sat-sangatve nissangatvam, nissangatve nirmohatvam nirmohatve nishcala-tattvam, nishcala-tattve jivanmuktih bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam mudha-mate.
Good and virtuous company gives rise to non-attachment. From non-attachment comes freedom of delusion. With freedom from delusion, one feels the changeless reality. Experiencing that changeless reality, one attains liberation in this life. I-AM is the ocean of awareness. Realizing this, one feels, “I am not the body and mind, although I have a body and mind.” Realize Govinda, realize Govinda, realize Govinda in your heart, O wise one!
~ Translation by Shri Brahamananda Sarasvati
Once I was on board the Brigitte Bardot, and officially a Sea Shepherd crew member, what I was doing didn’t feel extraordinary. It all felt quite normal – after all, everyone I was surrounded by was doing the same thing. We all had our own reasons for becoming crew but we were there together to achieve a common goal – the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The whole experience taught me that we never do anything alone. The crews on the Sea Shepherd ships receive a lot of praise for being on the frontline. However, their presence in the Southern Ocean is only possible because of the whole community of supporters who do what they can to contribute to the cause – the donors, members, supporters and onshore volunteers. It is only because of the many small actions that big change can take place.
When I look at the circumstances that led to my becoming a cook on the Brigitte Bardot, I see the connection between all of us – the threads of karma that put us all in this together. My presence there was only possible with the support of the wonderful Jivamukti community and satsang. After being offered a spot on this year’s whale defense campaign, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the flight to meet the boat in Hawaii. The Sydney Jivamukti community rallied and helped me fundraise enough money to get there. I was on the receiving end of so much generosity and it was beautiful to see everyone come together because we all felt strongly about the cause. The extraordinary can be found in the collective actions of many individuals.
When we acknowledge the incredibly complex web of all that came before this moment it’s easier to accept that we are not the ‘doer’, no single person is. And we can begin to – at least intellectually – grasp interconnection, Yoga and the vastness of existence. We can grasp that, in fact, we don’t act at all – something deeper is at work. As spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle puts it: “Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.”
Satsang, or company of the truth, is so important. I am grateful for my community, for my teachers, for the teachings and for all of the peacemakers everywhere. When we surround ourselves by people who have similar goals, we can lift each other up and plant the seeds of change together – contributing to the elevation of the whole.