As a yoga teacher, I preach a lot of equanimity and loving kindness for all creatures and beings. These are principles that I truly, deeply believe in, and I try to practice them in my life. But if I’m being really real with you, I’ve been struggling with this big time.
I’ve struggled a lot ever since the 2016 election to find compassion and empathy for those on the other side of the aisle. I’ve struggled to see the good in those people. I’ve struggled not to feel anger and sometimes hatred towards those people. I’m struggling as we speak.
I recently had a conversation with my partner about the state of the world. Politics, mainly (we have a lot of these conversations these days). He knows that I value love and compassion, and he’s heard me make comments that don’t align with these values. He pressed me on it and at one point asked me what progress means to me.
I expressed that progress, to me, is moving towards a society where all people feel compassion and empathy for all other people. To me, it’s not technological advances, or bigger cities, or more money. It’s kinder people.
He made me confront the fact that I often don’t show that same compassion and empathy that I wish to see towards people with whom I disagree politically and socially. It’s a confrontation I’ve had with myself before, but it’s tougher to have someone you love point it out.
I went to a yoga class with one of my favorite teachers the day following this conversation, and he read the following quote from Osho:
Love has to be just your flavor, your aroma, your fragrance. When you pass by the side of a rosebush, the rosebush does not bother whether it likes you or not. Its fragrance is available to you as much as to anybody else. Its fragrance is available to the birds, to the animals, to the trees – and unconditionally, without any expectation in return. Its fragrance is available even when there is nobody present to enjoy it, appreciate it. It simply goes on releasing its fragrance; it is its nature.
This hit me hard.
I’m not allowing my nature of love to simply be my flavor. I’m selective about it. Selective AF. I’m bothering very much with whether I like people or not before I allow my fragrance of love to be shared with them. So not like the rosebush.
Heart Opening to Release My Nature
So right now I’m practicing love. Unconditional love. Love for all creatures and beings, even Republicans in Congress and the folks over at the NRA (ok, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it).
Because love is my nature, and being selective about it does not serve anyone.
To be clear, this does not mean I won’t do everything in my power to vote those assholes out of office in 2018 and defeat the NRA (see, working on it…). But it means that I’ll try to do it from a place of love – without hatred and fear and anger for those people. I’ll do it because I want to stand up for the things I believe in, not because I want to stand in opposition to what others believe in. I want to act, not react.
In this heart-opening practice, I invite you to look within and ask yourself, “what is my nature?”
Whatever your nature, be that for you. If it is your nature to love, then love for love’s sake; allowing anyone you come into contact with to receive that love. No matter who they are, what they believe in, or what they’ve done. You love because it’s your nature to love.
Practice releasing that fragrance unconditionally. Non Selectively. Simply because it is your nature.
Let me know how it goes 😉