Yoga Mail

By Roy

We live in the digital era filled with amazing innovations. Human lives are connected more than ever with the accessible Internet. However, does the digital era and fast-paced living distance us from our essential provider – mother nature? Lately, it seems that Mother Nature has been trying to get our attention. Its signals are increasingly louder, strident, and hard to miss. Some of these signals have produced a lethal aftermath.

According to the United Nations, the current number of storms, floods, and heatwaves is five times greater than it was in 1970. Although this increase should be partially attributed to the fact that we have better data now than we did half a century ago, numerous studies point to the heightened frequency of extreme weather phenomena these days: abnormally high or low temperatures, torrential rains, mudslides, prolonged droughts, and fierce forest fires. The number of people displaced by the effects of climate change is now greater than ever before.

Despite these various distress signals, humanity has hitherto been unable to alter its current disastrous actions to our planet. This lack of effective action is not just due to certain corporations and countries pushing their capitalist-oriented agendas at the expense of nature, but also due to our deep-rooted human nature.

Mental pollution is the greatest hazard

First, we have to understand that the world is a projection of our own minds, that the external environment is only a reflection of the environment within our own selves.

Also, Nature is all out of balance because our minds, emotions, and nature are out of sync.

We have lost control of the mind due to lack of right thinking and right action in relation to ourselves, to the environment and to others.

Maybe it is time we started taking responsibility for this inner environment of ours rather than seeking outside for environmental solutions because society and the world cannot be changed unless we first change and upgrade the quality of our own thinking patterns, emotional responses, and consciousness. The mental and emotional pollution within us is a greater hazard than any external pollution, and it has to be cleaned up first. To bring about this change, to restore our own inner balance and to harmonise the inner and outer worlds is the work of yogic science.

Yoga is the solution

Yoga can successfully re-educate the twenty-first-century mind and reveal the deeper qualities of peace, love, tolerance, acceptance, and understanding which have become buried deep underneath the debris of selfishness and desire. Yoga means a complete life, both inner and outer. It means a life of opening up to oneself, to others, to the environment and to the cosmos. It brings the unruly mind and emotions back under our control and restores peace, poise and tranquillity to our inner world, thus deepening our understanding of, and relationship to, not only ourselves but also to Nature and the world around us.

When we practice yoga, our body, mind, and emotions become more refined and subtle. Our whole way of acting and thinking changes and begins to undergo a transformation. We then begin to feel the environment as a part of our own selves, and therefore worthy of love and respect. If something is wrong outside, we will very quickly feel it within ourselves due to the heightened awareness which yoga provides. Conversely, if the environment is sick and depleted, we will become sick and depleted too. Yoga helps us develop an inner wholeness and integrity which is then projected outwards to the other parts of the whole of which we are only a minute fraction.

The process of cultivating self-awareness allows us to sense other living beings which is part of the eco-system we live in. A very important environmental consciousness we must cultivate involves preventing the cruel taking of innocent animal lives, which the peaceful and sympathetic natural mind cannot accept. Instead of killing and mistreating animals, we can learn from them by living closer to them and observing how they interact with the environment. Animals are closer to Nature than we are.

Animals follow Nature’s laws and rhythms with perfect acceptance, eat the right amount of the right food at the right time, rise and sleep with the sun, mate only at fixed times, and take from the environment only that which is necessary for their daily need.

It is our moral conduct and a sense of self-restraint which endorse life and society, and enable us to maintain individual, social, and therefore global balance and integrity. Furthermore, it is right thinking and actions that put us in touch with our natural qualities and help us gain mastery over our inner environment. When we incorporate them into our lives, our minds start to broaden and open out into new vistas of experience, into a world of expanded awareness and understanding. In the ecological scheme of natural laws, it is the ethical side of our human nature which we have to pay the greatest attention now, and then we can begin the re-education of the modern mind, heal broken emotions and fractured awareness, and provide ourselves with a strong, steady base from which to lead a healthy integrated life.