On Integrity and Forgiveness

  Integrity has always been a quality I value  most and that I try to keep as much as I can.  In the past couple of weeks, however I feel like I have been tested on it. We all have values in which we base our moral guidelines or honour codes we follow. Ideally as we become more conscious, we discover these truths, guidelines or honour codes as they appear more from within, from our spirit, and less from social conditions. To me integrity means adhering to these guidelines no matter what. Each time we discover one of these sacred truths we make a commitment with ourselves,  with our spirit and each time we fail we are only failing and damaging our most important relationship, the one with our spirit. In the Ashtanga Yoga  tradition these guidelines come in the form of what we call Yamas and Niyamas. Also that's why the concept of Sadhana is crucial to success in any spiritual practice. The commitment of daily practice no matter what is, again,  done with our spirit. One of these truths I try to follow is seeing all beings as one and loving all unconditionally. And this is the one I'm usually tested the most on. See, the thing is, it is very easy to say we love all and one. Sounds great as an idea. But in the real world,  when we feel betrayed by someone we love the easiest reaction is anger or hatred. The problem here is that this goes against the sacred truth that we are all one and thus we should love each other the same, without conditions. And whenever we get angry at someone or pretend hating someone, we are just hurting ourselves. Here is where forgiveness comes in to save the day. It is not easy though, because forgiving means opening up again to being hurt. Becoming vulnerable. We are so silly that we don't realise that after forgiveness being hurt is just a possibility but without it hurting and suffering become constants. [caption id="attachment_209" align="alignright" width="336"] "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." - Mark Twain[/caption] Forgiving someone doesn't mean coming back to a failed relationship or hanging out with someone that may or may not hurt you no matter what. Forgiving happens and stays within. It is self love and self respect healing you from inside. It has taken me…

Namaste Madiba

To me,this week has been emotional to say the least. As I learned last week about Nelson Mandela’s fragile condition I remembered his book “ Long Walk To Freedom” and how it impacted my life ever since I read it a few years ago. As I reminisce on those pages today, the words take on a different meaning. Perhaps because now I am reading them as a Yogi and not just an admirer of the revolutionary (which I still am). This week I have been letting Mandela and his life inspire my practice on and off the mat. I have been reading his quotes in my classes and I have been hoping for him to either recover or leave his body in the most peaceful and dignified manner Mandela’s story is one of the most remarkable and multifaceted ones of our time. It is one of a young boy who came from a little rural town to become the first elected president of his Nation. It is also the story of a man who wouldn’t give up his beliefs of freedom and equality for all even if he had to sacrifice his family, his friends and his life. It is a tale of endurance and an example of how far can the human spirit go even when the body has been imprisoned and mistreated. But most importantly, I think, it is a story of transformation and humility. Most people know Mandela’s story. His 27 years long ordeal in prison and his coming to presidency and efforts in uniting a very segregated South Africa. What many tend to forget is that just before being imprisoned, and tired of the slow achievements of his movement, he created and lead the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or "Spear of the Nation." The MK was the violent, militarized wing of the African National Congress. He was responsible a few bombings, for organizing violent resistance and planning guerrilla warfare. However he wasn’t able to fulfill most of this plans as he was imprisoned in 1962. This is where, to me, the most inspiring part of Mandela’s story takes place. Something amazing happened to him in prison. He transformed. He changed from deep within. He turned resentment, bitterness and maybe even hatred into forgiveness. He changed violent revolution for peaceful resistance. He chose the path of Love. Some of the most remembered of Mandela’s tales take place…