By Melody Lima
As the external essence of the current Presidential election penetrates my senses, and as the experience becomes more astonishing, disturbing, embarrassing and surreal, I find myself turning inward.
Pratyahara is the fifth limb in the Eight Limbs of Yoga outlined for us in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
As a withdrawal of the senses, Pratyahara, is a honing in closer to our experiences—a focus into ourselves without attachment, an escape away from the pain and suffering of the world around us.
Many of us voters wish we could escape and hide in a cave. Hang out for a few weeks, meditate, eat lots of veggies and emerge when this election nightmare is over. Most likely, this will not happen for us.
I struggle with politics in general and this election has been a huge challenge for me.
I am surrounded by the voices from both sides. They are loud, articulate, informed, passionate, concise perspectives on the recent headlines, sound bites and mug slinging. I believe in everyone’s Freedom of Speech to rightfully express opinions and concerns, and yet, a detox from all the commentating sludge is imperative.
My monkey mind requires extra yoga mat time, especially as Election Day draws near to us.
I ask for guidance in my daily meditation. I seek the resources, tools or practices that may benefit me with this obstacle of politics. I often practice from the 8 Limbs of Yoga, exploring Pratyahara a bit deeper fits my yearning and practice.
As the propaganda marketing machines shift into full force, without attachment needs extra effort. On a daily basis, sometimes hourly basis, forgetting there is an election, staying focused on personal goals, family activities and work projects has guided me inward to a kinder and gentler space.
I welcome this space to maintain sanity, pride in our system and belief that we, as a country, are not making complete fools of ourselves.
I looked in temples, churches and mosques.
But I found the Divine within my heart.
- When I hear a sound bite from a Presidential candidate’s speech that I disagree with, I repeat a positive, loving Mantra quietly to myself.
- When I see the expression of hate from supporters, reporters, staff members, Senators and Congressman, I walk in nature to experience the beauty of our land.
- When I smell the disgust of opposing views from family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances, I light a candle of the infused with calming essential oils to ease my soul.
- When I taste the lack of respect for so many demographics, I remember, I still have the power of my vote.
- When I feel hopeless, fear and utter betrayal from the money wasted on long campaigns and politic careers steamrolling over tax-paying folks, I remember abundance comes to us in many forms.
I know my life will not be grandly effected by who is the next President. I will continue to teach yoga, make dinner for my family, write about my passions, drive my kid to activities, eat lots of veggies, walk the dog, ask for guidance and remember there is a pile a laundry somewhere in my house calling out to me.
In the meantime, my practice of Pratyahara is keeping me unattached from the politics into a loving heart.
Editor: Dana Gornall