Practicing namaste during election time

As the United States Federal elections approach labels are flying around. The contest is being framed as just that–a contest–with emphasis on winning and losing, and more disturbingly, “us versus them,” which is coming from both political parties.

It is right to be educated on the issues and to care about the outcome. It is right to show compassion for others and to care that people in need get assistance. It’s easy to get angry. I have found myself infuriated at times, and have needed to step back and observe my reaction.

The challenge is to not get caught up in the hatred, and in the labeling. It is difficult because there are strong sentiments of greed and bigotry in the dialogue. There is lots of labeling, which according to the teaching of yoga, is untrue. People are more than a set of labels.

My challenge to you, and to myself of course, is to try to practice the essence of the word “namaste” during this process. Remember that inside of everyone there is a common essence–you can think of it as a universal spirit, our shared humanity, or simply shared DNA.

Before engaging in debate, try for one minute to see inside someone with different views and try to find some sense of shared humanity or shared spirit. Work from the very basic level of “namaste.” If you can start from there, from a point where we all share a common essence, then maybe you can figure out some shared values and concerns. Or maybe you can recognize that many people are operating from a place of deep-seeded fear, and that the fear is manifesting in misguided, and rightfully objectionable ways such as prejudice.

I am not suggesting in any way that you will be able to persuade someone who disagrees with you. Instead, I am offering that you can maintain your emotional balance during this time by literally seeing through or seeing inside someone else and to perhaps even develop a sense of compassion. Again, I’m not suggesting you change your positions but to try and find for yourself a way to still recognize the humanity in others, and to rise above some of the ugliness we’ve seen so far.

Good luck and namaste,



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