We recently invited a friend to watch the Election Day results at our apartment. His response was, “No thanks. I’ve been so consumed with the elections and I’m exhausted. It’s out of my control at that point anyway.” This was surprising, coming from the guy who would stand and clap and cheer and cringe and yell and throw punches in the air during the debates, as if it were the Superbowl. This is the guy who spent an entire holiday weekend in Rhode Island writing, performing, and editing a political music video while the rest of us played in the ocean and ate pie. So it goes without saying that he is emotionally invested in this election. I think his response is a powerful lesson in detachment. How often are we able to detach ourselves from our obsessions, the things that consume us? In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali talks about striving for samtosa (contentment), whether we get what we want or not. We are to make our efforts with all good intentions…and then let go of the results. We can control our actions, but we cannot control how they are received in the world. This relationship between effort and surrender seems appropriate for the month of November, in 2008…so vote, and then let it go.
Asana for effort and surrender: Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)