My March Newsletter
Table of contents
Namaste and Shalom to All!
I want to devote this newsletter to a topic that may appear to some as not entirely related to yoga, yet, yoga pertains to all aspects of our life and can and should be practiced in any situation, especially in challenging and difficult times. The great yogi Mahatma Gandhi taught us that yogis can be involved in politics without compromising their yogic values and goals.
Why our democracy is in Danger?
Here in Israel, we are facing a very critical and dangerous era. We are experiencing a government coup that is tearing our people apart. The new government, in office for merely two months, is trying to pass laws that will strip our supreme court from its powers. They propose that a simple majority of 61 parliament members (out of 120; the coalition has 64) is all that will be needed to change Israel’s basic laws. This will provide the government with unlimited, uncontrolled powers and will effectively eradicate Israel’s democracy. This is threatening Israel’s security, economy, and stability.
Yogis protest in a demonstration in Tel-Aviv
Here is more information about Israel’s situation which I recommend viewing:
Or reading this BBC article.
Since the coalition includes extreme religious parties, there is also the threat that our country will turn into a theocracy, much like Iran, which will result in denouncing the rights of women and the LGBT community.
Facing such a government – that wants absolute power to rule, discriminate and depress, we need to ask ourselves what is the appropriate yogic response. How can we handle the difficult emotions we experience, without violating our yogic values and conduct?
Don't miss Eyal's online courses...
A Yogic Non-Violent Resistance
In sutra I.33 Patanjali provides us with guidance on the yogic qualities (Brahmaviharas) that are relevant when facing different types of people. Of the four qualities he notes (Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, Upeksha), the last one, Upeshka, is the most relevant to the situation we are facing. Upeksha means keeping peace of mind, even while facing evil, violent and cruel actions.
This doesn’t mean one has to accept the violence and abuse! On the contrary, yogis must conjure
all their powers to stop injustice, aggression and abuse, – but they should do so without developing anger or hatred. The Buddha said: “Hate has never driven out hate, only love can drive out hate.” The Dalai Lama said, “The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.” This is also true in the Jewish tradition, which notes “A true hero is one who conquers his impulses”.
Can we stand firmly to protect justice and object prejudice, and, at the same time, be open to listen to views different than ours? Do we hate people just because they don’t share the views?
I have written a message about how to handle difficult emotions in these difficult times.
We are fighting against this coup with all our means; we go out to the streets to protest every Shabbat evening (Saturday) and also during the weekdays. Every week more are joining the protest; last Shabbat, 500,000 Israelis went out to demonstrate (this is more than 5% of the population). We block roads and demonstrate in every corner of our small country. Many people who have voted for this government, are realizing now that this is not the government they wanted, and are joining the struggle. We are determined and we will never, ever, give up our beloved country!
A call for help
However, we need a lot of political and financial support. This fight costs money and requires publicity, we need to transport people from the periphery to the central cities, where the protests occur, and so on. Your help is needed to ensure that the freedom and safety of the only democracy in the Middle East remains intact!
If keeping Israel a democracy is of importance to you, we are asking you to join us in this
struggle, by demonstrating, petitioning, spreading reliable information and donating to this critical cause. If you wish to donate, you can do so by wire transfer to the following bank accounts:
To wire funds into the Middle East Peace Dialogue Network, Inc. account:
Wells Fargo Bank
Middle East Peace Dialogue Network, Inc.
Swift: WFBIUS6S (International Wires)
Bank Address: 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104-1298