What if… the 30 million people across the world who practice yoga were really an army, prepared quietly, and even unawares? What if… the 30 million of us who identify as yogis quietly stood up, rooted in the practice, and announced ourselves as Warriors, all around the Earth?
This rage, it has been flickering. Trying to catch hold.
It comes in flashes and licks; like the story I am following of one little white dog, bashed to death in Bali by an Indonesian stall-holder, just because he could, and whose death created a wave of outrage and legal action – by people like you and me – which has changed the course of history of animal protection in this nation. But none of these were yogis.
It comes in lashes and stings; like the conversation I am in this morning, with Australian women (so-called) writers, who are spitting righteous feminist acid all over our forum about hating white men, and scorching out the eyes and voices of any among us who dissent from this simple-minded violence. But the yogis still, have nothing to say, and worse, could even be stirring this pot with their fixation of body, sex and power.
It comes as black: waves of shame and loathing as a resistant dialogue to water war, gender war, beauty wars and the sometimes horrific narcism of the ‘spirituality business’ is rejected as ‘unseemly’, or ‘angry’.
As voices that call for ACTION wrestle the great heavy dream of lethargy and indulgence that have seized my yoga friends, and many of the best among us.
And the yogis, 30 million of them, have nothing yet to say, as a voice, to the world, about anything.
Oh, there’s plenty of ‘wisdom’ getting sold. And plenty of opinions in the scene. But as for action? Community participation? Supporting the actually superior among us who are getting ploughed under rescuing avalanches of animals, forest, rivers, homes… nah… there’s still not a yoga voice being heard.
Not really. Not from any of the 30 million and rising who turn up on the mat.
Shame, frustration, disbelief…. it comes in explosions of red; like the images of Australia, screaming under the hellfire that has broken loose across the land, unleashing an inferno of unspeakable dread and agony.
As HALF A BILLION animals are scorched to death, thousands of men and women volunteer, together, to defend us, while our leaders party in Hawaii… and Australia’s Armageddon has only just begun. And no unified expression of support or even interest there from the millions who call themselves yogis.
This is becoming indefensible. This is becoming INSPIRING!
A weak little voice limps out from the hedge in which it hides in me, chain smoking, biting its fingernails, reading books on How to Break Bad Habits, How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs, and THRIVE!
A weak little voice, which has a small, plump body, and puffy little legs, whimpers out the tired little song it has sung to the millions of yogis it once thought were world-changers, and spiritual crusaders, and better people… and rehashes its old jingle with dry throat and bitter tongue … YOGIS! Let’s UNITE and start pouring the benefits of our practice and its beauty, around us, out into the world.
Then it turns around, like some grumpy old earth god, and stomps back into the magic world we’ve somehow all betrayed on our wayto getting ‘spiritual’.
And the morning roosters yodel, and the yoga show rolls on, and I hop on my cheery red Scoopy, pass bewildered Aussie after Aussie in the streets of Ubud, Bali, and the secret libraries of confusion and sorrow tells it stories in the faces of streetdogs and stallholders, and tourists and taxi drivers alike, as I zoom off to yoga, and feel almost ashamed… because if these people will not lead us – Then Who Will?!
It comes white; like the impotent fury at this cascade of The News: micro and macro, in bodies, homes and nations: our house is on FIRE! And there are those who are stoking it deliberately. And those taking a profit from it. And those hating on each other as the pressure builds, as if it were of any use.
And there are those, most of us, who Do Nothing. But who long for good leadership, and a mission to unite in.
and wasn’t yoga supposed to be that??
~ * ~
Pant. Pant. Pant. My first response is a panic-stricken physical collapse. It’s overwhelm. Impotence. It’s a sickness that sends me back to bed, limping to the shower, stomping uselessly round and round the house. Wondering if I’m actually ill, or delirious. Yes, I understand it – doing nothing.
Huh. Huh. Huh. My second response is fury, misplaced and useless, trying to dialogue online with orks and bullies who thrive on rage and vitriol, and are never going to let go of the rotten bone they’ve grabbed as they project their rage at men, or Trump, or plastic bags, or straws, or some other easy target, as they taste the blood of power in the pack that hunts against itself, instead of turning up with clear ferocity at the forces which divide us.
Yes, I understand it – checking out instead of walking directly toward hate and chaos.
Exhale. My third response is to grab my phone, check the schedule, see if there is a yoga class I can check out in, or smooth out in, or take to cool my jets, steady my focus, maybe cry off the frustration.
Inhale. The room swirls weirdly, I steady myself in sorrow and in fury. I hear the faint sound of a trumpet.
It’s calling all around me – quietly, there’s the summons: there are 30 MILLION OF US IN THIS MOVEMENT!
30 million people available for inspired leadership, just the slightest push of inspiration, waiting to be focused, already signed up to be a part of something different. It’s time to call the yogis.
Will You Ride In And Join The Cause?
I can hear the trumpet – is there anybody out there! – I can hear the trumpet, and the strong clear voice is gently chanting, Now, Here, Yes... if not Now, then When?
This is the time. This is the time for us, every single yogi – to take pride in our practice, to make it something beautiful – and to rise up, rooted, and join the cry for revolution, for a strong, clear movement toward actively supporting Good around the world.
Pick any battle.
Pick any cause.
Pick something bigger than opinion and bitching.
Pick, for god’s sake, something more noble than obsessing over gluten, butt cheeks, botox, handstands, and selling your new workshop on how to be a goddess, or a man, or a bloody shaman.
Learn how to tell the difference between a teacher who is leading you astray, and one who serves your actual empowerment.
Get human. Start there. It’s a hard enough assignment. And not many of the yogis I’m seeing are up to it right now.
Pick a weight that is worthy of your courage. Pick up something heavy, make the world proud to know that there are yogis here among us.
And soon after this triumphant melody has called me, a sick, low voice warns – yes…. but the yoga world has a long way to go in terms of leadership and courage. There’s a spell to be broken. The kingdom is drunk on dreams.
It is drunk on ego, division, rivalry and power. This is the time to break that old shell… to admit we have grown big and powerful enough now not to nurture these divisions. Travel up the spiral, travel toward each other, and ride the other side of the growth curve: collaboration, mutual empowerment, unity and outreach.
I see a glass snowdome, with a paradise inside it, draped in a heavy net of cobwebs…. longing for the hand that will shake it, and bring the magic back to life.
~ * ~
The fury, fear and confusion of a world in chaos sits like a sludge across the throat of society until freak events electrify that overwhelm and create a window for insight, action and adventure.
Entire nations, generations and individual lives can wallow in the sleep of poisoned apples until KAPOW! the kiss of love – or of disaster – wakes the wounded and blazes like a wildfire; casting light across the whole horizon, and calling us to courage and to action.
Blink! Blink Blink! Wake from the itchy nest of our personal suffering, and realise OH MY! Perhaps this is not a biographical thing!? Perhaps it’s all around us!?
First you see your neighbours house, or heart, pricked or scorched by embers of sickness, sorrow, suffering – and you offer them a prayer, perhaps, or you close the curtains and mutter that they should have done better.
You keep your own head high, you shove other people’s issues under the rug, you worry whether your bum looks good in yoga pants. You steady your ship, you detox, re-tox, lose five kilos, maybe chuck a headstand, and walk on… but there! it’s getting harder to glide by, isn’t it?
Because it’s all right there before you… the little dying dog on the street. There! the plastic in the ocean. There! your country on fire. There! some guy beats your best friend. There! the ambient abuse and bullying at work. There! Your sister frames some guy for falsely hitting her. There! Julian Assange. There! Another one gets cancer.
You do more yoga. You turn up the music. You read those books that help you cut out your bad habits – as if they were the problem – instead of the red flags being waved like mad by your own quiet, genius – which is screaming at you!!!!! We Are On The Wrong Track!!!!
You ecstatic dance like there’s no tomorrow, and the world looks on at the yoga community and rightly thinks: what the actual fuck?!
You sniff off those who are looking disheveled in class, you sign up to become a shaman, you do a goddess initiation, you say being spiritual means refusing to deal with negativity, you reckon you’re healing your trauma wounds, but I’m here to tell you – trauma, it is coming!!!
The avalanche will get you, sooner or later….
And that is exactly what Yoga promises.
Because the yoga ethic is NOTHING TO DO WITH ESCAPING the mess.
It is EVERYTHING to do with participation in the inevitable conflict between warring forces of harm-doers and life-defenders, and that chanting shanti shanti is not a bypass, but the anthem of a yoga giant which is fated by grace and mercy to rise up with devotion, courage, strength of will and faith in action – and join the battle.
In the myth, the Bhagavad Gita, the central story of all our yoga, the hero, the yogi, despairs at the turmoil of the world, and wishes to opt out. Right there – that’s the central key of the entire yoga story.
When the Forces of destruction, betrayal, greed, violence and war rise up – even in your own family! and across the field of nation, tribe and planet, the yogi at first refuses to fight.
But the force that inspired him to ever begin with the practice is the force that commands him: just as it commanded Jesus, Apollo, Skywalker, Batman… pick any world-defending hero you like.. the message is to Rise!!
Take Part. Defend. And use the power of the Force, of Fury, of Love, Justice, Mercy, Anger, Courage, Prana.. whatever you’ve got, and GET UP and fight the Dark Side. Because it is truly coming.
~ * ~
It’s coming as a diagnosis, depression, violence, outrage, fire, flood, fists, grief, despair, cruelty, as the great algebra of the human story squares out, and every single one of us, eventually, is dragged into the inevitable realisation that we have come to that great crescendo, which Yoga has predicted.
Because our practice, this could-be great movement, has 30 million of us in its ranks – and our practice, while it gives all those great benefits of sexy abs and butts and outfits, is at core the foundation for Rebellion.
Yoga, even if we don’t yet realise it, or have not been so instructed, if it’s of any real use to us, is the cauldron that rises warriors, leaders, change makers, defectors, courageous people who are fit and clear focused to stand up, ride the chariot, and turn up to fight the tide.
~ * ~
When crisis strikes, its always true that the world has provided a story, a myth, a Way to make sense and move ahead ~ and if you are doing yoga, then you, my friend, are standing already at the arrowhead of one of the greatest stories the world ever gave about how to Take a Stand in times of Fear and Chaos.
You. Are already on the way. Because Yoga stands on the great truth that there will be a time when the humble, the ordinary, the little one finally hears the call of the conch shell, sees the fire on the mount, feels the great trembling, the shudder in the flesh – that the time has come to take a side. That the war, it has arrived.
This is the fundamental truth of yoga. And it’s time to seize that bravely.
The peace path of hiding out in bliss may have been useful, for those who need recovery, reorientation or esteem, these paths of body adoration, masculine healing, the cult of the vagina, and the relationship between yoga and peace are all very well….. (or not)…. but yoga rests on the prediction and instruction for enlightened battle, not for basking in orgies or the sublime.
There are men and women out there, who have nothing to do with the lofty ideals and self care and promise of yoga, who are already at the battlefront – will we let them stand without us? How can we even participate in anything called yoga if we fail to make a move?
It’s time, everywhere, for all of us, rooted in the practice, which gives strength, determination, fitness of body, purpose of mind and a profound library of ethic and courage – to take all of that, and to stand up in Union with the 30 million others, and Do Something – Anything – Together – to participate in change.
~ * ~
My country is on fire. And yours is too. There is no place, no creature, no politic untouched by the rising storm of chaos that is sweeping like the firestorms that have devoured half a billion creatures across Australia, while the government opens its Pandora’s Box of coal, uranium, ore, and sells off the nations water to the highest bidder as the country screams in pain.
America strikes Iran. Julian Assange is tortured to death. I wake up to news that female writers in my nation are bitching about male violence, that people in Ubud, where I live, are wanting to make war on the little fleet of laundromats here, who wrap their washing in plastic bags, that some of my yoga friends are looking good in hot pants, that a team of Bali lawyers have used the death on one white puppy to bring the law down on those who harm animals, and bring an end to the horrific every day violence on living beings on this island.
I wake up to images of men in yellow, volunteering their lives to face off against inferno, of an Indian Australian family standing beside them, offering free curry, and the teams of men flying in from other nations to stand beside my people as their homes are burned, and their horizons scorched by a hellfire never seen on this once was lucky country.
I wake up, to see that human beings everywhere, are mobilising.
Ordinary people are pulling off their bedsheets to Stand. They are converting their fear into action. They are wriggling out of the shock and dread and overwhelm of what is all around us, and they are standing, they are doing, they are turning up to participate, to fight back, to demand change, to defend the voiceless, to overthrow bullies and abusers – at home! if necessary, and out there – in the courts, the supermarkets, the conversation, the ocean, and the apocalyptic theatre that is the very stage that the massive yoga movement stands on – the holy scene of mighty war, that is our Bhagavad Gita.
So, where are we, yogis?
Can’t any of you feel it? Is the trumpet also calling?
Can we take the practice off the mat yet? And join in with firm, clear, unmovable action, united, not just by breath and movement in the postures, but together, outward – with a true, active fierce compassion for the world we live in, and not just for our selves?
IF YOU WANT TO JOIN A 30 MILLION RISING MOVEMENT, OPEN A CONVERSATION, JOIN IN ON YOGA-UNITED ACTION, PLEASE MESSAGE ME HERE, SEND AN EMAIL TO ME AT JADE.GENTLY@GMAIL.COM, NETWORK THE IDEA, AND UNITE AS A TEAM OF US BUILD A PLATFORM TO GET THIS STARTED. IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO ADD PLEASE COMMENT HERE… LET IT BEGIN!
5 thoughts on “30 Million Rising ~ NOW is the time: an open letter to the world’s Yoga Community”
Enlightened battle, indeed. Your words are a brilliant and powerful call to arms. I am ready to roll up my purple mat and lend a graceful hand. Count me in, Jade.
Yes. I hear the call. Have heard it for decades. Yes, it will take milliobs of us. What can we do. I am ready. I am tired of surviving in the rat race, i need my lufe to mean something. I am here to help I just cant seem to figure out how? I feel like I have been preparing for decades. I studied ayurveda I have degrees in environmental science and women’s studies I’ve studied women’s Mysteries and the old ways of healing I know how to grow food and I now have yoga teacher training. The biggest challenge is keeping the daily practice going with everything happening in the world. But I know at a deep level this is all I can do right now and that it is extremely important. I want the sword of My Soul 2 the part of the fight against darkness that is trying to take over what is good and just and beautiful. Please keep me informed if any ideas arise as I am here waiting and ready.
Count me in please
Ellen R: Hi,
Someone in a Kundalini Yoga facebook group shared your article. I wasn’t able to login or comment on the site, so she shared this email.
I’ve been a Kundalini practitioner for 30 years on and off. The last 5 years more on than off. The last few months I finally attained a daily practice, a pillar of my life now.
I like to say I have 4 pillars: Kundalini Yoga, friendships, quantum physics, engagement in world.
NOT necessarily in that order. 🙂
I thot your article expressed an interesting concept, but I don’t think yogis are going to rise up.
But I could be wrong.
So please put me on your list or the community of people who are following this.
I am interested to read response.
For myself, I have no problem being a devoted yogi and an activist.
for example, yesterday I attended a rally saying “No war in Iran”,
and this morning I will perform my sadhana.
So – no conflict to me.
My Kundalini Yoga practice actually helps me keep my sanity in a world gone mad.
thank you for your writing.
Jeannie: I read your article.
Thank you!!! Thank you for saying all the things my heart has been screaming.
Add me to groups, lists, whatever needed for next steps.