As I was working out at RallySport last week, I saw a news story about yet another person who entered a school with a gun and a lot of ammunition intent on killing a bunch of kids and himself. Then I didn’t hear anything else about it, until I saw a story on-line about the woman in the office of the school who apparently talked this gunman out of completing his intended acts. I watched a 15 minute video of her explaining what went on in her head, how she related to him, and what she said. I was so intrigued because I often wonder how I would react if I found myself in a similar situation.
Two things stood out for me in this video. The first was that she remembered a teaching from her church to “anchor yourself in God.” And second, she said she saw herself and her own children in this disturbed young man preparing to do so much harm. She watched him load his gun, and he even fired some shots near her. She just keep talking to him, connecting with him, reminding him of a greater part of himself.
This woman is a hero to me, and her actions are an example of courage and grace. They are also an example of how I see yoga working. She anchored herself in Source and remembered that underneath our skin, underneath our actions, we all come from that same Source.
Her words and actions remind me very much of a teaching from the Yoga Sutras that lists qualities to cultivate on the path of yoga including shraddha, virya, and smriti. Shraddha is faith, and virya is strength, and she exemplified both of these with her steadfast determination to anchor herself in God. And she remembered (smriti). She remembered her own challenges, and those of her children. She remembered to anchor herself in something greater. She remembered that the divine manifests in many different ways, including her own disabled child, and this disturbed young man.
Her actions reminded me why both the teachings/philosophy of yoga and the practice are so important for how we meet challenges in our lives. Her actions reminded me that the path of yoga I prefer is about both anchoring ourselves in the Divine and seeing the divine in others. And further, that anchoring allows us to continue to refine our understanding and act in ways that create more beauty and harmony in the world, rather than more death and destruction. In this way, each of us can be a hero in our own lives.
Sit quietly and ask yourself: what do I anchor myself in? How do I anchor myself?
Allow yourself to sit with these questions for a few moments, then journal about it.