Pay attention. Awareness. Know thyself. That is all. In my lifetime of study and 8 years teaching yoga, if I were to whittle what yoga means to me and what I teach in each of my classes down to the essence, that would be it.
And in paying attention, so much wisdom is available to us.
Now I go from this philosophical concept to a very real-world, tangible thought:
June 26, 2015 - the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide.
WOW! What a landmark event in American history! Yay US!
This is not what I mean by paying attention... here it is.
Facebook created this splendid little App where all of us could click and change our profile picture to rainbow colors to show our pride in this landmark ruling.
I did it. My friends did it. We all celebrated how our newsfeed was showing up rainbow, how proud we were of this! Yay US! Yay support of all people in LOVE! The world felt GOOD!
Then today, July 1, 2015 - this from the Conservative Post:
Everyone Who Changed Their Facebook Photos To Rainbow Just Got DUPED
Which states that, "Over a million people changed their facebook profile pictures to a rainbow filter in support of gay marriage. New reports reveal that the “Celebrate Pride” tool may not have been the best idea… According to Daily Mail, this tool was actually Facebook’s way of performing psychological testing on their users."
And people are offended by this!
Why be offended? We can only be offended if we aren't Paying Attention.
Facebook is a gigantic social experiment, and it's the largest ever. If I were a social scientist, I'd damn well be using Facebook for research. So for me, it comes as no surprise.
Then the question is, was I harmed in this?
Again, Pay Attention. If I am aware, and if I know myself, then I can easily say, Ahhh, No.
What changing my profile picture did was show my alignment with people of all colors and identities to find, feel and seal the deal of love in whatever way is meaningful to them. What it did was, allow me to see - visually see - my tribe. We are after all a visual culture. Seeing my newsfeed fill up with profile pics decorated in rainbow colors, wow, that was grand!
What it might have done was, piss off a few of the non-supporters, and well, because I Pay Attention, I weighed out the pros and cons of changing my profile picture, and then I made the CONSCIOUS CHOICE to change it, because, well, I want the few non-supporters I know to see clearly that I do not agree with their stance. Not that I wish to cause a debate or alienate them, but I am also not here to please them, to placate their fears. And, I align with equality on all fronts.
In the end, every action has a consequence. The more we Pay Attention, the more we become Aware of the consequences of each action, the more we Know Thyself, the more CONSCIOUS CHOICES we can make. And conscious choices are usually the better choices.
Kristen is the creator of Indieflow Yoga and Yoga For A Cause. She lives and teaches in Denver, Colorado