In Delhi they are protesting today.  Protesting the oppression and violation of women, protesting the deaths that ensue, protesting the lack of justice in the plainly avoiding judicial system.  They are protesting peacefully and silently, outside the city center from where they are banned.  They are gathering by the thousands to say, No More.  No More turning a cold shoulder to the gang raping, No More to the silencing of the victims, No More to the lack of simple respect for life. One in three women on this planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

Whether a woman carries the memory of such an experience or not, as women we experience oppression daily in a variety of ways.  Misogyny exists in many forms, and being a woman means being a target.  On the other side of this coin are the men who value and respect the boundaries of yes and no, of consensual and non consensual.  Too many times in this discussion, the discussion of men in a positive light seems to be forgotten, so I offer gratitude to them here, and the men and women who taught them such values.  In the end, the violence and oppression are  symptoms of illness on both sides of the line between sexes.  In my opinion the whole matter is a matter of value, and how as humans we have misplaced our values for life in a space that does not hold respect for the gift of life, nor accountability of personal responsibility to life.

Each and every single human, no matter how hurt, angry, maladjusted, or marginalized has a desire to be loved. Yoga teaches this, the Dali Lama teaches this, and even soap operas and TV shows somehow manage to teach this.  This is the motivator behind all choice.  The choices we make however, are shaped by the perception of life that we learn through experience.  Depending on the experiences of our own unique life, we develop and shape our ideas of what the experience of love and happiness feels like, and looks like, and we pursue that variation of happiness until we come to learn something new.  The choices we make to find happiness do not commonly manifest in a course of action that resembles true unconditional love, because of the way we have packaged and delivered love to our collective reality as a whole.   Despite our incredible intelligence as a species, we have overshot ourselves in our pursuit of a life of comfort and convenience, somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten what was valuable.  Perhaps it was the advent of the T.V. and advertising?  Perhaps it was the industrial revolution, or the class systems that existed before democracy, perhaps, perhaps.

Life is valuable, that is why we fight to live it, the way we want, under any and all belief structures.  Sometimes we fight with action, sometimes with words, sometimes with non-violent protest.  It is fear that prevents us from healing the wounds we have caused in each others lives, and impedes us from transcending this worldwide paradigm of violence and oppression.  Fear of not being loved, recognized, amended, encouraged, fear of not knowing, not understanding, not being comfortable, fear of our lives ending, fear of our lives changing, fear of losing, fear of one another.  Fear is the greatest conqueror of mankind, and suspicion only alienates us from deep connection with ourselves and all of life around us.

It is never acceptable for any person to forcibly make any other person do anything. the misuse of force in place of the power of love is always hurtful.  All we can do is teach, lead, and ask for help.

The solution is in being mindful of ourselves, our power, our ability to adapt to this ever changing life, our capacity to love and be loved and act from the spaciousness of our spirits, that part of our being that knows true justice as well as true forgiveness.  If we see all life as valuable, all life in all of its beautiful and diverse forms, than we can learn to honor our lives and the lives of others with courage and love.  It is our responsibility as humans to have accountability for our actions, and therefore, foresight of the consequences of our actions.

The world we live in is not a Utopia, bad things happen here.  People experience horrible things that change the way they perceive life.  Depending on their circumstances they recover and adapt, or they suffer and become more alienated from healthy relationships, with themselves and others.  Happenstance places us in conditions that are far from what anyone would define as "favorable", however in our most frightening moments, there is always a glimpse of light, in the awareness that it could be better we glimpse the intrinsic good in all things.  Every thought we have, we have the choice to believe or not.  This is the greatest gift of the mind, its ability to process information, discern what is true, what serves, and what action to take in order to proceed toward a state of happiness.  The fault of the mind is that it does not have a built in bullshit detector, it has to deduce and deduce constantly to continue to come back to what it believes to be true, which is most often only true to the person believing it.  However there are some universal truths, one truth is that we can become more aware to be prepared to respond with skill to the circumstances and happenstances of our lives.  We can listen to our hearts when we need a bullshit detector, and proceed with caution when we discern the necessity for that kind of action in circumstances that are unfamiliar.  We can offer our skills to each other to heal the wounds of our history, as we learn to value life with more reverence and responsibility.

As women we have to remember we are vulnerable,  we have to remember that we have the capacity to be smart about locking doors, dressing intelligently, having company at night when walking, and empowering ourselves with skills of protection and awareness.  These precautions are not over cautious, just aware.  As women we can also remember that our value is not measured in the size of our breasts, the lipstick we wear, or the people we sleep with.  Our value is in our ability to recreate life, to share in that creation with all life, and to nurture the lives we create as we teach them to hold all that is valuable close to their hearts.  This is also the ultimate value of a mans life, this ability to recreate life, and nurture and care for it as it grows into a being of aware and virtuous behavior.  Whether one cares to reproduce, is into heterosexual relationships or not, is not of matter, the truest value in our lives as a whole is that we can continue to live.  In this continuing is an invitation to learn to live in a way that is more forgiving of our differences, more sensitive to our hurts, more accountable to the standards of living we all deserve to experience, and more cooperative as we proceed into the continuing of our future together. As women we can demand more respect in our relationships by upping the standards of our own value and not settling for anything less, starting by loving ourselves more and in that, loving all life more.  We must hold one another up with respect for the value of all life, the young and the old, the male and the female, the ones we identify with and those we don't understand, the healthy and happy as well as the marginalized and outcast.  If we learn to reach out and ask how can I help, before we become suspicious of how we will be wronged, we may learn to heal the deep illness of our society.  And as we value ourselves more, we will hold better boundaries in challenging circumstances, we will remember to lock the door at night when we are home alone, we will stand in crowds and say silently no more, we will stand for justice in all facets of life, we will live with deep mindfulness and as much unconditional love our minds can let us be free to enjoy, and we will hold ourselves and one another accountable with compassion and high standards built on a foundation we can all stand on.  The foundation of Love.

Blessings and Happy New Year,