Why This Yogi Went Off the Mat, Onto Occupy Wall Street

On Monday 200 yogis joined Seane Corn in a unifying call to action and prayer in New York City's Zucotti Park, in support of the thousands of people already protesting on Wall Street. As the Off The Mat team put this event together, we engaged in a lot of conversation about what it means to protest yogically and why we were headed down there at all. We faced criticism for our involvement as well as gratitude and support. So why did we join?   

There has been so much talk about the 99% vs. the 1%, and Off the Mat wanted to show up with love, compassion, and open hearts and minds to stand in unity for the 100%. We are not against anything; we are for 100% of people feeling empowered, 100% of people feeling heard, and 100% of people feeling that they matter. Rich vs. poor is not what it’s about. It is not about us vs. them, but about all of us waking up and seeing that we are ONE—that we are in this together. There is no separation between us and the trees or the water or the whole earth.  

As someone with a father working in finance and friends who are not thrilled about the protest, I did have an initial question of whether I wanted to get actively involved in Occupy Wall Street. I had reservations, as I know many people do. However, I knew I was not going down there to rage against Wall Street or rich people or all corporations. I am saddened and angered by corrupt corporations, the way our planet is being stripped of vital resources, of the way animals are being exploited and tortured, and the way in which people are being denied basic healthcare, all so someone can make more billions. However, the issues at hand are not so black and white. There are some socially conscious big corporations that do make billions, and they also pay their employees fairly, provide humane, healthy environments, and are actually helping the environment instead of hurting it. (Patagonia and The Body Shop are great examples of companies doing these things.) So it’s not that black and white. It’s not an issue of rich vs. poor, big vs. small, or us vs. them. It’s an issue around consciousness and awareness. If we can all wake up to realize that we are universally connected and that everything we do directly affects someone else, then maybe we will choose to act more carefully, thoughtfully, and consciously in every aspect of our lives. That is why yogis mobilized down to Wall Street. We went down to offer a different perspective and possibly shift the energy around the conversation. To quote Seane, “We are for--not against--100% of love, 100% of truth, 100% of justice, and 100% of unity 100% percent of the time.” 

photo credit: © Theresa Keil / 2011 www.keilstudios.com

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