Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families and nations. -Paramahansa Yogananda
Thursday’s shooting in Connecticut was nothing short of a national tragedy. A horrific event that took the lives of 26 people- 20 of which were small children. I cannot imagine what the parents of the children are feeling right now. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and others affected.
As the pieces are gradually picked up and the dust settles, this event will long be talked about and remembered by our country and those involved.
And in the coming weeks and months the question on everyone’s lips will be this: “Why?”
Some will point to the parents, others to violence in media. And those may be valid thoughts. But I believe the answer is actually rather simple, a little deeper, and right in front of us: we have lost our connection to ourselves, and that carries into our relationships and our everyday lives. It prevents us from seeing the world around us clearly and objectively.
Yoga is a Bridge to Peace and Awareness
The Yoga community should be concerned with the events that took place in Connecticut, because we have an opportunity to pass something on to the nation when it comes to this kind of circumstance.
The practice of Yoga gives us a powerful tool for self connection and inward depth. Anyone who has practiced Yoga for years knows that it is an extremely effective way to calm ourselves and reconnect to our center. So the more we acknowledge that and recognize the importance of that connection in our everyday lives, the more others will others will see those deeper qualities exuded through us.
And think about what that means.
If we start to exude new qualities…maybe a little less restlessness, maybe a little more confidence with who we are, maybe a little more acceptance of others…people may start to seek us out for advice because they trust and respect us.
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In short: we become more present and calm in the world around us, and since the world needs that right now we have an opportunity to help others more effectively.
I am not saying that everyone who practices Yoga is a messenger for world peace; but I am saying that the smallest positive change in ourselves can bring about shifts within our community.
This, in turn, can give way to deeper, more meaningful connections with friends, family, loved ones, and even acquaintances.
If we can have these deeper exchanges with others, I firmly believe we can start to see when another person needs our help. Most people are quite closed off from others and themselves; they are distracted by their own mental rat wheels, or stuck with their heads hung down looking at the ground.
Yoga helps promote clarity within an individual, and that translates to all aspects of our lives. Obviously Yoga is not the only way of experiencing that inward connection and inward calmness, but it is definitely effective.
So if it’s possible that we can be more present and more observant in our world, perhaps we can take this skill set and more effectively notice when someone is mentally unstable. We can clearly see that something might be off, because we are in tune with our surroundings.
I don’t know if the shooter in Connecticut could have been stopped in this method. Perhaps he was passed the point of no return, and this advice would not necessarily work. But it would work in some other circumstance, and it could prevent another tragic event like this happening.
We are all connected to those we meet in some way. We can choose whether or not to care about what is going on with that individual or ignore their problems. Yoga is one of the greatest ways to clear space within ourselves so that we can more openly and genuinely give to others. Without giving to ourselves, we have nothing to offer others and cannot adequately know when someone needs our help or may be subconsciously reaching out to us.
So be kind to yourself. Do your practice, and allow yourself the right to release your worries, anxieties and fears.
Others will see you as a more complete person, and your environment will shift to accommodate your new found self connection; and people around you will benefit.
Be grateful for those in your life that enrich each day. You never know when they may be taken away from you.
How to talk to kids about tragedy, from Mr. Rogers:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,‘ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” ~ Fred Rogers