Maitri: An Energetic Action of Peace

In understanding others, we are able to love them based upon the ambitions, desires, and troubles that embody their being. Loving-kindness offers the balance of forgiving faults, backgrounds, and burdens — while embracing the person’s potential with ambitions, desires, and hopes. In this way, we can love those who know not what they do. We can peacefully have a better understanding of how to approach loving-kindness toward those who are not only easy to love, but also those who are difficult or unaware of privilege or how to move it all forward.

Sitting with my own gaps in experience, strengths, weaknesses, delightful parts, and shortcomings is the beginning to embodying peace. When I have a poor self image, I may project this onto others at worst. At best, I have a limited capacity for depth with another human being. In working on myself, I am better able to appreciate and love another person. This is the beginning of all relational experience with the world and why it is so helpful for parents to help children develop healthy self-esteem. A parent’s unconditional love is the first relational experience for babies and children.

It is true that not all of us receive this kind of support in our childhood. This is a reality for some of us. With this experience, we must adapt and be vigilant to procure our own positive mental health and well being. With some time lost, this task may seem insurmountable. However, the great philosopher Lao Tzu teaches us that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Beginning where we are and seeking self-reflection is the most honest and noble act we can make as a human to relate to another. Reconciling past experience and transmuting this into a foundation from which to work allows for deep self-reflective work. Bringing more energy to yourself and those around you to realize positivity and wellness.

This simple act now can help our global community realize what seems to be insurmountable work to recover from the institutional racism and violence toward black lives in America. This simplest of acts is important as we begin discussing these topics with others. Becoming open-hearted and using loving-kindness is the only way to invoke peace as we work together to bring awareness to what is not right in our American culture. Becoming aware of our position in life, be it from a place of privilege or somewhere in between white and black — we can be aware of our personal truth. Understanding our personal truth shapes the perspective on how we can skillfully apply maitri and best advocate or be an ally to the truth that Black Lives Matter. It is not an option to lose traction on bringing awareness to the empathy needed now to help those in power understand this situation. We must move it forward.

Learning what we don’t know expands maitri: empathy of the life experience of another.

Becoming self aware is required before applying new awareness to unlearning known racial bias. This is the first active step in the right direction. The biggest stride forward to complete the process at this time is to actively do more work to learn what we don’t know. The racial biases that we aren’t aware of are the undermining force of the well-intentioned ally.

Institutional racism is multi-generational. It has been developed thoughtfully over lifetimes. As an individual, actionable learning about what we aren’t aware of on a personal level ripples out into our personal worlds, affecting so many. The work to dismantle institutional racism begins with the initial work of self-reflection, unlearning known racial bias, learning what we don’t know about racial bias, and taking steady action to dismantle the systemic leadership that perpetuates the unwell and unwise acts of objectifying others.

Black lives matter and we have this opportunity at this important time to offer continuation of an interrupted movement from the past. It’s time for this generation to ride the global wave of energy to bring this forward on every level until the work is complete. It really begins with one person and there isn’t an easier way to do it. The process can be sped up if many singular persons do the work and ripple the energy out in every direction. It begins with individual shifts.

At this time, I am taking a challenge shared with me by a valued community member and friend. We are reading Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad. In this guide to understanding the social system that I was born into, I am struck by her words:

“Building the racial stamina required to challenge the racist status quo is thus a critical part of our work as white people. Rushing ahead to solutions-especially when we have barely begun to think critically about the problem-bypasses the necessary personal work and reflection and distances us from understanding our own complicity.” — Layla Seed, Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor

I understand that my experience is limited and I have much unlearning and learning to do. Loving-kindness begins with learning what I don’t know. Doing the deep work to keep this moment present in our lives and to not allow lost life to be forgotten. I seek the actions of maitri to move forward the truth that black lives matter for my children, family, and community — beginning with myself.

Originally published at https://www.yoginiprana.live on June 9, 2020.

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Face & Body Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Practitioner helps people beautify their lives from the inside out. Holistic practices to showcase your unique glow