The Yoga of Voting

BY Parvati

This week sees two major dates: first, the US election on Tuesday, and then Remembrance Day on Friday. Taken together, these two are sobering calls to consider the world we live in and how we are contributing to unrest or to peace.
Beyond any political question with the potential to enable agitated minds and divisive thinking, I am most interested in the essential questions of what each one of us is doing to wake up from the illusion of disconnection. Once we understand that all impossibilities are literally not real, we cannot help but welcome the personal transformation of inner peace that will ultimately halt our global crisis and lead to world peace.
The US election has seemed particularly volatile this year. Though I am Canadian, I have always felt like a citizen of the world. I see politics more from a spiritual perspective, taking into account our inherent interconnection, even when we are voting for something local. I make no pronunciation as to how another nation’s citizens should vote. My advice is simply to consider the yoga of voting.
The art and science of yoga reaches far beyond the impressions most people have of it being a series of bendy, physical exercises. Yoga is a systematic body of knowledge and practice that teaches integrated living, while realizing our highest good. If you practice yoga, you have an opportunity during elections to engage mindfully with your community and with the power you have as a citizen.
Yogic sages and enlightened masters remind us that most of us perceive ourselves to be isolated islands because we are in a sleep-like state of consciousness, from which we must awaken to grow spiritually. In reality, we are interconnected beings in a constant state of co-creation within an intelligent whole.
From this yogic perspective, to care for someone else is to care for yourself. This is also true for the care of all living things, including our planet Earth. As we evolve, we come to see that we are literally the world, the very same stuff of which all matter is made and the life-force that sustains it. For this reason, caring for the Earth is an essential part of being alive and sharing gratitude for the opportunity we have while here, to love, learn and evolve.
As yogis, we understand that what happens in one part of the world affects everyone around the world. For example, the vulnerable ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean, far removed from the day-to-day concerns of most who live south of the Arctic Circle, is currently a hotbed of political and economic activity. As the polar ice caps recede and their power to cool the planet is diminished, mineral and petroleum deposits are revealed on land and in the ocean. These are subject to exploitation from major oil companies and other big businesses. But this comes at a very high cost to us all, putting the delicate environment at greater risk while profiteering from, rather than halting, the planet’s rising temperatures.
In the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna teaches Arjuna how to live as a yogi while embracing the tasks that are his to do. Like Arjuna, we can practice yoga by acting in accordance with our deepest purpose throughout each day and at this election time.
I encourage you to follow your soul voice and inner wisdom and choose a government that reflects your intention as a yogi. Consider the wisdom of acting to care for all life in your country and on the planet.
If you have the right to vote and are not sure if you will exercise it, think of all those who have gone before you who have risked their lives to give you this privilege. Not that long ago, women and black people could not vote in North America. Still, worldwide, many do not have this basic democratic right to weigh in on who they wish to lead their country.
Read on in my article “Vote like a Yogi” at Elephant Journal for two exercises “Vote Like A Yogi: Rooted, Vital and Expansive” and “Send Light To Our World Leaders” to help you make your decision and contribute to world peace. Whether or not you have a ballot to cast at this time, I believe you will find value in considering how what you choose to do on a daily, even moment to moment, basis affects the whole.
Wherever you are in the world and whatever you do this week, remember:
Love yourself.
Love others.
Love our world.
We are one Earth family.