I’ve been talking to people about my views on the election campaigning based on (my understanding of) yoga principles. In an article I wrote recently on my website, I talked about how negative and angry I was feeling when watching the election coverage and thinking about all the issues that are pertinent right now. I expressed that I’m trying to be less judgmental of others who have a different impression than me. After all, without differing opinions, we don’t have a democracy, right?
The challenge of non-judgment, though, is how to resolve the perception that the other’s point of view, or actions, or behavior, are just plain wrong. As in evil wrong, or unjust wrong, or harmful wrong. How do you not get angry at someone who has caused pain and suffering to other people by their indifference or greed? I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that anger is not a constructive emotion for me. My thinking gets cloudy, my heart gets hard and I become pretty irrational. I actually can feel the skin on my neck crawl. So in fact I hurt myself by becoming angry, rather than contributing anything useful to the world.
So, if not anger, maybe we should respond with indignation. Indignation – righteous indignation, right? To me that means: I know better than that other gal because I’m better than her. Me right, you wrong. Constructive? Not really. Does this contribute anything useful to the world? Not really.
The only useful response I’ve come up with so far is action. Recognizing that something doesn’t seem to be working and doing something to contribute to making it better. Staying angry or indignant in the meanwhile doesn’t really help me. Focusing on the outcome that I would like to see on the other hand? Priceless.