Hooray for the sunshine and thank you to all you wonderful and generous people who came along and supported this year's yoga "class on the grass" thus far raising an incredible £640 with more to come from those unable to attend this morning - I have no doubt this will make a difference to lives both through Autism Guernsey and the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Thank you also to those who made such yummy cakes - very kind and much appreciated.
I LOVE that we can help others through our yoga practice. It is so easy to forget about our interconnected nature as we become absorbed by our own lives with all its ups and downs and dramas. It is all so easy to forget about the suffering of others too especially those in the developing world if we are no longer bombarded with their images on TV and in media.
This has certainly happened with Nepal which has all of a sudden disappeared from the news channels so that we could easily forget that the Earthquake ever happened, that people lost their lives and that others still have no where to live and no food to feed their children. We cannot even imagine...and sometimes better not to imagine.
You could argue of course that we all suffer one way or another. We may well be able to feed our children and shelter from the rain but this is not to say that we do not suffer all the same. Ironically however, it is our own suffering that is the seed of compassion - our own happiness flows more freely when we take the focus off ourselves and put it onto others. Once we have felt our own heart, we can begin to remind ourselves that others have hearts too.
There is this marvellous quote from the Dalai Lama which resonates hugely, it reads:
"We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contibute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life."
We can help people every day of our lives if we choose, we don't have to give money to them or raise money for them, we can help by simply opening our hearts to them, by listening to them (how often do we truly listen) or by smiling at them, or just simply being kind and compassionate. We spend so much of our lives rushing around that it is so easy to become disconnected to those around us and to forget how much we are - at the core - so connected to one another.
There is this marvellous extract in "Wherever You Go, There You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn:
"It seems we know full well from childhood that everything is connected to everything else in certain ways, that this happens because that happened, that for this to happen, that has to happen. Just recall all these old folk tales, such as the one about the fox who drinks most of an old woman’s pail of milk which she neglected to watch as she was gathering wood for a fire. She cuts off his tail in a fit of anger. The fox asks for his tail back, and the old woman says she will sew his tail back on for him if he will give her back her milk. So he goes to the cow in the field and asks for some milk, and the cow says she will give the fox some milk if the fox brings her some grass. So the fox goes to the field and asks for some grass, and the field says, “bring me some water.” So he goes to the stream and asks for water and the stream says, “Bring me a jug.” This goes on until a miller, out of kindness and sympathy, gives the fox some grain to give the hen to get the egg to give to the peddler to get the bead to give to the maiden to get the jug to fetch the water…and so the fox gets his tail back and goes away happy.” Kabat-Zinn concludes, “This has to happen in order for that to happen. Nothing comes from nothing. Everything has antecedents. Even the miller’s kindness came from somewhere.
Looking deeply into the process, we can see that the same applies. No sunlight, no life. No water, no life. No plants, no photosynthesis, no oxygen for animals to breathe. No parents, no you. No trucks, no food in the cities. No truck manufacturers. No mining, no steel for the steel workers. No food, no steel workers. No rain, no food. No sunlight, no rain. No conditions for star and planet formations in the formative universe, no sunlight, no Earth. These relationships are not always simple and linear. Usually things are embedded in a complex web of finely balanced interconnections. Certainly what we call life, or health, or the biosphere, are all complex systems of interconnections, with no absolute starting point or end.
So you see it helps, I believe, to remember that our every action has an effect. That if we can find the courage and strength to live life from our hearts with compassionate and be present, truly present, the more we can help to ease suffering, not only others but also our own. So that when we practice yoga we practice for the benefit of the whole world, we offer ourselves, our heart and our soul and try and make a difference, however small, in this world.
So thank you again to all of you who made a difference on your yoga mats this morning and thank you to all you wonderful open-hearted people who make a difference every day without needing recognition, and thank you to my parents for all the many ways in which they have made a difference by opening their home and their hearts. May we all find the courage to truly live our lives from our hearts with a sense of connectedness to one other every day of our lives. Om shanti.