Finding something to passionately believe in is indeed daunting, but immensely rewarding. Discover who you are to discover what you passionately believe in.
By guest author Seka Ojdrovic
I was given an amazing Christmas gift this year.
My aunt had taken it on herself to translate from Serbian to English a story written by my grandfather about an experience of his during World War 2.
He and his fellow patriots were told that they would be taken from former Yugoslavia (now Serbia) to Italy to meet up with countrymen and family. Instead, they sent on a train back to Yugoslavia to meet a certain death at the hands of communist Serbs.
The story was about my grandfather’s experience escaping execution. Although I knew how the story would turn out (my existence is evidence that he was successful), I still found my heart beating and my pulse racing as I read what he had to go through – the cruelty of the guards; the struggle to survive on one bowl of cabbage soup daily; the knowledge that your fate was in the hands of someone else.
What resonated with me were my grandfather’s words of enduring faith and hope. What gave him, and his companions, the strength to break free of the march was the hope that he could make a better world for himself and those around him. His Christian beliefs gave him enough spiritual strength to continue to fight, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression.
Which got me thinking… what is it that I believe in enough to die for? Do I know anyone who is so on fire for what they feel is right that they are willing to go out on a limb to share it?
Plant a Seed of Strength
After more than a year of consistent yoga practice, I know that it changes more than just my outward appearance. A seed has been planted in my soul that I’m working at nourishing so that it blossoms into a strong, compassionate flower.
I’ve begun to really question what I hold most important in life. Family. Love. Acceptance. Support. These are all significant on a personal level… but how can I use the strength created by the practice of yoga to reach out to the world around me?
Yoga teaches us that a respect for nature is a respect for God. Yoga also teaches that living a conscious life means taking into consideration how your actions impact others. Since my parents have always instilled an inherent respect for nature, I thought that this would be a good place to start.
Conveying the Message to Others
I recently took a holiday to a beautiful part of the country full of bubbling geysers and natural hot springs. One evening, my partner and I were soaking in a wondrous hot spring set amongst protective trees and happy birds when I saw some people in the same pool playing with glass bottles. At first they were just filling them up with the mineral water and dumping it out, but then I saw them set the bottles loose to float down the stream and litter the water.
Before yoga, I would have been quietly saddened by their disrespect for nature. This time I decided to speak up in the hopes that the understanding of a greater connection could be conveyed to others.
I approached them and asked if they were planning on collecting the bottles later. After many excuses, and a bit of embarrassment on their part, I understood that they weren’t.
“When I see a beautiful place like this, I try to honour it,” I said.
I left it at that.
It was only about an hour later that I saw the group carefully collecting their bottles for disposal before they left the hot spring pool.
We’re all in this Together
Though I will always see myself as a work in progress, I’m taking steps to become stronger in my convictions. For me that means doing my best to live my life as a positive example, although I’m the first to admit that being human means I fail at times. I strive for constant spiritual improvement, and I’m willing to share the enlightenment moments of my journey with others. I’m also interested in learning about what other people go through in helping themselves and others to create a better world.
I’m still not at my grandfather’s level of spiritual strength, but I’m taking steps to get there. He is an inspiration to me in the way he lived his life – not by loudly proclaiming his beliefs to people uninterested in listening, but by quietly living his life with his beliefs at the forefront of his actions.
Practicing yoga draws our focus inward, so it’s our responsibility to truly evaluate what kind of impact we’re making on this planet for however long we’re here. What kind of legacy would I like to leave in my absence?
How about you?