Love is the answer, Love conquers all, Love is all you need.
And I’ve been around the love-drenched yoga counterculture for a long time. So I feel okay about making this gross generalization: love is a murky and sometimes abused concept in our yoga world. And there’s a tendency to equate spirituality with cheeriness, long lingering hugs, positivity and (my personal fave) non-judgment.
Now, those things are very nice to be around and there’s nothing wrong with feeling good, being optimistic and giving each other the benefit of the doubt (and long, lingering hugs). But, the idea that being spiritual is somehow found in an it’s-all-good attitude is not only delusional, it’s also dangerous.
Cotton-candy positivity is complicitous with exploitation – it’s also a death potion for critical thinking. The same sentiment that allows us to look away from the abuse of labor in the manufacturing of our yoga clothes also keeps us from calling out male teachers who abuse gender and authority power differentials to sleep with their students.
We turn our eyes from the darkness because we are afraid it will smother the precious light we have discovered through our practice.
But the reality is this – there is no light without darkness. And if you really want the light, then you have to be willing to go into the darkest parts of your own heart and our collective heart and produce the light from that material. That means stepping forward and taking right action personally and socially. There’s nothing about enlightenment that involves swimming in a river in Egypt.
I don’t know exactly what you, personally, are supposed to do to create change for yourself or the world, but I feel fine in asking you to commit to waking up, making the unconscious conscious, developing courage, and calling out unethical behavior when you witness it. And try not smiling all the time too – some matters deserve a serious countenance. ಠ_ಠ
If the counterculture believes that in order to maintain its narcotic fog of happiness it must ignore the tremendous amount of suffering that occurs on this planet, then it is simply capitulating to the very culture it seeks to counter – the culture that permits mass suffering for the benefit of the very few.
“When we talk of compassion we talk in terms of being kind. But compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative [enough] to wake a person up.” –Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche