I have had the privilege of living in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala for the last two months and right now this hill station town is alive with people…

…The reason? His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is with us, and he will be giving public teachings on 7, 8 and 9 June.

Dharamsala is home to the Tibetan government in exile and countless Tibetan refugees. During my stay I have met and befriended a number of Tibetans – they are warm, caring and peaceful people (see also “The Paradox of Our Age” – H.H. The Dalai Lama) who have truly touched my heart.

Their stories of escape from Tibet (NOT Tibet China!) are sadly too similar: They have left family and friends behind, traveling on foot in smuggled groups across treacherous Himalayan passes at night, so as to go undetected by Chinese border control (Tibetans are not given passports and are prohibited by Chinese authority from crossing over into Nepal and India).

The journey can take anywhere from three to six months IF they are not caught. I spoke to a Tibetan man who made the journey twice. The first time he was arrested and thrown in prison for a month. The second time he made it to Nepal after three long months.

Many succumb to the fierce weather and dangerous terrain – the path is littered with bodies of those who will never make it to India.

These very special people live here in India unable to return to Tibet to see their families – for the majority it has been many many years. They can only watch as China continues to destroy their culture, and rape and kill their people.

All while the rest of the world, a world too happy to climb into bed with China, allows this injustice to perpetuate.

Tibet is not alone. Africa is another continent where political unrest in many countries is the source of gross human rights violations. And if we are really honest with ourselves, we will admit that there is injustice against human beings, the environment and animals the world over.

It was Nelson Mandela who said: “While there is poverty, there will never be peace in the world.”

We are ALL responsible for the world in which we find ourselves. So my plea is this: Let’s fight. Let’s stand together against governments, corporations and people violating the rights of other beings.

We can all live with less.

Fewer clothes made in China, or any sweat shop for that matter. Less food where the environment and animals have suffered in order for us to stuff our stomachs. Smaller houses with fewer belongings. Less so that others can simply have food, clothing and freedom.

We can all do more.

Support a charity or noble cause. And not just financially, but with your time and passion to make even the smallest difference. Stand up for what’s right and boycott wrong action. Vote with your wallet.

I pledge to return home to South Africa and live with less of everything – as India teaches me every time I’m here, less is more. I pledge to fight harder for what I believe in. I pledge to give more of my time to Karma Yoga. The yoga of action.

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