Applying Patanjali to Politics
Given the imminent presidential election and corresponding Party Convention politics, I felt it might be useful to examine the process of voting and national governance in light of spiritual principles; in this case the Yamas and Niyamas which Patanjali codified in his Yoga Sutras. The same kind of ethical application could be derived from any legitimate religion because Truth is universal, but, as a yogi I’m familiar with this material and present it accordingly.
First, it’s always important to live spiritual principles; not merely because they’re said to be right but because they represent alignment with eternal cosmic laws and their fruit, righteousness and harmony. To cooperate with Spirit is to foster good in every avenue of life. To fudge in this regard, or cherry pick when to do so, leads to imbalance in direct proportion to the breech made. That said, spiritual laws can be unrealistically applied so must be tempered with wisdom to be efficacious. As Paramhansa Yogananda stated, “If a lower duty conflicts with a higher duty, it ceases to be a duty.” Balance in life is necessary; wise discernment is required to exercise it correctly.
Secondly, we must recognize that there is a primary purpose in life: To realize God. Everything that brings us closer to this goal is movement in the right direction, both for personal soul evolution and larger societal benefit. Anything that opposes this is a misstep reinforcing delusive separation from Source which reduces people and nations to myopic, materialistic limitation. Keeping this in mind, we should analyze how politicians consider and apply High Precepts in action or intent. Bear in mind, we live in a complex world of diverse interests and global players that are not necessarily nice. All countries tend to be amoral with self-interest at heart. It would be foolish, then, to cuddle a wild tiger and not expect to get eaten. We must operate with eyes and heart wide open, and rationality fully engaged. If certain forms of perceived largess actually serve the greater good, bravo. If they merely sound poignant but cleverly veil attempts at managing perceptions or socially engineer agendas which twist facts or subvert national security, one must refrain from supporting such things. Impersonality in these matters – not emotionally untempered passion – becomes critical when weighing complex decisions and agendas. This is not heartlessness but, rather, clarity. It requires dispassion to remove egotistical preferences from situational analysis so that best practices may be realized and applied in any given context.
That said, I invite readers to review the following principles and ask themselves, “Does my candidate act on these virtues or strive to do so?” Weigh your assessment with impartial candor and, if uncertain, meditate. Seek guidance from the Universal Intelligence within. Become still in heart and mind and, when stable in quietude, present your quandary before the intuitive radar of the heart. Feel its response, heed its counsel, act accordingly, and you’ll be guided rightly.
Do not harm any living thing, physically, emotionally, or mentally. Overcome tendencies to even wish harm.
Be truthful; never falsify or intend to deceive. Accept things as they are, not as wished for. Exercise self-honesty and recognize that Truth is reality which may present itself through multiple lens.
Do not take, or even wish for, that which is not yours – materially or immaterially. See all creation as part of your Greater Self.
Regulate sensory activity. Do not dissipate moral resources for faulty returns. Govern the senses to develop refined Self-awareness.
Release attachments; act selflessly without fixation on personal acquisition or public recognition.
Practice purity of body, mind, heart, speech, motive, consciousness, and environment.
Accept things as they are and cultivate emotional serenity based on inner virtue.
Practice purposeful self-discipline. Master likes, dislikes, and energy expenditure for highest attainment.
Practice objective self-assessment; eliminate delusive notions about oneself. Realize your, and everyone’s, smallness and greatness.
Act to the best of your ability yet simultaneously acknowledge and surrender to the Divine; cultivate humility by eliminating self-importance.
We live in an era rife with upheaval as older-age consciousness clashes with realizations arising from evolving planetary unfoldment. Though some may wish to do so, we simply can’t turn back the wheels of time to periods when ignorance limited Truth to stifled expressions. Many world conflicts depict the death throes of those who reject Bigger Picture realties and clutch at what they see as singularly viable ways of being. But, fortunately, this too must pass. Do your part by praying for peace and acting peacefully. Cultivate understanding and make choices based on intelligence-guided compassionate insight. Remember Spirit in everything and engage politics accordingly.