Peace = Patience + Perseverance

Lately, a lot of people have been asking me what I’m doing in India, how long I’m going to stay here, and what my plans are. Especially as I keep falling sick or getting hurt.

My answer is usually standard: I’m here until God takes me elsewhere.

I’d love to go all around the world. And I have a plan to make it happen. I just don’t know when it will happen.

It could be frustrating, but over time, I’ve learned to let go.

Part of yoga is to persevere and overcome the obstacles in one’s path to samadhi (nirvana/ enlightenment). You might not get the asana perfectly the first time you try it. You might not even understand what to do.

In the peace field, one must also persevere, struggling to get the message across. The first try, we may not succeed; but as the old adage goes, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. When in the field, the peace worker may not know how to proceed in a new environment. Yet trying is what makes success. Without trying, there is no possibility for achieving the goal of peace.

A yoga practice requires the cultivation of dedication in order to bear fruit. In a similar manner, peace does not happen overnight. Palestinians, Kashmiris, and Tibetans have been fighting for it for generations. More recently, the Occupy protests have stirred an uprising in the working and middle classes. Their causes will not bear fruit in just one day. It takes time for each party to recognize other perspectives, time to come to the table, and time to create alternative methods and transform the issue.

Patience and perseverance are required for peace.

Maybe it seems like I’m not doing much. Not earning much, not giving back much.

What I have done is learn: I’ve learned patience in my project processes; perseverance in the projects; and patience with myself. The Dalai Lama says “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

I’ve learned to be compassionate with myself, no longer beating myself over not having the job or career of my dreams, not being able to navigate in this new country, and not being able to affect the lives of those in need.

I’ve given myself the opportunity to reflect on my own self, understand my obstacles to samadhi, and begun to make small changes to my life. I’ve given myself the opportunity to observe others, and learn from them, appreciating their ways.

I know that if I try, and try again, persevering, eventually, with patience, my dreams of peace and Yoga for Peace** will come true.

**Yoga for Peace is a 10- 15 session course offered to students in universities around the world in peace, conflict, and development programs. Yoga for Peace also goes to NGOs and other organizations in need. To learn more, contact me!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy Van Pelt
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 02:57:44

    Sowmya, what a pleasure to read your post this morning. It has been a gift to contemplate on compassion and peace and your ‘letting go’– even before my coffee is done brewing!
    Peace, Nancy


    Nov 08, 2011 @ 02:59:04

    Good one!!


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