Friday, March 18, 2011

We are all one... Reach out in Love

The tragedy in Japan is so sad. If we hear about destruction and suffering like this, and take a moment to be mindful, we can't help but feel it viscerally. There's an ache. A hurt. A deep longing. A desire to remove the suffering, heal the sick restore peace. I've never felt this way though... There's more connection then ever before. There may or may not be anyone I know personally there in Japan, and at the same time those are my loved ones, my friends, my family. The children are my children, the elders my grandparents. I'm not being idealistic, I feel connected.

Tragedy and disaster have a way of bringing out the best in people. We reach out a hand for someone in obvious need. We forget about the illusion of "us" and "them" if only for a moment. Sometimes, when something is broken down, its as if it breaks down our inhibitions too. We are more genuinely human.
With a deep urge to help, and discussion with some of my student-friends, I decided to reach out to a yoga studio in Tokyo. I thought that the best way to help would be to give, yogi to yogi, believing that they would be able to reach someone in need for us.

What has transpired has meant so much to me, it is hard to do it justice by relaying it in its simplicity, but I'll try. It shows that we are all connected. It also shows that while material assistance helps materially, heart-felt expression helps the heart. Without heart, material assistance cannot end suffering.

When I contacted the studio, OhanaSmile in Tokyo with my words of heart-felt feelings of oneness, longing to alleviate their suffering and offer to help, I received a beautiful response. I received the energy of real gratitude, and the message said the recipient was "deeply touched" by my message. While a link to donate to the Japanese Red Cross was given, what was asked for first, almost preferably, was for me to simply share my feelings on a yoga community forum, even taking the time to translate each part of the form so that I could really understand it. The message was ended with, "hontou ni domo arigatou gozaimasu"- I truly thank you very much, words which resonated with a lot of deep feeling.

The owner of OhanaSmile yoga studio, with whom I am conversing, also runs a yoga community website, a place for Yogis and Yoginis to post thoughts, conversations and discussions. It was on this site that it was requested I post, and I did. I posted A very raw, honest message to the people in Japan.

I posted from my heart, my feelings of oneness, my sincere desire to serve, to help, to relieve their suffering and bring peace again. I shared that I felt priveleged to share my feelings with them, and I truly do still feel it. I can feel passionately about this tragedy, but keeping it to myself or even among Americans feels one way. But sharing my heart with someone there, experiencing this as a reality, has transformed the energy of the feelings. I really felt that greater connection, interconnection, and oneness come alive.

There was another option, to upload a picture, but I didn't think much of it. The most important thing for me was to share those feelings. To say I'm deeply sorry you are hurting and I love you.
Within a couple hours, I was written back, asking for my picture, to place with the post. I feel connected. Its amazing that my words meant something, enough that I'm not simply forgotten. It's not me, per se or "my" words- its just the power of love, Love in service of Itself.

Some people say the world is going to end soon. I think that just the world as we know it will end. The charade of separation is getting too old and painful to continue. Let the veils lift, and may we all see the truth of our ultimate oneness, and live in the harmony of kindness and true love.

I am thinking that I will try reaching out like this more often, whenever the inspiration is present. I have been living a practice of deep honesty for a little while now, which includes sensitive expression of my true thoughts & feelings when appropriate. It's like this wonderful song, the title & artist I do not know, but the refrain is "...and the moment slipped away..." The singer recognizes these outstanding qualities or true bravery in various people throughout the song, but instead of sharing her loving appreciation right then when she is touched by it, see lets it go, and loses the opportunity to express that respect and kindness. Hearing that song for the first time in 2006, the year I first started the studio, moved me to tears. I started then to practice my hardest to not let a moment slip away, to express my loving appreciation, gratitude, admiration and respect right away. Until embracing this practice, I never overtly recognized the power of a smile, thank you, or a truly honest compliment to positively affect someone, to actually brighten their day. A kind word from the heart is so powerful!

Yet, until now this practice has been more focused on people I know face-to-face, although it has transformed the way I interact at all times to some extent.

Now, I will practice this deep honesty in a new way, reaching out beyond "here", inspired by Yoga's wisdom and this very beautiful experience..

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