelings are suppressed; it is the place I connect with emotions and sit in solidarity with them.  When the demons come out, there needs to be a way to purge them.  Writing is an act of surrender and the spark of transformation. Pen and Paper are two friends who simply hold space, without judgement or advice.

Post-Election Grief

Warning: Don’t read this if you are in a good place today.

I need you…one of you…any of you…my spiritual leaders, to tell me how to let this go and choose love; to be non-judgmental, but without enabling or accepting fear or hatred. I need someone to hold my hand this morning.   No, wrap me tight in their arms and tell me it will all be ok. Then I can look at my teenage daughters and say the same to them with sincerity when I wake them.   They can still be anything they want and are respected. They are old enough and know right from wrong, unlike half of our country.

Grief is the second most prevalent feeling in the human heart but we don’t discuss it in relation to something like this. Grief is the normal response to loss. What do I think I lost? The belief in the goodness of human nature. “A peaceful place or so it looks from space.   A closer look reveals the human race.”

The familiarity of the physical pain of grief: upset stomach, no appetite, headache, insomnia, spaciness.

Reminder of the stages of grief: First, accept the reality of the loss – I need to do this without seeing any more maps colored in fear red or an acceptance speech.

Proceed to the emotions: that is easy for the moment – sadness and anxiety.

Eventually, adjust to the new reality; redirect love.

But how can I when hatred hijacked our election?

Some think grief is the price we pay for love, but love has no price. Fear and hate do. Remind myself that love is the most prevalent feeling.

My meditation was full of tears; and now my mat is. Is there a mudra to stop tears? No, and they need to flow.   Along with the pen.

The upside down smile in down dog.   I realize I did 15 minutes of yoga in peace without thinking about it.

I catch myself floating back to finding blame.   Blame loved ones who voted for third party candidates.   Blame egos who only want what is theirs and forget the rest.   Blame my ass-backward state. Blame single issue voters.   The last one feels a little better because at least for them it was about an actual issue; not fear or retaliation.

Please, someone more spiritually advanced than me tell me, how can I choose love when the majority hates? Someone give me the strength and faith to learn the lesson and move forward.   This one got me. Big. Instagram telling me I should bleed bliss or find light in the darkness is crass. I can’t fake it. I live here and am too busy feeling sorry for myself and all those good people who will fall in his path.

The consequences of repressing feelings are much worse than feeling them.   Numbness is a feeling. Social isolation is the desire.   Hibernation is not an option. Work. School conferences. Feeding myself. I know I have to feel to heal.   And move my body to feel. On my own terms. And in this red town, likely alone.

In yoga, love is the opposite of attachment, which is suffering. What is it I am attached to?Fairness? Compassion? Human decency?   Thinking the popular vote should be enough?

I chant along to the music in a broken voice.   My body organically sways like I’m rocking a child. Trigger. Back to the sobering reality…my children, all the children – will this behavior continue and will they grow to think it is acceptable? How do we protect them from bigotry and mistrust? Will relationships with other nations be different for future generations? fourfuckyears

If you voted for him and you know, come forward and teach the cowards and bullies who hide their racism and sexism behind curtains.   White Wisconsin, you mask your hatred well. You are not “shy voters”.   You are Slytherins – mistrusting serpents of cunning and self-preservation.

Press the send button.   Don’t press the send button. Call me a sore loser. Grief will not breed hatred. But I recognize that I still have a lot of work to do on myself. Maybe that is the lesson.

Namaste, Megan