And I know this is just one of the myriad destructive effects of living in an industrialized capitalist society. It seems like the majority of us are quiet or willfully ignorant about the effects of our way of life. As long as we are provided with comforts distracting enough, we can ignore environmental destruction and the deaths of many creatures. Life is for the living, right? And beings have been dying for as long as life has been living. So what's the big deal?
The big deal to me is that as a group we are so powerful and cause so much destruction without much opportunity as individuals to cognize the effects our actions as a group. And I get the sense that the people who make decisions that create these catastrophic effects are primarily concerned with profits, because it seems that money provides the structure of our society and money provides lavish comforts for individual decision makers and shareholders of companies.
What if we had to process our own household trash? Can you imagine? I wouldn't know where to begin if I had to do that. So I put my trash in the trash can. And where does it go from there? This is just personal waste. Then there is the problem of industrial waste, and all the byproducts of manufacturing processes.
I have an idealistic notion lurking in the background of my actions as a yoga teacher that relates. What if we can come into greater conscious awareness of ourselves as a group through the practice of yoga? What if?? Am I in fantasy-land? I usually want to avoid "what ifs" because they seem like colossal time-wasters. But in this case I am allowing it. The "known things" in this picture aren't enough. I know I buy food from the store, and that what I don't use, I "throw away" either in short order or some time later.
But, then there are also agricultural wastes that run into the Gulf of Mexico and other waters, and render that area uninhabitable for some time. Am I responsible for this because I shop at a store? As a group of consumers of these products we are responsible, but at a personal level we tend to be oblivious of the effects.
So big changes are called for, and I don't know exactly what they are. I have been suspicious of joining groups, but it's clear to me that a group awareness leading to group action is required. Those who make industrial decisions are polluting our world, and charging us for it. And what we get is comfort. But I don't think that we can really see the full costs of this "comfort."
I just hope that yoga doesn't just provide another form of escape from a world that is calling for action. Yoga practice can be used as an escape, and I hope we can come around to an understanding of it as a group that will help us to see clearly together so we can make a real difference. Yoga can be a part of a solution that will heal our hearts and embolden us to take what might be the tough steps needed to heal our world.