Health And Yoga News Letters

Is Retribution as a Response to Terrorism "Yogic?"
By Sam Dworkis

A personal perspective to the events of September 11, 2001.

As a yoga practitioner for 27 years, I find myself curiously conflicted during these trying times. On one hand, my years of yoga training have taught me to explore spiritual and physical inner peace, tranquility, and good will toward all living things.

Yet since September 11th, I have wanted those who are responsible for such heinous acts of violence to be strongly and decisively punished. On the other hand, as Mahatma Gandhi espoused, I find myself wishing for a non-violet means of seeking resolution to worldwide escalating violence. If it is true that violence begets more violence, is it inconsistent or even wrong of me as one who practices yoga, to seek retribution?

Yoga teaches us how to internally seek balance of body, mind, and spirit; and how to over time, create an awareness of and a movement toward, what can be considered; nature. It's interesting that when left to its own devises, nature over time always seeks "homeostasis," which is defined as: "a movement toward stability when activated by negative stimulus." Said another way, practicing yoga moves one toward homeostasis.

Terrorists attacked not just America, but democracy itself. Their position is clear: They believe there is a worldwide imbalance and have begun a campaign to destabilize democratic society and to swing the economic and social pendulum toward "their" direction.

I am not a student of politics or economics yet it seems to me that a "flexible" population, that within limits allows for its citizens to live their lives as they see fit, is much more yogic than one that is highly punitive and clearly restrictive. Problems created by international terrorism are quickly becoming exponential, masses of people the world over are suffering, and in order for "nature to seek homeostasis," I have come to believe that it is not only "yogic" for a democratic society to use force in combating terrorism; it is essential.

On the other hand, as with yoga, unrestrained force only perpetuates imbalance. My deepest hope is that as the fight against terrorism escalates, just as with yoga, strength used with judicious awareness and mitigated with appropriate sensitivity creates effective change.

I fully recognize that there is a price to pay in fighting terrorism; for me personally, for my immediate community, state and country, and for all civilized people everywhere. However, the alternative of not using force in combating this increasing threat is just too horrific to imagine.

For the uncertainty that faces us in the weeks, months, and years to come; I wish all of us the strength, centeredness, and balance that comes from an appropriate yoga practice.

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Reproduced with permission

Resources: with profound thanks to Sam Dworkis of www.extensionyoga.com.

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