COVID, Creating Awareness, Mindfulness, Overcoming Unconsciousness, Self-Study (Svadhyaya), Sri Swami Satchidananda, Yoga Sutras

Mask or No Mask: Making Peace With Our Differences

Beyond what this next US election will be, we’re stuck with a bigger partisan battle that’s going to be around for quite a while longer….mask vs. no mask! 

For those of us who are siding with science, we might be feeling angry, scared, and vengeful towards those who are defying what the infectious disease experts are advising. 

The longer this pandemic stretches on and cases continue to increase, it seems this animosity is only growing. And what are we doing? By harboring these intense, negative emotions within us aren’t we causing more harm to ourselves than them?

Actually, the ancient text of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali offers some insight on finding compassion for our divergent philosophies. Sutra 2.3 outlines the kleshas (obstacles) to achieving samadhi (a state of oneness). They are: 

“Ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred, and clinging to bodily life are the 5 obstacles.”

Sri Swami Satchidinanda’s translation points out that the order of these is important to notice. 

“…because of ignorance of the Self, egoism comes. Because of egoism, there is attachment to things for the ego’s selfish pleasure. Because sometimes the things we are attached to do not come or are taken away, hatred for those who got in our way comes in.” 

These non-maskers are unaware of their ignorance as they operate at the “I” level and can only think about how they are affected. They’re acting out against federal and local officials because their egoic sense of power is threatened.

Whereas others of us are beyond that, at the “We” level and are able to consider how we contribute to the collective around us. 

In some ways this cognitive agility to understand a communal mindset is outside of some people’s abilities because our dharma (duty) is directly intertwined with the evolution of our awareness. Some people are destined to have a spiritual handicap. 

By realizing that expansion and growth is actually a gift, we can have a sense of empathy for those who are stuck at a low level of consciousness. 

We might feel that we’re protecting ourselves by keeping our defenses up but in fact, we’re causing ourselves extra inflammation that can take a toll on our immune system. It’s within our power to release this philosophical battle in order to prioritize our health.

Please stay safe everyone! Love, EY