Nowadays there are many indicators showing that humanity, interacting with the outside world, by its actions sometimes harms nature, which subsequently affects each of us. The modern way of thinking and human behavior is not always appropriate. In order not to harm the world around us with our actions, emotions, thoughts, humanity must change its attitude towards it. What can we do to make this change happen? How can we make life of all living beings happier and more harmonious? What recommendations in this matter can the teachings of yoga give?
Problems of modern society
Humanity is constantly in search of solutions to global problems that arise in various spheres of life. Among them: bad ecology, wars, lack of vital resources, lack of understanding each other, etc. Some say that it is necessary to restore justice by force, administer justice and punish the guilty. Others believe that we do not need to do anything, everything will work out by itself. But both are extremes, and extremes, according to yoga, are an ineffective way of solving any problems. After all, extremes are bound to arise conflicts from small, local, to large-scale!
Macro and microcosm
However, humanity is a single organism in which we are all interconnected. Everything that happens in society necessarily affects each of us, and what happens to each of us sooner or later will affect society as a whole. Therefore, if we enter into conflicts, we harm not only the world around us, but also ourselves. At the same time, if you let everything go by itself and go with the flow, hoping that over time the problem will be resolved by itself, it can drag on for many years.
The initial cause of all global problems
At first glance, there may be many reasons for all our problems. However, according to yoga, they all come down to one primordial thing which is ignorance! In fact, all living beings strive for only one goal — unconditional freedom and happiness! However, we all often, due to a misunderstanding of where the source of our freedom and happiness is, tend to make key mistakes on the way to our goal. We expect that certain actions or objects will help us achieve what we want faster, and we are disappointed when, after achieving the result, this does not happen.
Sometimes we believe that we become happier when we acquire material goods, gain power, and experience sensual pleasures. In fact, all these are only external keys that open the pleasure and happiness that is within us, or rather, within our Higher Self. Not realizing this truth, we are forced to run for illusory happiness forever, constantly faced with expectations and disappointments, fighting for a place in the sun. It is like drinking salt water: the thirst will only get worse.
Each person, of course, requires certain conditions to live. We need clean, warm housing, enough food and clothing. However, not as much as it sometimes seems under the influence of advertising of a lifestyle overly saturated with comforts and pleasures. The consumer society is generated of our selfishness, fear, and greed. In such a social model of behavior, we all become more interdependent on each other’s opinions.
How to solve these problems?
By developing spiritually and following the path of self-knowledge, we gain the ability to realize the inner source of happiness and perceive external objects as auxiliary keys. Therefore, we become freeer from obsessive desires, acquisitions, and from other people.
Yoga teaches us that happiness does not depend on external stimuli and on other people. All pleasure and happiness are within ourselves. The more relevant information about this we have, the more likely it is that many people will reflect on their lifestyle and its consequences for everyone around them.
There is a type of Yoga called Maha yoga – “spreading spiritual knowledge”. A person strives for the truth only after learning about the power of true knowledge, only after being convinced of its effectiveness. Therefore, the dissemination of this knowledge is extremely important. Only this kind of charity (or compassion) will give a lasting result. Even if you give food to a hungry person, in half a day they will be hungry again. If you give them money, it will run out quickly. But if you inspire them to enter the spiritual path, if you give them the knowledge of this path, you will give them something of unchangeable value, with which they can quench their thirst once and for all. They will be able to reach the Highest and enjoy eternal satisfaction and unspeakable bliss.
“The widest dissemination of spiritual knowledge should take place so that the world will move away from the path of vice, from death and destruction, in order to save humanity in time from the impending disaster of self-destruction, to which it is heading.” Swami Sivananda
The Power of Desire
The world in which we live is perceived by most people purely from a material point of view, considering as real only what can be seen and felt physically. You can often hear statements about the uselessness and needlessness of thinking about the meaning and goals of life. Many deny the power of thoughts and words. However, if we follow the logic, we will come to the conclusion that everything begins with desire. And our desires are very often imposed on us from the outside. Therefore, you should very carefully monitor the flow of incoming information.
“Desire stimulates thought, thought is expressed in terms of action. Action weaves the canvas of fate! If you want to improve your actions, clear your thoughts. Thoughts are the main source of your good mood. Thoughts are the building blocks of your personality. The world around you is a reflection of your thoughts.” Shivananada
It is important for everyone to personally develop spiritually, which will help to be less involved in destructive activities, and at the same time, you should try to convey to others the right thoughts, spreading knowledge about the right way of life. The right lifestyle means not wasting time and energy on fleeting pleasures, which ultimately bring disappointment and suffering, but paying attention to those activities that lead to happiness in the long term and strive not to harm anyone.
Author of the article: Andrey Medin
Editors: Evgenia Agni, Yulia Volievskaya, Mirra, Eva Rati, Olga Belous
Project curator: Kerigona
Translated: Elena Samma, Larisa Skibina, Tatiana Sugrue, Nat Satcitananda