Self Reflection and Compassion
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
Race and Inequality
The last couple of weeks have brought to light the deep level of inequality that still exists in our country. My husband said "it's like we've been in the dark for so long and we are finally turning on the lights." The protests and social unrest have made me take a much closer look at my role as a parent, yoga teacher and citizen. How can I help? What are my own biases and prejudices? Is yoga only for the privileged? How do I discuss racism with my children? How can I help create a better world for all children?
I've felt sadness, fear, anger and even hope. Hope that this may the moment that sustainable change happens. At times it feels paralyzing. I'm not sure how to help or where to begin. Nevertheless, I would like to start somewhere. I choose to begin with Svadhyaya or self-study. Syadhyaya is the fourth Niyama which is part of yoga's ethical principles. It means to be introspective and recognize your habits and thought patterns. Through self reflection I am recognizing my own biases, assumptions and limiting beliefs. I am recognizing my own privilege. I grew up Hispanic in Miami, a predominately Hispanic community. I was part of the majority. This gave me an advantage I wasn't even aware of growing up. I didn't have white privilege, but I had many benefits that did not come from my own doing.
I will never understand the pain that the Black community has endured, but still I stand united with them. I am listening with compassion and learning how to support and raise awareness for racial justice. I am educating myself on the history of systemic racism and how it's contributed to a broken system of inequality. I am initiating this dialogue with my family, friends and colleagues. These conversations have been uncomfortable, yet I continue with compassion and empathy. Not everyone is ready to self reflect, nonetheless I am committed to speaking out within my community.
My prayer is that this crack in our foundation will bring sustainable change to our society; lifting up the black community and all victims of inequality. As many of us unite in this movement towards racial equality I pray that together our voices will create a new world for our children. A world where we can all experience the freedom of being ourselves without fear or apologies.