I had just completed a 30-day meditation retreat in Thailand. We spent 16+ hours a day in silence. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life.
Through this experience, I saw deeply that we are perfect, peaceful and courageous people. I knew clearly that we are all made of the same stock.
We are meant to create a peaceful world by slowing down our minds and looking within to see that we are not the confused people that create a confused culture. The mantra I now carry deep within the fabric of my soul is, Peaceful minds = peaceful planet.
"We are the ones we've been waiting for." - Hopi Elder
Then, at a Dallas airport catching a connecting flight, it all came crashing down. You know how airports force you to watch CNN? It's there on a big screen, at every gate, the volume cranked.
That TV screen yelled to us a version of reality that just can't be true.
I cried deeply. I sat balled up in tears, embarrassed for my emotional state but more deeply embarrassed for our culture.
On that screen - in 30-second sound bites - was an on-going report about our confused, depressed, angry and often violent, sick culture. As if I needed to experience this, my next flight was delayed. Story after story droned on.
I kept repeating to myself, "This can't be true. This can't be what our culture is all about. This isn't the reality that I see or want for my kids."
In 24-hour news cycle style, reports blared directly into my newly unearthed peaceful mind that KNEW on a cellular level that we are not only CAPABLE of peace, but that we ARE PEACE.
We are NOT our angry, depressed, stressed minds - that's only confusion covering the reality of our perfection.
We ALL possess a potential that is pure, perfect and peaceful.
The reporters - themselves looking stressed, tense and sickly-pale - spoke quickly and often angrily with a tone of fear in their voice. They told us about wars, political polarization, lack of oil, school shootings, obesity, diabetes, stress, tension, shorter lifespans, addiction, hatred, global warming, poverty, lack, and oh yeah . . . the coming storm that would destroy us all.
I almost dismissed it all as post-retreat overwhelm.
Maybe it's just me being overly sensitive. Maybe that's just "the way the world is." Who am I to question it?
Then the 1999 Columbine shootings. 2001: the World Trade Center bombing. Fast forward years later - me now a father of two sweet little ones - to the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
NO, this is NOT US. This is NOT what OUR culture should do.
We've become numb to the stories of our culture. If you weren't yet numbed to it - like me at the Dallas airport more than 15 years ago - you wouldn't be able to handle it either. You too would be balled up on the floor crying for the culture we have co-created.
Maybe we should be that appalled by the current state of our society. Maybe the problem is that we are not appalled; we are numb.
The good news is over the years, I've formed an alternate view of reality. I've discovered yoga.
And yoga - when unpacked and put into practice on its deepest level - is what will save the world.
Yoga is returning us to sanity. Yoga is the medicine that is curing our sickness.
One by one we are applying and sharing the science of yoga, which is really the science of peace.
One by one we are seeing clearly that our minds were simply confused - like storm clouds covering a crystal clear sky. We are beginning to see that suffering, fear, anger, depression - all the afflictive mental states that come together to co-create this painful CNN reality - are OPTIONAL.
I believe that we'll each come to rest in the deep knowing on a cellular level that we are absolutely perfect peaceful beings. And you know what peaceful minds do?
Peaceful minds create a peaceful planet.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one." - John Lennon