We Are One

By Lynn Felder, RYT

Sometimes the universe seems amazingly beautiful and beneficent. Soft waves lap yielding sand. Our bodies feel strong and resilient.

Other times, the universe seems downright malevolent. Oil gushes from the earth's gut and poisons birds and fish and obscenely soils our beaches. Our bodies break down.

Sometimes we are poor stewards of our planetary resources, but sometimes nature seems destructive despite our best efforts. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, new viruses, resistant illnesses: It seems as if our bodies are reflecting the upheavals of our home, the Earth. Our connection, our interdependence with everything plays out in human-made disasters, natural disasters, and compromised immune systems. And when you get right down to it, we struggle to discern what we can and can't control. What is a yoga-practitioner to do?

We have more opportunities than most to observe - both the world and ourselves - with equanimity and still we feel helpless in the face of suffering.

Our beloved Billy is ill. He is facing pain, difficult surgeries, financial distress and trials that we can barely imagine. And he is facing it all with his usual courage and good humor. Anybody can be happy when times are good and everything's going our way. We enjoy those times when we have them, but if we are to maintain
balance, we can never think that life will or should be only "good."

Life is everything, and we know that it is in the difficulty that we are tested, made stronger and taught the lessons of love and compassion - for ourselves and for others. Sometimes, when difficulties mount so high that we cannot see to the other side, we get down on our knees, lift our eyes and pray:

Please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

When we are ill, we will do everything we can to get better, and then we let go of our attachment to the results of our efforts. When greedy people pillage the planet, we demonstrate, we support conservation with our words and our pocketbooks, we fight to change laws
and protect the Earth; and then we will let go and trust Mother Earth to renew herself as she has done for far longer than we've been here.

And, finally, we remember that we are part of everything - not just the Earth, not just each other - more than anything we can imagine. We are finite expressions of infinite abundance. Everything else is temporary. Everything else is illusion.

We are one.

Copyright by Lynn Felder June 2010. Lynn Felder is an award-winning journalist, a yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and the author of the DVD “Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients,” available at www.artsofyoga.com.

You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to lynn@artsofyoga.com and link to www.artsofyoga.com.