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It’s been a free-for-all in the Australian Parliament recently. Prime Minister Julia Gillard was reported in the newspapers today as excoriating the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.

Goodness, excoriate! I think of the medical use of that word: damage or remove part of the surface of [the skin]. Or, in the vernacular, you could describe what’s happened as ‘tearing strips off’ the opposition.

I don’t know the full extent of the brouhaha, but I did watch a video of our PM in her 15 minutes of fame, censuring the L of the O. I admit to cheering for Julia as she stood up for herself and for women in general. At the same time I felt embarrassed about the donnybrook-ish atmosphere of our Federal Parliament. It seems to me that in this country the MP’s at times  more nearly resemble ruffians than legislators.

I sent around a link to Julia Gillard’s speech, which I’ve heard went viral. I got a response from a colleague who thought I was adding to the problem by spreading the word on Facebook. She gave me cause for thought. Was I, by taking sides, going to exaggerate the rift in the government, perhaps even in the country?

I get her point. An action produces an opposing reaction which begets a further rejoinder, followed by a backlash….

One of the aims in yoga is to become nonreactive. The cycle of karma-samskara-karma will be self-perpetuating until the mind stabilises to a level of calm that reflects pure awareness. A stillness like a tranquil high mountain lake – soundless, unruffled and peaceful.

Perhaps our parliamentary representatives just need to take a communal breather and start again.

Tadapi bahirangam nirbijasya

The state where the mind has no impressions of any sort and nothing is beyond its reach (nirbijah samadhi) is more intricate than the state of directing the mind towards an object (samadhi).*

*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.