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Monday, January 23, 2017

Solidarity and Kaivalya

I just read my son a book called The Yellow Star - recommended to me by a friend at his school, who read it to their children. I think for me this sums up everything my parents ever taught me about "good" and "right" and being strong, and being a community member. It's how I always felt in my heart and how I want to teach my son to be. It's not just about "standing up for the little guy;" it's about being willing to put yourself out there to make a statement about justice. It's about knowing in your heart that you are part of a bigger community and you must act to support it even if you are not personally needing the direct support.

The story was the legend of King Christian X of Denmark. The book acknowledges that the story in it's oral and written history, nor the version in this book, were fully true, but adapted version of an allegory for solidarity and support for ones brethren. 

The author writes in the end notes:
And what if we could follow that example today against violations of human rights? What if the good and strong people of the world stood shoulder to shoulder, crowding the streets and filling the squares, saying ,"You cannot do this injustice to our systems and brothers or you must do it to us as well." - Carmen Agra Deedy, The Yellow Star
You've read about the family that hid Anne Frank, and you've heard of Schindler's list and the woman from Poland who rescued children from the Holocaust. Many people are offended by any reference to this horrid event with respect to current political issues in the US. But I think the larger point here is that some people are willing stand up for what they believe in not with violence and guns (which happens too) or a military coup, but by thinking clearly, following their hearts, and taking a risk...and this is important.. for someone else. 

For supporting others and ourselves we have terms like have ahimsa (non harming), seva (selfless service), bhakti (devotion), sattva (purity), satya (truth), and all the yamas (ethics) and niyamas (observances) at deal with self conduct/care and ethics.... and a new one for me - KAIVALYA.

In the yoga sutras, the fourth chapter talks about moving from "I" based consciousness to self realization - a release of ego to find enlightenment. The Sanskrit term for this liberation is kaivalya. The yoga path is designed to help us find our way to our truest self, so that we may free ourselves from the idea that we are individual, and rather we are all interconnected, part of one big universe - one divine thing.

In order for us all to be free, we must not only acknowledge that we are "in this together" (in the immediate but also metaphysical sense) but also that someone that affects one affects us all - and we are obliged by the deepest consciousness to support whatever needs supporting. To stand shoulder to shoulder (or mat to mat, or heart to heart) and say "we are one."

Love and light, Om Shanti, Shalom.

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