I have been pondering the lessons of Michelle Cassandra Johnson and Kerri Kelly regarding Resilience through practice since their Race & Resilience course earlier in the year. Here is a link to her work. It is the inspiration for these thoughts.
The consistent practice of yoga provides many things, of course. Primarily though, through Abhyasa – devoted practice – the practitioner learns focus. To continue to do the task at hand despite any emotional flapping turns that focus into Resilience. Abhyasa, consistent practice makes the one practicing Resilient.
Resilient to what? Practice allows the practitioner to stand still and humble when faced with tapas. Tapas is the friction caused when conflicting or challenging objects meet. This can also be ideas, beliefs, feelings, actions. Someone who is resilient, who is focused in the practice can become so humble they can hear difficult things and say thank you, can apologize, can change. The true Sattvic practice that leads to Resilience allows the practitioner to know when the Guru is speaking…and also when the person speaking is not the Guru.
Since Yoga is radical work at its core, Resilience allows the practitioner to be stable and comfortable (sthiram sukham asanam….) in their dissenting voice. Consistent practice makes the path clear. Resilience is what it takes to play the long game. Self-Realization is a very long game. Resilience is what it takes to stand under Dharma so one can under stand how it leads to Moksa.
Though Yoga is a solo path, we have a collective Dharma to each other. Since we are products of our environment, it is difficult to achieve Liberation if the quest happening is dependent on others not experiencing it. Thus, if our Dharma is to experience Moksa, then it is our Dharma to ensure all beings are Free first. This is why Black Lives Matter and the Anti-Colonialist Practicing of Yoga is necessary beyond it being just Truth. It is required to reduce the Maya of the mind because there is nothing so filled with Maya than the world built on the lies and manipulation of White Supremacy. Structurally this environment of White Supremacy creates a false identification with the self that permits White people to incorrectly feel superior and creates systems that enforce this belief upon everyone else. It forces BIPOC to constantly dance around this identity. None of us are able to actually focus on Moksa and all of it is Himsa, violence.
It is the Absolute Quest of the White practitioner to walk directly into these flames of the grief and shame and to cultivate the Resilience to bravely digest this and to change course immediately in every moment. For the White practitioner, the Tapas is to not fear the loss of whatever the grip of Supremacy falsely promises. It is Maya. Whatever loss is feared, that thing is already gone.
It is the Parigraha. This gripping is the cause of such suffering. It destroys the thing one is holding. It destroys the hand that is doing the holding, and by extent the entire person. It prevents one from touching anything else because the fist is clenched in fear. Worse, it makes it impossible for others to experience that which one is gripping because the gripping is hoarding. This is why Non-Attachment is important. Non-attachment is not about avoidance. It is about non-avoidance. Kleshas are traps. All of these are traps. Look directly at this Reality. Let this be the candle gazing. Let that gaze transform into action. Yoga is Karma Yoga. It is about Action.
Sat (the Ultimate Truth) is we all live in Equity. Our texts are very clear about this. The topic is repeated again and again. Release the grip. Release the grip. Aparigraha. This is how we practice Oneness in the Material world. Oneness is knowing and then acting with that knowing that there are enough resources when we release the grip. When I act from this knowing, I am clear that my health is dependent on your health. I commit that my Freedom is dependent on your Freedom. Any other interpretation is an immense Spiritual Bypass and is again, Himsa.
I would like to remind us of the Prayer of Peace. Often we only chant this one line from the Rg Veda, “Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu.” But, before and after these lines are caveats that are necessary to ensure that “All Beings Experience Freedom and Happiness.” If we don’t include these lines we are wishing passively for others to be happy as if it has no relationship to our actions.
Swasthi prajabhya paripalayantam
Nyayena margena mahim mahisaha
Go Brahmanebhya subhamastu nityam
Lokaha samastaha sukhino bhavantu
May there be happiness for all people
May the rulers righteously rule the earth
May there be welfare for the animals and men of wisdom at all times
May all beings be happy and prosperous
Kale varshatu parjanya,
Prithivi sasya shalini
Brhamana santu nirbhayaha
May the clouds rain at the proper time
May the earth produce plenty of grains
May this country be free from famine
May people of contemplation be fearless
Om Shantih Shantih Shantihi
Om Peace Peace Peace
Source of translation : https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/svasti-prajabhya/