The world news about the Syrian refugees has been so distressing. Sometimes, it makes what I do (facilitating yoga) seem less important. Except that, my great teachers have always wisely maintained that creating inner peace has the greatest positive effect on the world, even war.
As individual people become more content, more compassionate and more aware, their ability to help others increases exponentially. The kinder and more aware we are of ourselves, the kinder and more aware we are of others. Whether this manifests as contributing time and money to a cause, or creating a positive environment for yourself and others, the greatest effect comes from within us. What is natural for you, is the most effective thing you can do. Check out this post about the smallest thing creating the most change.
Before I went to India or learned yoga, I was a passionate environmentalist and feminist. I still am, however the mode in which I work has adjusted significantly. I clean up my inner environment and do what feels good for me in my own body and home before I even consider making suggestions to others. If I do offer suggestions, they are: What resonates for you? What brings you peace? What choices are you making in response to the world?
I have met many good people working to make the world better but have no idea of how to treat or take care of their inner environment, their family or the people they work with. So they step on other people’s toes without realizing it and often have an “end justifies the means” philosophy. They are do-gooders, who are well–meaning but create more work and sometimes, more problems.
My great teacher Maharishi said: “It is the purity of man’s heart and mind, and his innocent and faithful approach to action with the purpose of all good to everyone, which really succeeds in yielding maximum results with minimum effort.”
I’m drawn to the householder tradition of yoga because it’s all about integrating spirituality into the work of our 21st century life. So, I don’t look at the news and get depressed. This would actually contribute to the “problem”.
~Consider how to contribute to future generations
~Contemplate the situation from its root, not the problem at hand
~If there’s something I can do, I do it.
~Consider: How this outer event is taking place in my inner environment?
~Ask Inner questions: Is there something I can do to take care of myself everyday? When am I afraid and defensive of others? Where can I increase compassion?
Because truly, “The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness.” ~MMY
“Love opens all doors, no matter how closed they may be, no matter how rusty from lack of use. Your work is to bring unity and harmony, to open all doors, which have been closed for a long time. Have patience and tolerance. Open your heart all the time.” ~MMY
Being more compassionate to those around you has an impact that you cannot ever know or measure.
Knowing how lucky you are keeps the small problems in your life in perspective.
On problems, Maharishi said:
“Problems are not solved on the level of problems. Analyzing a problem to find its solution is like trying to restore freshness to a leaf by treating the leaf itself, whereas the solution lies in watering the root.”
“Only a new seed will yield a new crop.”
However you feel called to work with the state of our world is up to you. And even what appears to be a simplistic or small contribution may be one of the most valuable.
If you feel called, here are some links:
~Transcendental Meditation Vancouver http://ca.tm.org/web/vancouver/home
~UN Refugee Agency http://donate.unhcr.org/international/syria
~International Rescue Committee https://engage.rescue.org/donate/with-syria
~Quick overview of the history of Syrian conflict http://www.upworthy.com/trying-to-follow-what-is-going-on-in-syria-and-why-this-comic-will-get-you-there-in-5-minutes?g=4
~You are a choice-maker http://wakeup-world.com/2015/08/25/in-the-trenches-of-battlefield-earth/
~Love yourself, call your loved ones