It’s time to act Arjuna

The Bhagavad Gita is playing on my mind at the moment and interestingly seems to be on the mind of other yoga teachers around the world too.

This past weekend was my monthly teacher training weekend and we studied the Gita together, a few days later I was walking with Frank at Watergate Bay beach and I saw a women with a tiny baby and dog litter picking. The beach was covered in litter, I asked her if that was normal for that beach as I haven’t noticed it in other Cornwall beaches and she said she didn’t know, she was on holiday there. On holiday with her family and yet litter picking! I was reminded of the section in the Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna to act, that non-action is in fact a choice and an action in its own right and we have been put on this earth to act and to act for the wellbeing of others.

And then last night as I was browsing Facebook in bed, I saw that two of my teachers had written about just this part of the Gita that day! My great teacher Jasmine in San Fran and the teacher who made me fall in love with Jivamukti, Jessica Stickler in New York.

Jessica made this point  in her blog:

“You are obliged to act, Arjuna, even to maintain your body.” (Bhagavad Gita 3.8)

It is impossible not to act. There is no such thing as inaction, no matter how hard you try. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna (a warrior who has lost his will to act) that even if he were to try not to act at all, you cannot stop acting. You eat, you breathe, you pump your blood, you interact, you gather, you build. Action is a fact of embodied existence. Our actions affect each other. We are all connected to one another; each action makes a ripple in the pond of inter-Being. None of us can act in perfect isolation. The question then becomes, what ripples do you want to make? Even non-action is a form of action. “Our lives begin and end when we become silent on things that matter.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

And my teacher Jasmine in her blog from SF Laughing Lotus wrote this in reflection of Krishna’s teachings in the Gita:

The aim of all yoga practices is to feel the interconnectedness between us, our environment, nature and to all beings as our beloved family. Sangha and community are an integral part of every spiritual tradition as a practice to experience this connectedness, as Thich Nhat Hanh says so beautifully: “It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community -a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.” 

Our asana practice certainly yokes us to nature through its infinite shapes that celebrates sacredness in all of creation as we worship every creature through celebrating its spirit and form. Putting LOVE into action through Karma Yoga, Self-less service and Bhakti Yoga’s devotional practices – all dissolve the illusion of separateness. This connection and awareness, which is the soul of Yoga, is so drastically needed right now as we are forced to look to at the racism, hatred and violence in our country and to save our beautiful blue/green home from extinction.

So I think the universe is sending me (and us a message write now), it’s time to turn to the wisdom of these sacred texts once again, it’s time to look at our world and our communities and see what WE can DO to make them a better place, this is not a time of inaction, every one of us can do one thing to make this planet a better home to all the creatures and beings on it. I’d invite you today to reflect on what that might look like for you.

It’s time to act, Arjuna.


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