Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
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Monday, 27 February 2012

Stormy Weather: Politics and the Yoga of Speaking Out

We had a bit of a winter storm this weekend, our first of the season.  It's rare to have this mild a winter.  The snow is a late reminder of how things usually are before we head into spring.

There's another storm brewing across the land, a storm over election politics, which is looking to be dirty and ugly.  I don't often discuss politics here because it's not the intention of this blog, but I've decided that, if I'm attempting to walk the yoga path, I have to speak up because this particular political scandal strikes at the core of the voting process: our right to vote freely, without harassment, threats or deceit. Not speaking would imply I am indifferent to what has occurred or, worse yet, that I condone it.

During the last federal election campaign in 2011, people in several ridings--the count is up to 28 or so--received electronic calls purportedly from Elections Canada telling people of poll changes and directing these voters to other polls.  The problem?  The calls did not come from Elections Canada; there were no such poll changes. Worse yet, there are now claims that voters in some ridings received harassing, insulting calls from people claiming to be from the Liberal Party.  (This begs the question: why would a political party looking for your support harass and insult you?) 

These are not minor matters.  Such actions are election tampering and fraud, things we claim to abhor when they occur in other countries.  They're akin to stuffing ballot boxes, more sophisticated than threatening people at the polls, but with the same intent. They're illegal and immoral. Whether they affected the election outcome or not, they involve a mindset in which winning is everything, the ends justify the means and opposition is an evil enemy to be overcome in any way.  It's a rare, rare day when I agree with columnist Andrew Coyne, but he expresses the problem well in an article for the National Post.  (Click on his name for a link to the article.)

When we walk the yoga path, we do our best to practice ahimsa (non-harming), self-restraint, non-stealing and truthfulness in everything we do.  We don't always succeed; in fact, we may fail repeatedly, but the effort is always there.  It seems to me that there are many people who could use some yoga practice now. 


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