Making Power Choices and Creative Decisions:
How to Navigate in Times of Chaos and Possibility
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health – March 16–18 Friday–Sunday
Why Inner Work Matters
I admit it: I’m a news and politics junkie. And when I’m not reading about present-day fires burning around the world, I am consuming history. I recently finished Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, a collection of interviews of people who experienced life under Stalin and made the transition to life in present-day Russia, by Nobel Prize–winner Svetlana Alexievich. I found it to be incredibly revealing about the inherent paradoxes that drive us as human beings. What is it that we really need? What allows us to find peace? What are we looking for in this physical life of ours—a life that is so temporal, so very brief?
I find insight on these questions in unexpected places. I am fascinated by how our thinking is shaped by history and by the events that unfold around us. All life breathes together. A deep understanding of what is happening in the world today requires diving into the history and consciousness of nations. (And no, I am not going to offer a crash course in Russian history right now—or in my program.) How we think, what drives us, how we interpret current events, how we make our choices—these inner activities determine how we direct our creative power.
In Secondhand Time, those interviewed recall parents or grandparents taken in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. They share memories of waiting in long lines for bread, milk, and meat, only to discover there was nothing left; having to whisper in their own homes for fear they were being bugged; and never knowing who among them might be a spy for the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev’s presidency ushered in what was touted as a new era of freedom and democracy—but, in fact, it unleashed unrest and a new type of corruption: oligarchs, oil, and greed.
Every one of the people interviewed noted that, although the times under Stalin were brutal, they still long to return to those days. Why? Then, as now, they were facing poverty, violence, and government repression—but they also shared a belief and a pride in a collective vision of what their nation stood for. A belief in something greater than themselves mattered the most to their survival. We can endure physical sufferings if the soul is strong and we are sustained by a vision we believe in, a vision greater than ourselves, whether held personally or collectively. Again and again, history tells stories of how people survive through inner resources, which ultimately decay when those values are exchanged for external goods and power.
My counsel to you is to do the inner work. During this era of transformation, as we are co-creating history, we must nurture the substance of the soul: discernment, wisdom, charity, compassion, faith, love, hope. The human spirit thrives on knowing that something greater than itself exists and is intimately involved in the events unfolding on Earth. Never look for proof of that involvement to be logical, reasonable, or just, because that is not how heaven reveals itself. (I will discuss all this at length in my program.) But know that, somehow, in ways mysterious and filled with awe, you matter more than you can comprehend. Your thoughts and choices make a difference in ways you will never understand. One thought—just one—can shift the direction of your life. As creatures of heaven and of history, we must never forget that the riches of the soul are the most precious and powerful jewels in this universe.
Please join me for this life-changing program,