Finding my yoga practice in the Zimmerman acquittal

My email New York Times subscription jolted me more awake than my coffee ever could have this morning.
“Zimmerman is acquitted in killing of Trayvon Martin.”

What?
On Facebook I posted:  “My heart is so still it can’t express an emotion. I don’t want to believe this verdict. I really don’t. Not that going to prison would bring Trayvon back. Not that punishing Zimmerman would even feel like justice. The right action wasn’t taken. The right speech was never spoken. The right intention was never achieved. I will work for compassion. I will pray for it. I might need to burn some friggin’ incense and make a sacrifice or something. I wish I was more enlightened and could have no negative emotions toward Zimmerman. But I ain’t there yet in my practice. I know there’s a lot of people even less there than me. So, ya’ll….control yourselves. Cause all I can say is he would probably have been safer in prison.”

As you can see, this case tests my practices to their limits.
I am a Buddhist.
I am a yogi.
I practice and teach tai chi.

I espouse loving kindness, compassion, the universality of our spirits, the ultimate balance in the universe and the impermanence of everything.

But I’m also a woman of African descent born in 1968, the dawning of the fruits from the Civil Rights struggle. Martin Luther’s Kings “I have a dream speech” was the drum beat of my childhood. I was afforded more open doors and opportunities than my parents and ancestors. But I was taught, no matter what, never forget “one drop of blood” makes me still less than a white person.  I know the inhumanity the human race can inflict on one another. And contrary to my Disney upbringing, there isn’t always a happy ending.
Apparently I wanted a “happy ending” in the George Zimmerman trial. My happy ending convicted him. I wanted the bad guy – the person I assigned the role of bad guy – to be punished.  If I inspect my heart, I might even have hoped for him to suffer.

I know this isn’t right. I know it’s not yogic/buddhist of me. I’ve never said I’m perfect. I’m just a practitioner sharing practice with others.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Throughout life people will make you mad
Disrespect you and treat you bad
Let God deal with the things they do
Cause hate in your heart will consume you too — Will Smith[/quote]

Hate.

Demonizing Zimmerman won’t serve anything. Wishing him ill will only consume me. The yamas teach me ahimsa, non-violence. In Buddhism it’s metta. We are to inflict no injury or harm to others in thought, word or deed.

In this article, “The Yamas: Ahimsa as loving kindness”, the author writes: “When your practice of ahimsa becomes your nature; when it guides your thoughts towards yourself and others, your words, and your actions, you become a power of peace. You create a vibration of life enhancing harmony that affects the world around you.”
I sat in meditation and imagined Zimmerman as a pure spirit. A living being just like me. I imagined that he and Trayvon and I were the same. I spent time allowing myself to feel the fear and desperation of Zimmerman, from that night and even today. He has to be lonely and afraid. His life can never be free. He is marked and condemned by so many. For that I find compassion and sadness.

Remorse.

I don’t believe I’ve seen any expression of remorse by Zimmerman to my satisfaction. I’ve got to work through that. I must visualize sending love to Zimmerman’s heart and send love to Trayvon for all of us. All life is precious. I pray on this precious human existence. This existence allows us to explore spirit and connect with the divine. I must use every  opportunity to practice that appreciation.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Yoga is 99 percent practice, 1 percent theory[/quote]

I am grateful for my practices. They are keeping me grounded today, a day where I could be filled with anger and disappointment. I’m not saying it’s easy. I slip up in my thoughts and emotions. But it’s a mindful practice. When I notice the slip-ups, I notice it and reset the clock. Mindful. Practice.

Life.

In the midst of all this yesterday, my friend Sozi’s aunt passed away and his wife gave birth to a baby girl. The cycle of life continues and helps us keep our perspective.

Sozi posted: While we ponder the meaning of the Zimmerman verdict — and there is PLENTY to weigh — let us reflect even momentarily on the real, tangible, indescribable pain the Martin family is going through. Before this story became about race, America, and stereotypes, it was about two parents hearing the worst news any parent can hear — that your child was killed. I am overcome with nausea as I think of ever being in the same position for any of my three kids. And now, on July 13, 2013, they learn that the killer has been acquitted. Should he have? Was the evidence strong enough? What about the lesser-included charge? There are a lot of questions to mull over. But whether you agree or disagree with the outcome, please think about the Martins when you pontificate about the meaning of the verdict. That’s all I have been thinking about, which is weird because I am usually the first to examine the most infinitesimal detail about criminal trials, not surprisingly since I do this for a living. I will gingerly step down from my pedestal and go to sleep to get ready to welcome Zolana and Meriel home from the hospital.”

Even one of the Trayvon pages I follow sent out a positive message.

Justice for Trayvon Martin: 9 months from now, I want to see thousands of babies named Trayvon born. Only love can conquer hate. We will endure and we shall overcome.

And lastly, this was shared by a yogi friend, Kintla Yoga.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. 
~Mother Teresa

Namaste

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