Lynne's Blog

Affirmative Action

My feet have been gathering no moss for several months now.  A little frost, some sand between my toes but very little hometown dirt has stuck to my shoes since last fall.   Teaching, family and wanderlust have kept me on the move since well before the fall elections and only now do I have the time and desire to settle in and reflect on what appear to be major shifts in the national landscape.

Affirmation has played a part in my path of personal growth for decades.  Positive statements written, spoken and read consistently make their way into mind and find a channel to lead, guide and direct life in ways unexpected and seemingly coincidental or even magical.  The great sage Swami Sri Yukteswar declared that we only need to watch our own thoughts for 24 hours to realize that, as James Allen said, “as a man thinketh in his hearts, so is he.”   And therefore so goes his or her life.   When we take up the challenge of choosing the input and output of our own minds we can steer the course of our lives for the better and influence the lives of others.

Affirmation and how we affirm others is powerful.  Like the scarecrow receiving a diploma then suddenly being able to spout the Pythagorean Theorem our thoughts and actions toward ourselves and others will elevate or suppress us.   I  personally never felt like a geologist until I received the diploma. Then something awakened and stirred the confidence in me to pursue a job search in Alaska. (I AM a geologist!)   Pema Chodran encourages meditators to fake it till you make it (I AM compassionate, kind and mindful in my everyday interactions) and I echoed that in yoga teacher training encouraging students at the end of their studies to “act as if “ you are already a master teacher.   BKS Iyengar said to teach with confidence but practice with humility and questioning.

An affirmation often causes a burble inside.   It is a seed starting to push forward that is still in great danger of withering or being plucked out before it fully manifests.   Because it is not fully formed, the affirmation feels tentative or even like a downright lie (I AM fearless, knowing that the Universe always conspires for my highest good).  I’m not always FEELIN’ it, but still affirming it!   When the statement no longer creates an inner tremor, in my mind it is complete, and it is time tomove on to a new one.

Recently I was reminded of an occasion in the past where I attended an event with a group of friends where the pledge of allegiance was recited.    Some of my friends were of minority groups treated unfairly under current laws at the time did not say the pledge.  They asked me afterward, how I could, in good conscience say, “with liberty and justice for all”.    I replied that I don’t say it as a statement of truth, but as an affirmation of what I hope for.   During election cycles and their aftermath, it has been my personal imperative to affirm the loving kindness meditation for those whom I least desire to see holding office or positions of power.

May you (fill in politicians name here) be filled with lovingkindness.  

May you be well.  May you be peaceful and at ease. 

May you be happy.

A woman activist was asked by a cynic why she stood on the corner with a peace sign every Friday for years.  Did she think she was going to change the world?   Her reply was, “ I don’t do this to change the world, I do it so that the world does not change me.”   The lovingkindness meditation may not change the politician but it does change my inner perception of them.   Anger, frustration, and harsh judgment transform into calmness, clarity and compassion.  Its clear which attitude will foster affirmative action.

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