Imagine this scenario; six lanes of traffic and a woman decides to run across the street against the light. She makes it to the other side safely. One of the drivers has to break not to hit her, causing the driver a physical response of stress, but other than that no consequences. Now image this same scenario, but this time when she goes to run across the street, she falls, and is hit by a car. This woman’s choice to run across the street impacts the life of the driver that hit her, both of their families, their financial futures, everyone that witnessed the accident, the first responders, and not to mention the people stuck in traffic while the accident is cleared. The impact from this one choice has now impacted the lives of hundreds of people, and for some the consequences are life changing.
The above scenario is extreme, but there are many choices that we make that impact the people in our lives. The choice to not take care of our personal health, to abuse alcohol or drugs, to not clean up our yards, or to gossip, can have a negative effect on others. On the positive side, the choice to smile at another person, to say a kind word, to help a friend in need, to be generous in thought and deed. All of these things effect who we are for ourselves and others, and the impact that they have in our collective lives.
Where do we draw the line between others and ourselves? Reality is that none of us lives in isolation. When a small rock hits the surface of water, a small ripple will appear. When something large falls into the water, the impact can be immeasurable. Think about the choices you are making, big and small and the impact they are having in the lives of those you love and even those you may not know. Ask yourself, “Am I making choices that create the type of impact I want to have in this life time?”
The imaginary lines that we draw between us are actually masking the very deep lines that connect us. We are all connected, and what we do affects the people in our lives and even the people we may not have direct contact with. The word yoga means union, this is interpreted as connection to self, to your source/higher power, and connection with others. We are responsible for the impact of our behavior that affects others. I am not naïve enough to believe there are always black and white answers to wrong and right. However, I do believe in what Don Miguel Ruiz labeled #4 in his book The Four Agreements, Always Do Your Best. If each and every one of us commits to always doing our best, than we are honoring ourselves and the lines that connect us.