Sometimes the urge to write comes upon you when you least expect it. It’s in these times that it’s nice to have a blog; it’s a place where you can write down your thoughts and in the event it resonates with someone else, all the better.
Tonight, I bought the book, “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life” by Gene Baur. Gene is an activist, author, President and Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal rescue organization. I saw Gene on his recent appearance on the Jon Stewart show, “The Daily Show.” Being an animal lover, I wanted to get his book right away and was so excited tonight when I picked it up from one of my favorite bookstores, Brookline Booksmith (it was on order as it was sold out).
As I headed home, clutching my new purchase and waiting for some quiet time tonight to huddle up with my new book and a hot cup of tea, it got me thinking about the concept of “conviction” and what it means to have it.
When I was young, I didn’t really know what it meant to stand for something. Geez, I was just trying to get by, I was impressionable and impulsive. If someone walked by me without saying hello, I’d be upset for the day. If someone asked me what I believed in when I was 20 or 30 or even 40 (although by 40 I think I would have known), I might not have known. But once I crossed 50, I think I almost transitioned into a bit of a curmudgeon, with a strong sense of what I believe in and a little bit of resistance. This, I know, is not good.
Having said that, awareness is key and as such, I work constantly to keep an open mind. The point of this post is not for me to go on about what I believe in; it’s more to explore the concept of what it means to live by our convictions. These are the things that drive us when no one is looking. These are the actions of people caught on social media doing good things when they had no idea their actions were being recorded. This is the stuff of the letters, emails and other correspondence that gets exchanged off line, far away from the inter-webs, that makes its way online by someone other than the author, as a way to illustrate what someone strongly believes in. This is the action of someone willing to risk his or her life for a cause. This is the stuff of conviction.
There is much happening in our world today that gives rise to these thoughts. There is much in the infrastructure of our day to day existence (read: social media) that can tempt even the strongest of people to sway far from what they truly believe in. I’ve written before about the power of being true to your own path and conviction is built from the same foundation. If we don’t know what we believe in, how do we make good choices in our life? How do we know how to conduct ourselves? How can we know how and when to take a stand?
I look at people like Gene Baur, and Jon Stewart and on a much lessor known scale, my father, my mother and some others in my personal life. There is a wide range of people we all come in contact with during our lives. Who do we think of when we think of the concept of conviction? Who do we know that remains unwavering, even when the tide of popular opinion might tempt one to take another road? In the yoga world, there is so much stimuli, so much going on, so much expression and thank god for it! But this is what makes it even more challenging for each of us to put a stake in the ground and stay true to our convictions.
I’ve written quite a few blog posts with the theme of “Today’s Meditation.” As we all head into the night and into tomorrow, perhaps we will come to rest thinking of what we stand for; thinking about what our personal convictions are. This idea of creating a personal mission statement of sorts fascinates me. It may change over time but the spirit will stay the same over time. But as we live our lives, as we experience change, as we make the tough choices in our lives, we filter out the junk and retain the essentials.
Knowing what we stand for is part of our individuality. It’s our way to express ourselves and share with others our passion. Let this be our guide as we move through the years.