Redefining the “other”

Last week a male yoga teacher posted a blog on Facebook. It started out like this:

How about this vision?
Women have been cowards.
They have sucked the wealth and life-blood out of men to enjoy their baby-making efforts while men went out and did the real work in the world. As those men lived—and when those men died—their wives enjoyed the power and prestige and wealth that these men paid the price in blood for, and they took it heedlessly for their own.
Talk about “entitlement.”

And that was just the beginning. The energy behind the post was frustrated, bottled-up anger. And the responses in the comments of this man’s post yielded frustrated anger.

One of the biggest challenges to remaining balanced are the feelings of being powerless. Feeling powerless can lead to aggression and frustration, or inward withdrawal into depression and victimization. We know we feel powerless anytime we start to point the finger at another.

I’m reminded of the story of the person walking down the sidewalk and noticing a biting, ferocious dog in the path. Upon taking a closer look, the dog actually had its foot caught in a trap. The outward aggression was a product of this dogs pain and powerlessness. Sure we could judge the dog for reacting to pain, but we’d just be hurtling stones at our own selves. Taking a closer look means letting go of our perceived notions of another’s aggression or frustration. It means truly hearing and seeing another’s life experience without judgment.

And this is the first principle of the yamas: ahimsa.