I’ve been watching an amazing television series called ‘Frozen Planet’, narrated by the incomparable David Attenborough.
The series in the main presents stunning film of areas that are considered the last frontiers of our planet – the Arctic and Antarctica. Wildlife and marine life are shown in all the glory of their natural habitats; as inhospitable as these climes seem to us, they are where these creatures have survived for hundreds of years.
And, as I saw in the penultimate episode of the series tonight, and as most of us know, global warming is a creeping menace in the surprisingly fragile environment of the polar regions. It’s not hard to imagine that when the frozen Arctic and Antarctic areas thaw in large measure, all sentient beings and the planet will suffer horribly. And, not on one predictable day, but gradually and inexorably.
What do humans do in the face of such an impending catastrophe? What do we do when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer? Or, we see our ageing parents affected by dementia or alzheimers.
Do we go to our yoga mats or meditation cushions to sit with our inevitable human frailty? And, does something shift somewhere somehow because we accept the way things are? Does it make calamity understandable or suffering endurable. Is meditation our only hope?
Tad eva artha-matra-nirbhasam svarupa-sunyam iva samadhih
Contemplation: the very shining forth of the object alone, unimpeded as it were by any natural form.*
*Patanjali’s Meditation Yoga, translation and commentary by Vyn Bailey.