Patriotism: Is there a Place For Nationalistic Views In a Yogi’s Life?

As I lie on the ground in my room at Birken Forest Monastery and look out through the window I see a transparent Maple leaf sticker.

Maple leaf, I think. Are the monks patriotic? I doubt that. It’s probably one of those stickers people put on glass so one can see the windows.

It does however, make me think.

I am patriotic, I am proud of my country. The trouble, which was inflicted on the nation for almost 1000 years, resonates deeply with me.

Is there room for this line of thinking in the lifestyle which I want to embrace? Is there room for that in Yogic and Buddhist philosophies?

I think not, but I am open to your opinions on this.

I have been learning about the Yamas and the Niyamas in Yoga teacher training with Semperviva and reading about it in Rolf Gates’s book – Meditations From The Mat.

Ahimsa, the first of the Yamas means non-violence. If I am to be honest, I am proud that my small nation brought the greatest empire in the world at that time to its knees through warfare. I am proud of the struggle my country went through and proud of the people who fought tyranny. Pride – Asmita is one of the five afflictions which I am also learning about.

Aparigraha, another of the Yamas, means non- hoarding. I am hoarding these feelings of pride, anger and resentment, I am holding onto the past.

I am not a violent man, at least not towards other people and I do not harbor any ill will whatsoever for any nation or people. I try to love and except all equally. But, as I mentioned I do harbor pride, pride of violence.

Pride and glory. Are these things I have a place for in my life now? I feel this is something I should be letting go of along with my patriotism. What good will come of it?

Here is the catch. I do not want to let it go. That is the simple truth; I want to hold onto my pride and resentment of the past.

Where do I go from here?

I do not know, but at least, now I am aware that these feelings and this attitude may not sit well with where I am going in life. Friday, as I drove down the street playing Irish rebel music to my heart’s content this thought had never even occurred to me.

I feel that this realization is an example of how I am finding my true self.

These realizations that come out of nowhere show me that I am chipping away at all the fluff to find my soul, my true self, like I mentioned in my period previous blog, We’ve Got Soul.

It seems like I am going somewhere I just have no idea where and certain parts of my life will come with me, others will not.

At the Monastery, I picked up a small book called “A Dhammapada For Contemplation.” One of the versus states:

“When we hold on to such thoughts as:

They abused me,

Mistreated me,

Molested me,

Robbed to me,

We keep hatred alive.”

This, is in a sense is what I am doing with my nationalistic attitude, yet I cannot let go.

Am I feeding hatred?

I will leave you with that thought. I am interested to hear your opinions.



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