Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton: For the Man Who Inspired

It was very sad to wake up this morning and to learn that Jack Layton, leader of Canada's official opposition party, the NDP, had died from cancer. Even if you are not a party stalwart like myself, no one can take away from the fact that Mr. Layton endevoured to bring about change in this country by championing the causes of families and the working class, pressing for a greener Canada and a general advocate for peace on all levels. For this, whether you agreed with his politics or not, he must be given our respect and gratitude.

Reflecting on one of the reasons I have enrolled in my present Yoga teacher training, it is because I want to be someone who also advocates for peace, social justice and well-being, like Mr. Layton. At times, it feels quite self-indulgent to undertake such things when we live in a world where there are people starving, living in poverty, suffering social injustices and illness. Certainly, giving the tuition I have spent to charity and the amount of time I spend on my mat to volunteering might be more impactful for my community and the greater world. I think on this a lot. In fact, this year I had applied to volunteer with Project Overseas, unsuccessfully, unfortunately, to volunteer as a teacher overseas during the summer in a Third World country. I would gladly devote my time to such things. As a school teacher, I do give a considerable amount of my waking hours to my position, though for financial benefit as well as following my calling. Then there are responsibilities to my family - my wife and daughter, friends. Little time remains.

There, in fact, that is what is called Karma Yoga. Most people, when they think of Yoga - including many who think that they are practicing it - think of the asanas or "postures", and, to a lesser extent pranayama or breathing exercises and meditation. Karma Yoga is all about doing "good deeds".In truth, Yoga has many "off the mat" aspects and is a way of living, not just an exercise. I suppose that I justify my participation in this course as a way to try to understand myself and become more together (Yoga means to "yoke" or "union") so that I may be a more effective instrument in bringing about positive change and, to use an overused quotation from Gandhi, to "be the change [I] wish to see in the world". If I can find a way to inner peace and better sense of my place in the greater order of things, then perhaps I will be able to be the catalyst for another's catharsis, and, like a pyramid marketing scheme, that will  spread throughout the world, and army of good intentions (but NOT door banging evangelical types!) making it that little bit better and affecting positive change through their actions and choices to live harmoniously, compassionately and responsibly.

Jack Layton inspires me. I was asked by Ray Martin, former head of the Alberta NDP and candidate for a federal party in the Spring election, while helping out with his campaign, if I would be interested in running for the Party as a candidate either provincially or federally. I replied that I did not really see me as being suited to politics, as I tend to be rather blunt with my opinions which isn't so good for towing the party line, dealing with the media or pleasing spin doctors (and let's face it - once the media got a hold of some of my writings, they would have a field day!). Still, it is a thought that I have given to a bit of light musing. Really, if Sarah Palin.... e-hem.... Ultimately, to work with others who were battling our current social apathy would make for good company and the idea of having a direct line to the big guy in terms of voicing my opinions would be...interesting. Can you see it? Eddiebabaji MP? In all seriousness, I wonder what I will do with all of my "experiences - the teaching, writing, music, etc - in my life....?

In the end, this is a time to reflect on many things: Mr. Layton's legacy, mortality, etc. Most importantly, to express condolences to the Layton family and offer our gratitude for the sacrifices and services rendered. May this be his lasting light and the spark of our aspirations of betterment for all. Thank you Jack. You did good.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home