There were lots of images of Hanuman around where we were in the hills. I come home after this long break–far enough away and for a long enough time to be able to gain perspective–and think, given that I have dedicated most of my career to public service, about how the myth of Hanuman may inform my ongoing contemplation at this time in my life and in this socio-political climate of how I can best contribute and participate.
Hanuman is the faithful servant; I think that one aspect of his story is that in being true to Rama, he is being true to dharma, to law and culture. In loving and protecting Sita, he is recognizing nature. Only when he is acting in service to them and others can he access his true powers (siddhis).
Last week, a co-worker stopped by my office to chat. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to current affairs, and I voiced my every day growing anger and grief and disgust and commitment to seek more ways to have positive impact. My co-worker essentially responded that as a yoga teacher, she thought I ought to know that I shouldn’t get so upset, things weren’t so bad.
As should not be surprising to those who know me or practice yoga with me or read what I post on social media that I explained that my yoga calls for lucid and engaged citizenship and not escape from challenges and difficult emotions. My co-worker demurred, still wanting her own comfortable silence.
The fateful weekend passed. When I returned to the office this week, I found a note and a cookie on my desk. The note basically said, wow, Charlottesville, I hope you’re feeling ok, I thought you might like a cookie. Without addressing the substance of the note, (my own conflict aversion coming to the fore or perhaps my sense that in this case there was little point in pursuing the conversation further and my co-worker has been a pleasant colleague ), when emailing about another matter, I said merely thank you for the cookie.
I’d thought that would be the end of it, but my co-worker then stopped by to thank me for saying thanks for the cookie, I no longer restrained myself from passionately though tolerably politely articulating what I really thought, including what a privilege it is to be able to have a bakery cookie whether for hunger or comfort.
I can relate to wanting everything to be ok, and I’m really glad I have plenty of food and a comfortable home, but I also believe that with my privilege comes great responsibility, now even more than ever. I seek to be more aware not less. What about you?