So many new things happening here in America and with it so many groups and parties out demonstrating, yelling, marching and posting up their views. I love this freedom we have here in America; because historically mankind has often been killed for demonstrating different views. When we can demonstrate peacefully it is amazing.
So last month I went to the Woman’s March. I walked alone in silence to witness, listen and watch. I’m glad I did. So many came to DC from parts all around the world. I listened to them share their stories about their travels to their friends. One group spent all night driving there and had just arrived about 2 hours before. They were tired but ready to march. I watched people scream with laughter to find their friends and hug them. Many police and military there seemed to share in the day and many thanked them for their service.
It was crowded and many parts of the mall still had large gates to keep the traffic from going into the street so that meant pedestrian congestion as we tried to form a line to walk out of the exit. Here we are in a peaceful loving protest but many were pushing and wanting to rush to get ahead of others. Human nature; we miss the little things all the time.
Which is why I remained in silence. When we do so we can listen more but also we aren’t busy thinking up our responses either. We aren’t playing out the story in our mind that we want to say back. We are just holding space to listen.
I sat under a tree and listened to the speakers. Many spoke with such anger and insults to strike back because they are hurting. I also heard one group next to me busy talking about all about how awful “the Republicans” are. On and on with the blame. If only it was that easy.
We like to group things and push it away because it makes it easy for us to deal with. Yet we forget the facts. Fact is many democrats voted for Trump and many Republicans didn’t. I walked past the Trump Hotel where many wanted to take selfies of them flipping off the hotel. Some of the staff of the hotel were out front helping to valet and get cabs for the guests of the hotel. I watched people yell at the hotel staff for working there.
However past the anger and fear what I remember for the most part was a lot of strangers together who put aside their differences – even if they didn’t know it. They may not have realized different parties, types and genders were there but they were. I saw groups from health care, schools, States and organizations, and Men who walked to share kindness with each other.
Nonviolence is hard. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr King talked about nonviolence much. Just when you think you are acting in nonviolence you have to examine your action. If the act causes harm, even to those you dislike, it is violent. One harmful act, no matter if you felt they deserved it, does not mean it is justified.
As I was leaving the march Mr Trump was coming back to the White House and we had to stop for a while and wait for security to pass. As he passed many yelled, made gestures and names to his car. Being in silence it allowed me to be still – no response was required. Was quite amazing to watch and see that I don’t have to agree with the White House but all the name calling and anger isn’t going to help me either. I simply moved on and was quite calm and peaceful.
In Yoga and Meditation we learn to witness our responses. Why? First off because it is human nature to have our responses but if I learn to pause for a moment I may be able to hold back from doing something I regret. Harm. All the anger isn’t helping and often you are hurting yourself with it. You’ve tried screaming, yelling and mean gestures and did that let go of the pain? Did it make you feel better? Did it solve the problem? Isn’t it time to consider something else?
Now for those ready to respond and tell me about marches and protests that made change, please understand that is not what I’m talking about. It isn’t “What” it is “HOW” you do the action. I suggest you go back to an ancient book called the Gita and read it. We can go into battle but it is our action, how we Yoke, that makes our intensions healing or harmful.
We often live in our thoughts and with that comes our first instinct to respond. Do it long enough and you really start to believe that is all there is. It is times like this when you will have to seek out positive people, consume good energy and stories to balance out your thoughts. It can be in the little things. I was sitting outside about a block from the White House last week and enjoying the sun. I stranger walked by saying “You look peaceful”. We struck up a conversation and I’m so glad we did. We talked about Meditation and how he has started a company to help the kids in the schools. He was taking action to do something. I may never see him again but it is the moment to moment experiences in your day that you have to look out for. Don’t let something like that just pass you by because you are busy reading the news..
Learn to put away the phone, computer and look for the good things in this moment right now. Take action yourself that is nonviolent and listen. Isn’t it time?