During this year before the election (tomorrow’s the big day!!), I saw a bumper sticker a few times that read, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”  As a yoga practitioner, this gave me pause. I thought about it and observed:  the foundation of the yoga practice is based on just this concept, paying attention.  I spend hours on and off the mat noticing my relationship to postures (some are called, ‘tirangle pose’ and some are called, ‘high gas prices’).  When someone is speaking to me, I make it a point to meet their gaze and listen, training my mind to receive instead of letting it stray into my own responsive thoughts.  I read, watch and listen to the news of the day; I sign petitions and make financial donations; I vote.  Within all of this paying attention, I don’t feel outraged.  True, I don’t like a lot of things that go on day-to-day, sometimes I do attach some emotion to the injustices of the world, I am  human, but I am not livid.  Instead, I find myself accepting; allowing things to be how they are and within that doing all that I can to make the world a little better in my own small way, but I am not angry. 

Adding my own outrage, anger, venom and disdain on top of a situation does nothing to change the situation, but it does add a great deal of stress to my life, AND in fact, uses up valuable energy that I could put toward doing something postitive to change it! 

I think this practice of yoga gives us many tools to stay very aware, pay attention acutely to what is and still maintain a sense of equanimity.  Practicing resting back in this state of awareness does not make you a passive doormat, on the contrary, with your full attention, and with little of it squandered on outrageous reaction, you can do your duty wholeheartedly toward being helpful, as long as you don’t get caught in expectation of the result of those actions.

There’s nothing  wrong with getting riled up about something, many of us are passionate, sometimes zealous about issues.  I guess my question is, does being outraged help us effect change? 

 True ahimsa (non-violence) should mean a complete freedom from ill-will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all.  -Mahatma Ghandi