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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.
No matter how much we’ve worked to evolve into our higher selves, sometimes the best of us can falter.
Whether it is witnessing police brutality, an act of terrorism, or even simple family feuding, the cruelty, violence, and radical measures that some people choose to take can incite us to meet the moment where it is…in darkness; matching rudeness with rudeness, fury with equal rage, or to joust in verbal obscenities.
And when we reflect on these situations of extreme conflict, was anything resolved when either party took equally drastic action to combat the other?
While it seems perfectly logical to give people exactly what they are dishing out, it actually doesn’t do any good because we’re meeting unconsciousness with unconsciousness. And there’s no transformation or transcendence in that.
As the great Martin Luther King said above, light and love come in when people are open to having a conversation towards understanding each other. To get to a place of compassion and empathy, we have to walk a path of comprehension of where the hostility originates from.
In this human experience, we’re all emotionally wounded and how we react demonstrates how aware we are of what the pain has done to our perception of others and the world around us.
For it is not sadness and depression that causes disputes. It is assumptions, judgments, and preconceived notions of intentional predatory harm that does.
Yet developing this comprehension for how the inner world projects onto the external, is the unique dharma of every individual to discover. We can only be responsible for our own consciousness.
Every bit of light and love lightens a shadow and as yogis we can stay connected by seeing beyond someone’s conduct recognizing that contempt, anger, or condescension are defense mechanisms that are forms of fear. These are manifestations of something deeper that’s going on within.
Forgiveness is about being generous with our spiritual abundance and not needing to know the specifics but to imagine and identify that something tragic has damaged this person’s heart and consciousness.
We can assist in the healing process by not issuing more brutality to what is already injured and instead be courageous in an act of strength to demonstrate an example of kindness and compassion to the best of our abilities.