What we do to others, we do to ourselves – April 2021

We are back from Yoga Retreat and went almost straight into the extended effect of the 3 day Greater Brisbane Lockdown. What a week! And all this happening just before the Easter weekend.  The yoga retreat was wonderful: a chance to reflect and take stock of our lives, a chance to have fun and relax with likeminded people, and an opportunity to go into silence. For in silence we learn.

And one of the lessons we took away from our Yoga Retreat was the idea that the best way you can help others is by working on yourself. This is not a new concept and is the foundation of many spiritual traditions: by investing in your self-development, your spiritual growth and your good health, you’ll have lots of time and energy and compassion to help others. In Buddhism this is sometimes referred to as “lighting up your corner of the world”. It refers to the way you can inspire those you meet by the example you set and how this is more powerful than anything else you can do to help others. And unlike the Western focus on personal achievement and material gain, it really means awakening to your true nature and finding true peace within.

A large part of our yoga retreat consisted of breathwork (pranayama). We used the breathwork to manipulate energy around our bodies, to wake up sluggish parts of our bodies and to dip into the silence between the breaths (kumbhaka). According to the yogis the Sacred Space (kumbhaka) is the space between the in-breath and out-breath. The space between breaths is said to be where we enter back into our natural state, where “I” falls away and we exist as “one” with the world around us. We all share the same breath.

Another concept we explored on Yoga retreat was the idea of interconnectedness and our interdependent worlds. We are all woven together deeply, like one great big tapestry. This is even more obvious as we connect to people from distant lands via the internet, truly we are now just a global village. As Chief Seattle stated in 1854:

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

Easter, one of the most sacred of the Christian traditions celebrating the resurrection of Christ, gives all of us a chance to take stock of the year behind, the year ahead and what we would like to change.  A chance to resurrect the kind of life we wish to lead: a life filled with love, forgiveness, gratitude and this growing awareness of our interconnectedness. What we do to others and to Mother Earth, we do to ourselves.  

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