There is something about love that seems to be ignored; personally, I believe that we can’t truly love (or have love) if we don’t also have compassion and the ability to empathize with others in equal measure. Peace of heart requires that we both know and experience love deeply and right now we seem to be living in a society in which we have to fight for every ounce of love that is available to us. (Sigh…)
The good news is that there are beautiful practices being implemented in the revolution against allowing others to strip our love(s) away from us. Born out of the hope to end a pattern of bullying and isolation, acts and feelings that we know lessen a student’s ability to learn and perhaps live their life, came the buddy bench. The young man who brought the buddy bench idea to his school was inspired by practices from other countries to create a safe place for students to find a friend with whom to play. And, this is just one example of demonstrating loving kindness on a macro-level within their school community.
Love comes in so many forms: familial, friendship, romantic and self, but what about love for the community? We’ve mentioned it before, but with recent events across my home state of Minnesota, both happy and devastating, and last week’s International Yoga Day festivities, it seems as good a time as any to bring it up again… Loka samastah sukhino bhavantu, is a mantra, a sacred sound repeated by a person to achieve something, which expresses a hope that all beings everywhere know and experience peace and harmony, and that we (as the individual repeating the mantra) contribute to that peace.
The buddy bench is a perfect example of this concept, see a kiddo sitting alone and ask them to play. It’s incredibly simple, and it’s just one of the many ways this country’s next generation is showing they care, in spite of the example adults these days are setting for them. Although this is an awesome step, it takes so much more effort to create a peaceful and harmonious world: we have to begin living lovingly towards all of the people we encounter, not just other students on the playground. We need to have tough discussions about some of the bad things that happen, why they happen and what we can do to make it better the next time. We also, have to celebrate even bigger when something beautiful happens, and all beings are accepted for exactly who they are.
Yoga teaches us to be accepting; it teaches us to love one another and to work to always hold kindness in our hearts. It does so by first teaching us to feel safe and supported, and then by finding the confidence needed to know that we are good enough just as we are. Then, we can know that others are good enough as they are ultimately teaching us to stop the judgment and simply find peace. We love you; now, go and spread that love, make a new friend or hold the door for someone, it doesn’t matter the size of the gesture because each act of kindness helps us all grow.