Centuries have gone by, and still people are running in the streets, killing each other

Centuries have gone by, and still people are running in the streets, killing each other. You have to wonder, if life is a “school,” if there is such a thing as reincarnation—or even if there isn’t—why we haven’t learned our lessons and graduated into a more evolved condition by now.

Maybe my old dad, a survivor of the atomic bomb who is ready to fly away and meet his maker anytime now, is so right when he tells me, “Suzanne, civilization is just a veneer. Two days without food, and it’s all gone . . . the devil is real, Suzanne. People shed blood over a piece of bread.”

Some years ago when I worked as a yoga therapist at a health center, I found myself in a huge hotel ballroom filled with chiropractors and other practitioners, all getting some kind of emotional-stress-relief body work. Multiple massage tables had been set up, the lights were dimmed, and soon the room was filled with people moaning, groaning, and sobbing–noisier than the Pentecostal revival meetings I used to attend. The collective sound was like a scene from a funeral.

I vividly recall saying, “My God, listen to all these people crying! And these are the lucky ones! These are not starving refugees, or survivors of prison camps or other traumatic ordeals!”

But later, as life went on, I began see that even these “lucky ones” had been through the shocks of life.

I learned that the successful doctor I fell in love with and put on a pedestal had had an abusive, alcoholic father. He grew up in foster homes where his head was pushed face down into the toilet, to make sure he understood he was a worthless piece of shit.

Combine that with the trauma of the Vietnam war, and no wonder he was wailing on the massage table along with the rest of them.

While the world is burning, we who live in relative peace have the luxury of reflection and healing. As I write this, I laugh at the full-page ad in a yoga magazine showing a bearded, white-robed, “self-realized” Himalayan yoga master who shamelessly promises the moon. The ad says:

“Rejuvenate Body, Mind, and Soul.” “Eliminate Emotional Suffering.” “Burn Negative Karma.” “Achieve Expanded Consciousness.”

“Half a minute of Kriya Meditation brings about a year of Natural Spiritual Unfoldment.”

Even spiritual magazines need paid advertising to survive.

When you’re young, “The Lightening Path to Self-Realization” to “restore each of us to the glory of life” sounds entirely possible. If I were twenty years old again, I might have gone with my boyfriend to check out this amazing great yogi master at one of the free satsangs. God knows we went to see plenty of lesser ones!


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2 Responses to “Centuries have gone by, and still people are running in the streets, killing each other”

  1. Judy Rae Miller Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. You are a very engaging writer. I love that about Ojai. There are people like you there. I’m in the Orlando area of Florida, but had a chance to visit Ojai in May. I hope I get back someday. Judy


    • Suza Francina Says:

      Thank you, Judy! I appreciate you taking time to leave such a nice comment. Yes, I have many kindred spirit friends here–I love that about Ojai too!


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