In 2019, I’m going to shine some light on the ways that modern spiritual practices are harmful to others; politically designed to perpetuate oppression.
I have a lot of spiritual teachers on my friend list.
And everyone on my friend list has suffered.
My friends include the first brown family in Tonasket, migrants who grew up picking fruit;
Friends who were sent to Japanese internment camps in WW2;
Addicts and people in recovery;
Friends with mental illness, in themselves, or in their families;
Friends who are suffering from or survivors of cancer and other horrible diseases.
I have friends who have been homeless;
Friends who picked trash and did odd jobs “to offset the rent”when they were children;
Friends who have seen and lived the worst of war;
Friends who’ve been raped and abused;
Whose families have hurt them, rejected them, tossed them away;
Who’ve lost loved ones to murder, suicide, and random horrible chance.
My friends include street wise and book wise.
My friends are rich and poor.
But the simple truth is, if all my friends have a home and food every day, they are blessed. If they have a car, a job, the ability to dream and build the lives they dream of - then all of my friends are more fortunate than almost all the other people on this earth.
Socrates said, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
There is truth in that, for people, like Socrates, who are privileged.
That’s us. It’s not everyone.
People who are starving think constantly about feeling full. Their thoughts don’t fill their bellies.
Children and parents ripped from each other and thrown in icy cages on the border think constantly about being together again. Their thoughts will not make that happen.
The people of Flint, Michigan don’t deserve poison water because of some bad things they did in another lifetime, and they did not create that problem with their thoughts. Nor can their thoughts fix it.
If you can spend your time preaching that your mind creates your reality, you are privileged. And your well intentioned words may be harmful to everyone on this earth who is not, because those words blame them for their suffering.
If you are preaching a calm, no-drama, blissful “zen” attitude and refusing to allow an upsetting reality to touch your perfect world while you sit on your cushion and OM for world peace, your spiritual practice is privilege.
Yoga is ethics.
Spiritual growth is service.
I’m going to lose some friends over this.
I’m going to be blocked and rejected.
But Yoga is ethics.
And spiritual growth is service.
I’m not just here for the down dogs.