Last week I chose not to read details of the state of the environment, the financial markets, the wars, the budget, etc, etc. I knew from reading emails requesting political action and contributions general information, including what happened in the special elections, the actions in the Senate on financial regulatory reform, and the aftermath of the oil leak in the Gulf. Now it is Monday morning, and I am back.
As I saved for later the reference to this talk on derivatives, I thought about John Friend having said at a retreat several years ago that we should take the time to read the parts of the newspaper that do not directly interest us as yogis. He suggested that we should take the time to read news about finances, politics, and global affairs. I remember thinking at the time that since I already read that part of the news with engagement, I’d have to start reading the sections about sports, television, and cars. I actually try to do the latter on occasion, just to better understand those around me.
If we are to live in the world, we need to try and appreciate what motivates and impassions those around us, whether we agree with them on the surface or not. It is easy enough to say we should love everyone regardless of who they are and to do so at a very abstract level. The challenge is finding a loving space when we know the details, and we believe that the details point to a life that is not being lived in accordance with our ethics, our own surface wants, or how we envision the world. When we have a broader understanding of the details of why people believe and act a certain way, though, sometimes it is then easier to find compassion and commonality, because we start to understand that the different details come from the same elemental yearnings for worthiness, empowerment, and love.