Our province is shaken. Our country is shaken. Quebec’s provincial election took place yesterday, and no political party emerged victorious. The Parti Québecois ended up with a minority government, the Liberals lost their almost 20-year stronghold on the province, the newly formed Coalition Avenir Québec won far fewer seats than predicted, and Québec Solidaire added one more seat to their existing one. No one feels good with any of these election results, but the people of my beautiful city and province are hurting more than any of their “leaders.”
At the beginning of many yoga classes I’ve taken, the mantra seen above has been chanted, and occasionally even focused on as the theme for the class. This chant calling for the happiness and freedom of all beings is not simply a channeling and projection of good intentions, it’s a call to personal responsibility. It galvanizes and empowers us to take accountability for other beings by ensuring that everything we think, do and say is done with the aim of creating our own personal happiness and freedom. Sounds simple enough, one would think. However, throughout the past weeks and months, with the American election campaigns in full swing (pun fully intended), as well as the election here in Quebec and the reports coming out of Syria and Russia, I have been seriously mulling over what freedom really is, and how it’s meaning might differ from one person to the next.
I’ve recently found myself getting involved in some pretty thought-provoking discussions with friends about the state of the world. From politics to religion, from daily dramas to life and death, it seems like there is a common undercurrent of negativity that we are being fed, and given the right company and circumstances, it erupts forth and instigates a healthy dose of communication and debate.