woman in dog pose in a yoga studio

 

“Why is peace unprioritized?”

I shared this question with my current teacher training students over the weekend.  They looked equally appreciative and puzzled.

You would think that the desire to live in harmony would be greater than the urge for affliction.  Yet somehow that does not appear to be the case.

Like many noble pursuits, peace can easily be dismissed as fanciful, a hangover from the counterculture movement, or even a sign of weakness. Peace is not in keeping with the status quo, a tide of stimulation usurp its place.

“Why is that?”

Years ago, when I first met Baba Hari Dass, someone asked him “how to develop personal discipline?”

His response:

“Climbing is hard, slipping is easy.” 

 

The words still ring true decades later and epitomize why peace is not the priority. It takes deliberate effort to develop positive qualities and the temptation to deviate can be strong.

The impulse to be impatient or disregard the needs of the whole may come more habitually and with greater urgency.  It takes far more energy and thoughtful consideration to create a building than it does to destroy it.

In short, cultivating peace requires dedicated self-reflection and effort – to swim against the current shortcomings and climb towards a noble pursuit. And it can be often far more convenient to choose otherwise.

Behold. Another season has come to pass and we now edge into the fall season.

Recently, I’ve been pondering how limitless the Universe truly is; from the quiet life of a small grain of sand to the unspeakable jewel box of stars that shine so freely far off in the heavens. And how water remains so youthful even after millions of years of existence. And how baby turtles brave their way into the sea.

I’ll never meet many of those stars, know the ageless secrets of water, or know the life and death struggle of sea turtles; and yet they are accounted for within the great field of intelligence that unites us all.

Earthly societal woes, fire & health crises can appear with such dire-urgency. Sometimes, if only for a moment, I respectfully recognize them as moments in the colossal history of time, space, name & form.

As humans and as yogis, we’re anointed with the seemingly impossible task of navigating both heaven & earth; loss & gain; suffering & compassion; and the yearnings of the individual with the timeless source of life. The only way out is through.

May we skillfully traverse the hard truths before us and recognize the presence of peace that lies within and beyond it all.