In the past few months, here in Croatia, there has been quite a lot of attacks on yoga and similar practices from the catholic clergy. There is a political reason behind this, but I won’t get into that right now. A few catholic priests wrote articles in newspapers and gave interviews on TV, saying yoga is evil and a good Christian should not engage in any form of ‘’new age’’ practices. In school's religious classes (which are obligatory here), they teach kids all that is different is bad (all other religions and spiritual practices), so my friends daughter came home one day crying because they told her in school that her mum is going to burn in hell because she practices yoga. Pretty shitty thing to say to a 10 year old!
Listening to those people and reading their words few things came to mind. First one was the dark, Medieval times and second was what happened to ‘’love your neighbor as yourself’’? Where is the love in their words of hate?
Life is not easy and there is so much suffering in this world. And we try to do our best with what we have, play the best game with the cards we were dealt. So, why judge someone just because they chose a different path or was born to it? Because they have chosen a different spiritual practice? What happened to love, tolerance and respect for all beings on this Earth? Isn’t being a good, kind, helpful and compassionate human being what is really important? What all the religions are trying to teach? And all of those ‘’spiritual’’ teachers that speak of anything else than LOVE are either completely missing the point and should go back to reading the sacred books and scriptures, or they are doing it for their own personal gain.
Any practice that makes someone a healthier and happier human being while not hurting others should be embraced.
The hate and intolerance is still much present in our society today and it still surprises me even though it was what I ran away from nearly 13 years ago. Croatia is a small country with a big history. So many wars, so much political and economic turbulence, so much change in such little time. I love my country, this is where my roots are, but I always say that I wasn’t brought up here. I was only 20 when I left in search for something different. When I think about those few years before I decided to leave, I think of them as mostly dark days. There was this big post war dark cloud pressing down. Corruption, intolerance, hate, mental and emotional war wounds. When you add that to a few personal dramas I had going on it was a bit depressing to say the least. I couldn’t breathe so I decided to go somewhere where I can. When I came to London I didn’t know many people and I didn’t know much about life. But I quickly learned. I had to. And even though it was hard – I felt free.
So, I say that London brought me up because that is where I learned to take care of myself. I started practicing yoga, I did my graphic design course (which is very useful for my work), and very importantly, I met so many wonderful people of all color, nationality and religion. In such a cosmopolitan city tolerance and love for all is the only way to go. I learned to think outside of the box. Of course, I learned tolerance and love at my family home first, but learned to practice it when given so many challenges of living a life outside a family home or a home country.
I came back after being away for eight years, living in three different countries, working at different jobs, meeting so many wonderful people, developing my yoga practice, finishing my teacher training. I came back when I was ready and when I felt that the cloud has lifted and the dust has settled. There is still so much work to do, but I feel my generation, the younger and more tolerant generation, is ready for that work. Or at least I hope so.
Love is what we all should preach. Love IS the religion that connects us all. And we should be careful not to fall under influence of those preaching otherwise. As Jesus had said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.’’ Those preaching hate are false prophets sawing a seed of intolerance when they should be sawing the seeds of love for all.