Before you begin reading this rant. I'll warn you that I'm going to tie the military into the whole yoga thing again so if that is not your cup of tea I'll let you politely excuse yourself from this blog without judgment to your rationale. But of course I am hoping you keep reading.
It is no secret that the military has dress requirements. The uniform we were is designed to make us exactly that, uniform. We drop quite a bit of our persona as we put on matching outfits with similar hairstyle and accessories. Black or green socks, subdued hair-ties, flesh colored nail polish, sleeves not rolled up, nothing hanging from the uniform. There is an entire publication dedicated to telling us how we are supposed to wear our uniform like everyone else. The uniform makes it difficult to categorize one another based on their personal style. For instance, I would often be startled to see someone I worked with in cowboy boots or biker attire outside of work. However, as much as I did not enjoy wearing an unflattering, baggy out fit, it definitely served it's purpose. In a lot of ways, it evened the playing field. It made it difficult to judge me based on my attributes, style or overall general appearance. Even though it did not completely eliminate judgment it was certainly helpful. In my opinion, the military uniform can be an aid to helping us practice Yama of Satya or truthfulness.
This Yama is about living a truthful life without doing harm to others. In practice of Satya, one must think before he speaks and
consider the consequences of his actions. In order to do this one must be aware of her thoughts. The key to truthfulness lies in our thoughts. Consider this, thoughts
become words, words become actions, actions become habits and habits become
values. By bringing awareness to our thoughts we must work on not judging. By dismissing your biases about someone based on their appearance you can more accurately evaluate their character.
I know what you are thinking. This chick is crazy, some people deserved to be judged! Some people leave the house wearing a fanny pack and knee high socks, some belt their pants at the base of their man boobs. Some people chew really loudly when they are eating. Some people make weird sounds when they are exercising at the gym.
Satya would offer that judgment is harmful because the energy of criticism lives in us. It affects us, negatively. By practicing non-judging we can better see someone for who they truly are, and by consequence know ourselves better. Have you ever heard that whatever you don't like about someone else is really what you despise in yourself? Heavy, right?
First, let me say that I do not believe that yoga would have us do away with our legal system. I am not talking about reacting to bad behavior. I am talking about those mean girl, petty high school thoughts that make you feel superior or inferior to someone else. Also, I am not suggesting that you can just all of a sudden stop judging others. In fact, it is probably bordering on the impossible. We judge others ALL DAY long. We do it without thinking. But perhaps next time you find yourself thinking a thought about someone else, bring awareness to your thoughts. Observe your thoughts, if it is negative, stop it. It does not serve you.
"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."