CULTIVATE PEACE

Be Well Be Happy
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“When we hold on to our opinions with aggression, no matter how valid our cause, we are simply adding more aggression to the planet, and violence and pain increase. Cultivating nonaggression is cultivating peace.”  Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

We are all entitled to our opinions and beliefs. I am concerned about how we form opinions. What is feeding us to form an opinion about something? Is it the news media, social media, what? We have to vet the sources of information so that we can think clearly. We have to weed out what is an opinion and what is fact so we can see intelligently rather than in a reactionary way. Really think about the whole of it and not just what someone might have said. Then move forward with an approach, not of aggression, but maybe of humor and understanding.

Think back about a heated incident when you were just fired up and spewing things toward someone. Or if you never had that experience, maybe you witnessed it. Does anyone ever get anywhere? Never. Because the aggression behind the words and actions are pollutants. Think back about an incident when you talked something through - had some space to think and then maybe talked something through. Chances are you got to some space of common ground and then you were able to move forward in whatever way. I would like to suggest that we apply this to today in light of recent events.

My heart goes out to teenagers and young adults who are being manipulated by social media (see “Social Dilemma” a must-watch documentary). They get caught up in what shows up. A friend had an encounter recently with a young adult who was curious about my friend’s counter point of view (yes, politics). She respected her, she being the aunt of her friend, so asked for my friend’s point of view. Being that it was not an aggressive argument, the young adult walked away with some thought-provoking information.

In our yogic tradition, we study the Yoga Sutras which are a collection of “threads” that offer us information on the practice of living well, not only the practice of yoga poses. The first two of the first section on ethics - the Yamas - are “ahimsa” and “satya.” “Ahimsa” translates to “nonviolence” - doing no harm. It is the practice of coming from a place of compassion for self, others, the planet.  Are my thoughts, actions and deeds fostering the growth and well-being of all beings? “Satya” means “truth.” “Commitment to the truth. Truthfulness. Honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, government. When we say something, we are sure of the truth. Commitment to the truth isn’t always easy, but with practice it is a great deal less complicated and ultimately less painful than avoidance and self-deception.” (Donna Farhi, Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit). 

Cultivating peace in communication leads to “clear-seeing intelligence.” From there, we can make our world a better place. 

May you be happy.  May you be free.  May you be compassionate.  May you be grateful.  May you let go of things that do not serve you.  May you have inner peace. 

 By Paulette Mancuga 

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