Swapping Politics for Meditative Thoughts
About five years ago, I participated in a hatha yoga class. It was my first time practicing a practice that I had heard about but hadn’t got a chance to do it. In Afghanistan, where I was born and raised, yoga was an alien practice and largely misunderstood as a religion of a sort of idolatry — worshiping Buddha statues. Perhaps, it was the busy Western lifestyle that made yoga an imperative for me. In an effort to make sense in a fearfully isolated and individualistic Western culture where atheism and agnosticism rapidly conquer brains, yoga, to me, promised calm and somewhat meaningfulness in life.
I was captivated by the power of yoga. It helped me resist daily stress and build resistance towards depressive thoughts. With yoga’s help, I strived to learn anger management and to be mindful of repulsive outbursts that are part of work culture in many organizations.
In early 2018, in an entirely amateur move, I also started 20 minutes of daily meditation. Tangled in work and relationships that commandeered most of my awake time, I meditated during train commute to office. I would put headphones on and play meditation music and in between the waves of distractive thoughts, I’d try to focus on my breathing.
As if I was destined to pursue a previously divine-made plan, in April 2018, I bumped into a yin yoga class in Ankara, Turkey which left deep personal, emotional and spiritual impacts on me. Perhaps unconsciously I was always looking for yen to imbue a balance between my busy lifestyle and the need to slow-down and let things be as they are.
That slowdown has given me the opportunity to ask myself why I do certain things. One question was, why do I write about political events in Afghanistan?
Simplistic answers like “because I’m an Afghan…I care about Afghanistan…I want to inform others” didn’t sound entirely convincing and I grew suspicious of my ego in all this. For as long as I can remember in my literate life, I have written about Afghan politics. Ironically, my first article was published in the Tolo-e-Afghan newspaper in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 1997 when the Taliban were in absolute power.
Now, a U.S. citizen, I live in completely different circumstances than the 90s in Afghanistan and yet, perhaps ironically again, I’ve decided to refurbish this Medium page into a spiritual/intellectual platform.
Maybe the desire to write and express becomes more compelling in restricting environments, or maybe as we age we slowly realize the meaninglessness of politics. With all respect to good politicians, I think politics is an art of ego.
So, as I explore my journey in the infinity of spiritual thoughts, I’ll jot down notes in this page and hopefully there are folks out there in the vast digital world who may find them worth reading.