“Sail forth—steer for the deep waters only,
Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.
O my brave soul!
O farther farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!”
There’s a great and amusing line in the Indian text the Bhagavad Gita. It says:
Armed with yoga, stand and fight.
It’s interesting, because one might ask, what has yoga got to do with fighting? Well, in the material world, if you are of a certain nature, everything. The line is saying, on one level, anyway, ‘stay steady in the material when everything is spinning wildly around you—this wild spinning is the way of the material world.’
In other words, don’t run and flutter and shake and twist with every new incoming problem, threat, news flash etc. If you do (and god knows we do!), you will be driven insane, the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.
I get that. That’s what a yoga pose (an asana) is—a symbol for standing with grace and steadiness in the material world. Doing an asana is to be in an awkward position and stay steady by steadying the breath, and understanding these fluctuations and madnesses all around us (and within us) are the way of the world—and in that way, quite predictable.
In this same spirit, I wrote the other day:
Sometimes I think one of the worst methods of gathering a complex knowledge of what’s going on in the world is by watching the news every night.
I know good people who watch the news every night and know virtually nothing original or insightful about world events—let alone anything comprehensive or expansive.
“Myths which are believed in tend to become true.”
The daily deluge of political rhetoric allows new lies to become “facts” through repetition.
Like natural selection, this repetition not only changes, bit by bit, what was said or promised in the original rhetoric, recreating objectives, but it creates—probably due to excessive out of context information—what is known as a memory hole.
In other words, if knowledge is lost, it will be replaced by every stupefying bit of information that comes in from the outer world.
And then I wrote even more recently, quoting the yogic idea of “stand and fight” again:
To be overly affected by… daily news flashes is to be hopelessly vulnerable. The appalling acts going on all over the globe have very little to do with [every little bit of boring, scandalous pseudo-news with which we are bombarded]. As it says in the Baghavad Gita, “Armed with yoga, stand and fight.”
In other words, understand, in varying degrees, these unfoldings [of boring, scandalous pseudo-news, and even serious, painful events that deeply effect innocent people] are part of the world. From there, breathe deeply and act according to your nature, as best you can. If love can be increased, or hate decreased, how beautiful is that?
So you get what I’m trying to say: Not ‘relax’ per se, but (like I am trying to do, too), try to understand that these endless bombardments—magnified in the 2008 superhighway—are how the world, in variations on the theme, has always unfolded. Greed. Scandal. Gossip. Basically varying levels of consciousness with some of the lower versions dominating the airwaves and, thus, mass consciousness.
As it turns out, this same phenomenon was described in less spiritual/energetic terms in Rolling Stone magazine the other day. I thought I’d quote Matt Taibbi in his article Generation Squeeb: Barack Obama’s Reverend Wright controversy, and America’s squid-heart:
The endless onslaught of tiny scandals trains the electorate to be hyper-responsive to temporary, superficial outrages while simultaneously chipping away at their long-term memories [hence, the memory hole], their inclination to look at the big picture, their ability to grasp subtleties of opinion and policy.
So instead of talking about the fact that Barack Obama once introduced a bill to give a tax break to a Japanese company whose lawyers donated fifty grand to his Senate campaign, we’re freaking out for five minutes about the fact that Obama’s pastor thinks America spread AIDS on purpose in Zambia.
And instead of talking about the fact that Hillary Clinton took $110,000 from a New York food company she later helped by introducing a bill to remove import duties on tomatoes, we’re ranting and raving about Gerry Ferraro’s paranoid ramblings about Obama’s blackness.
We can’t keep our eyes on the ball and really think about the serious endemic problems of our system of government [in step with unelected multinational corporate power] because we’re too busy freaking out like a bunch of cartoon characters over silly, meaningless bullshit. And then forgetting about that same bullshit ten minutes later, so that we can freak out all over again about something else later on.
That’s just the way we are, and maybe it’s time to wonder why that is…
We can’t focus for more than ten seconds on anything at all and we’re constantly exercised about stupid media-generated non-scandals, guilt-by-association raps, accidental dumb utterances of various campaign aides and other nonsense—while at the same time we have no energy at all left to wonder about the mass burgling of the national budget for phony military contracts, the war, the billion dollars or so in campaign contributions to be spent this year that will be buying a small mountain of favors for the next four years. And we… shit, I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore.
Matt, remember your breathing! You’re onto something, so stand and fight without collapsing! Do not become cynically superior! See it is as the human condition that we are all under, in varying degrees! Love more, Matt! Matttt!
I’m just tired of this tone that’s always out there when these scandals break, like we can’t fucking stand the existence of this Wright fellow for even a minute longer, not a minute longer!—when we all know that come Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, Jeremiah Wright will be forgotten and we’ll be jumping en masse in a panic away from the next media-offered shadow to fall across our bow. What a bunch of turds we all are, seriously.
God help us if we ever had to deal with a real problem.
I would suggest statistics in Iraq that match and in some places are worse than in the Bush-labelled genocide in Darfur might just be that real problem. And the Chinese dictatorship is brutally and awfully—ugly yet admittedly—funding a heinous regime in Sudan to ensure their line to oil.
As one of the Chinese politicos said, “It’s just business.”
America has invaded Iraq, and bankrupted their own country, and still the issue actually drops out of sight in the election from time to time, and the military actions taken (now at five years and hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people) is always only misguided, never immoral, or internationally illegal.
This is one of those painfully and brutally distracted-by-scandal sicknesses.
But the point is: stay strong, my dear friends, keep breathing, do what you can but with ahimsa (causing as little damage as possible), and understand this is just the material world being itself.
Seek the balance point within yourself through deeper knowledge and understanding, whatever that journey may be for you.
In short, “Armed with yoga, stand and fight.” And yoga is a non-sectarian term, coming from the root ‘yug’ meaning ‘stay connected…to the the Source of your deeper, sustainable, love-expanding wisdom, whomever He or She or It may be.’
To beautiful sisters and brothers everywhere, that all beings may be seeking a little more balance, in an imbalanced world. Love more!